Soup’s On!

Those of you who know me well know that in my other life as a philosopher, I work in feminist theory–which means, of course, that I’m a humorless bitch who ruins all “fun” things for everyone through my inability to “take a joke.”  I usually do most of my writing about politics, law and political representation, but recently I found myself drawn into a much more everyday sort of controversy by–of all things–a soup commercial (originally pointed out to me by my friend and fellow blogger, Sharon).

I found this pretty irritating–not because I hate soup (though, let’s be honest, Campbell’s Soup is decidedly not awesome, and I have a feeling that 80 calorie Campbells would have a taste somewhere between dirty water  and dishwater-with-floating-food-bits)–but because it’s absolutely ridiculous to suggest that 300 calories is too much for a woman–and notice, they’re all women–to eat for a meal.  And not only is it too much, the commercial suggests, but you’d have to be blind not to notice it’s too much.  Once we’ve enlightened you, however, you can embrace our 80-calorie (or 60-calorie, in some cases) soup as the reasonable alternative lunch.  That, friends, is not just gross soup.  That is a starvation diet marketed as a smart choice, and it is definitely not cool, as the blog at this link explains well.  As she puts it, even if a dieting person replaces one restricted-calorie meal with this tiny soup-snack, the resulting calorie reduction is significant:

Now let’s replace that 340-calorie frozen meal with a 60-calorie serving of Campbell’s. Whoops! The total is 1120. We’ve gone 80 calories below the lower limit recommended by nutritionists. If you also take away half of those butter noodles, because (horrors!) we went above 340 calories for dinner, that brings us to a grand total of 995 calories for the day. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone recommending that level of calorie restriction without medical supervision.

I thought these were important points, so I posted the article on my twitter feed.  And what happened then?  Well, none other than @CampbellSoupCo replied, to accuse me and the blog’s author of extremism.  (Now, shut up and buy our soup!)  Naturally, I replied to let them know that I disagreed with that characterization, and then the whole thing wound up on the mother of all humorless feminist websites, Jezebel.

So that was fun.  If you feel like it, you can let Campbell’s know that you aren’t a fan of marketing campaigns that promote disordered eating.  Or, maybe just as effectively,  just keep reading my blog and discovering with me the joys of making your own soup at home, where no one will shame you for eating more than 300 calories at a time.

6 Responses to “Soup’s On!”


  1. 1 Melissa January 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I was so glad this popped up on Jez. The first time I saw that commercial I was disturbed by it, and I’m glad I’m not the only one. I happen to be a big soup fan, but I’m boycotting Campbells till they drop this ad campaign.

  2. 2 Erin January 29, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Thanks, Melissa!

  3. 3 Maggie January 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Such a great job serving up the truth to Campbells by you. I bet if pressed, even Campbells would admit the truth tasted better than the 60-calorie “meals” they’re marketing.

  4. 4 Lizzie January 29, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Erin, this is crazy/awesome! I’ve been seeing these commercials for the past two weeks or so and have been thinking, “Is Campbell’s out of their mind? 300 calories for a meal is TOO much!??!?!” I was almost starting to think that I was the weird one…. (Yeah right, that would never happen!) You GEAUX, girl!

  5. 5 Donna Broadhurst January 31, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I think we’re supposed to assume that these women are also eatinmg a thin slice of unbuttered toast along with the water soup. This Might bring up the total calorie intake for that ‘meal’ to 95 calories?

  6. 6 Anna February 2, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    You rock, Erin! I’m going to comment to Campbell’s now! :)


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