Think Adam and Eve. Think Persphone. Think diet pills and restraint. Why is the feminine appetite taboo?
A found footage experiment about gender roles, consumerism and hunger.
Special thanks to Jessica Qian and archive.org.
Isaac You is, first and foremost, an observer and human of the world. They got sidetracked in the middle of what would have been an international relations degree and fell into writing, photography, and radio. Every story they want to tell is in one way or another about people. Which is all stories, really.
It’s no coincidence that the film is composed primarily of advertising. Specifically TV commercials in a time where more and more households owned their own colour TV. Advertising tends to mirror, as well as shape, society. Capitalism and the individualist consumerism peddled in the West reinforces the already rigid structures of the Patriarchy. Within Capitalism, the female body is objectified, not only treated as a machine for production, but also as something to be consumed. In our society, a woman cooks, she serves, she nurtures, but she does not consume for her own satisfaction, at least not physically. Here, an indulging woman, is an unsightly woman. It was maddening to find all these supposedly outdated advertisements and then realize how much they resembled the ones one might find on TV or the internet today. The work questions the origin of that suppression of the feminine appetite, tracing back to young childhood. One of the clips is of a painting of Adam and Eve. The original sin, the first sin committed by humanity, is the product of the feminine appetite. What might that say about society’s judgment towards “hungry” women? Why is a woman’s appetite sinful? Who is a good woman? It’s darkly ironic that the diet pills advertised are called “control”, inviting the question, who is in control? In our neoliberal society, we are sold the lie of self control as a virtue, when in reality it is to ensure women take up as little space as possible. The shots of the steak are juxtaposed with the shots of the women in bikinis.The editing of the cuts between the shots and the aspect ratio itself seek to evoke and allude to the experience of switching channels on a TV, once again a nod to the idea of consumption.