In Kareen’s semiotic analysis of SkinnyGirl’s television commercial, she asserts, “The ad creates a consumption style with its product in the very female social context. It seems like the ad screams: ladies now you can do whatever you want because you have a secret weapon: a low-cal drink!” This female social context can be read as a lifestyle based on the good’s projection of meaning onto the consumer. The authors of Social Communication in Advertising: Consumption in the Mediated Marketplace describe the formation of a lifestyle as “a unique way of life defined by its distinctive array of values, drives, beliefs, needs, dreams, and special points of view” (240). The particular values, needs, and beliefs within the SkinnyGirl ad and the cultural meaning held within the product itself reflect the highly moralized restrictions on female appetite and feminine ideals of frugality, sensible tastes in drinking, and a rejection of indulgence. Explored in Susan Bordo’s “Hunger as Ideology”, how a woman eats – or in SkinnyGirl’s case, drinks – should be controlled within a refined lifestyle that advocates slender restraint that reflects the beauty and aesthetics of a lady. Bordo explains the history held within this aesthetic, “[Victorian conduct manuals] warned elite women of the dangers of indulgent and over-stimulating eating and advised how to consume in a feminine way” (112). Avoiding the decadence of binge drinking, women who consume (buy, serve, order, drink, etc.) a SkinnyGirl hail themselves as a part of the sophisticated lifestyle of a lady, a feminine identity used for consumption. They are health conscious while still treating themselves to the pleasure of a cocktail.

How they consume the cocktail also adds to their lifestyle as a lady. Avoiding the dive bars and keg parties, the SkinnyGirl consumer asserts her taste when she consumes her cocktail in a social and responsible setting. The actress in the commercial uses the adjectives “sensible” and “poised” to elevate the SkinnyGirl brand and product as something distinguishable and elite within the world of spirits. This elitist taste is reflected further in the script when a “lady” is said to have “good posture” and to “know how to cocktail”. A specific knowledge of caloric intake, cocktail mixology, and even the history of founder Bethenny Frankel are needed for a consumer to enter into the lifestyle of SkinnyGirl and become a “lady”. Bordo explains, “the pitch aimed at women stresses the exquisite pleasure to be had from a sensually focused and limited experience” (129). The SkinnyGirl brand enables the lady-like consumers to “indulge a little” and enjoy the cocktails they want, but “without all the extra calories they don’t [want]”. SkinnyGirl cocktails enable the lady-like consumer to focus her consumption on a product that quenches her thirst and cravings while still limiting her intake and controlling her portions. This allows the consumer to adhere to hegemonic standards of beauty and dieting while still being savvy and smart enough to consume a cocktail in a ladylike manner. The television spot for SkinnyGirl promotes a lifestyle of a sophisticated woman who has the awareness and consciousness to watch her figure, but also encourages the lady to indulge her desires and flaunt her status as a lady through the consumption of the SkinnyGirl cocktails.

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