There are certain words and symbols that trigger us – and our memories.
JFK. Mensch. The Beatles. Boomers. Farmers’ markets. [Okay, you know where we’re going …]
What comes to mind, in the last week or so, is the word “skinny,” the newly found and fawned-over marketing-ese (along with small plates and vegetable anything). It’s being applied to cocktails, popcorn, and ice cream with aplomb; look for other iterations at your supermarket … and soon.
Obviously, restaurants and grocers are ecstatic with the positioning: slender beverages and foods simply encourage consumers, by their very names, to take another drink or eat another bite. After all, low or reduced calories imply that there’s room for another. [We have Bethenny Frankel of The Real Housewives of New York City to thank for this.]
Us? Not so enchanted. Those triggers we mentioned send off major alarms at the word “skinny.” It reminds us of the emphasis placed on weight, on looks, on continual svelte-hood – especially in the ‘60s and ‘70s (yes, even when Gloria Steinem et al. were rebelling). It gives, again, a skewed perception of ourselves, with comparisons to models, magazines, and others who seem to have no issue with eating. Further, that low-cal shine has been justified by psychologists as “personifying food and making it more endearing … in a light-hearted manner.”
Yes, diet has a negative connotation … we’ll admit. Which is why many of the successful weight-loss specialists have adopted healthy eating as a mantra. Though we can’t quite get our mouths around healthy cocktails and healthy ice cream, let’s ask our marketing wizards to give slenderizing wordsmithing another try.