Advertising and Popular Culture

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

As candy and sweets became mass-produced and their consumption expanded during the Gilded Age, advertising and popular culture increasingly connected them to males—especially in the form of candy bars—as a sustaining source of energy and as a remedy against the temptations of alcoholism. See candy bar. Simultaneously, bonbons—pure, graceful, and refined—were gradually presented as objects of female desire. As Western—and in particular American—products are making their way into other markets, these perceptions are being presented to populations that either did not traditionally consume great quantities of sweets or did not attribute any gender connotations to the consumption of sweets. The increased availability of snacks and desserts is thus shaping new needs and desires, influencing gendered notions attached to them.