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The Absurd "Hey, A Girl's Gotta Eat" Commercial


Sometimes when I'm watching a commercial on television, I reflect on how the polished message of the company is truly absurd, and how it could be conveyed as such.

Take for example, a commercial for some low-calorie food item. I'm not sure which. The tag line is uttered by a woman enjoying the guilt-free snack. She says, "Hey, a girl's gotta eat." Which implies, "Hey, a girl's gotta eat this."

So I figure, just because she says it, doesn't make it so. But how best to parody this commercial?

I imagined a montage of women saying, "Hey, a girl's gotta eat," while doing something to demonstrate that blind catchphrase obedience is not always a good thing. First, a random lady sits down to a plate of cheesecake. An entire cheesecake. Fork in hand, she stares dreamily at the dessert, and says, "Hey, a girls gotta eat." Not so bad, right? Some people, women and men, have actually done that. I know I've wanted to. But the montage continues downhill from there.

A few clips later, a heavyset woman is sitting in a pile of empty pizza boxes, candy wrappers, and assorted garbage. Her face is covered with food, including chocolate frosting from a cake she's eating off the floor with her hands. "Hey, a girl's gotta eat," she says.

It just keeps getting worse, until finally, a morbidly obese woman is out for a stroll. Across the street, she sees little Jimmy Carver, a gaunt orphan, receive a gift from a compassionate stranger. At the pretzel stand, a woman buys him a salty treat. The woman herself is poor, and that's the last money she had, but she knew that little Jimmy would appreciate a pretzel more than she. It's the first food he's had in days. Upon receiving the gift, his face lights up. He can barely bring himself to eat the pretzel, it's so beautiful. As beautiful as his smiling benefactor. Tears can be seen in the eyes of the pretzel vendor. Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, the obese woman decides on a course of action. She lumbers across, stopping traffic, and makes her way to the pretzel stand. Pushing aside the kind stranger, she grabs the pretzel out of little Jimmy's hand and takes an enormous bite. Mouth full, she mumbles to saddened orphan, "Hey, a girl's gotta eat."

Sure, that was pretty gruesome. And sure, let's all hope it never happens in real life. But the moral of the story is, you can rationalize any action, but the rationalization doesn't always make it right.

And what really grinds my gears about the original commercial and its use of, "Hey, a girl's gotta eat," is the fact that it's obvious a girl's gotta eat. Everybody needs to eat. And there are plenty of alternatives to the food product in question. It's like using, "Hey, a guy's gotta breathe air," as a rationalization for breathing Coca-Cola's Bottled Air For Men.

Bottom line, the commercial could have given women a better reason to choose their product than to simply say, "This is food for girls, so girls, eat up!"

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