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Gourmet Magazines

March 14th, 2000

The Editors
Gourmet Magazine
4 Times Square
New York, NY 10036

Dear Gourmet,

I am a loyal customer writing because I am upset by a recent advertisement that appeared in the March 2000 issue of Gourmet. The ad is by the American Express Company and shows a woman being devoured by a shark. What I asked myself, does this image have to do with credit?

As a woman educated in women’s issues, with a five-year-old daughter, I felt compelled to write. Why does the media insist on presenting women in such abusive situations. Perhaps if we took an animal, like a deer or labrador retriever, and put it in the mouth of the shark, we could see how ludicrous the ad is! Animal rights activists would be all over us. But somehow for women, we just let it go…

I know that Gourmet would not knowingly take a position that hurts women. I myself have been so successfully brainwashed by advertisers that these images often escape me too. It usually takes an enlightened person to reveal to me the subliminal cultural message – women are second class and expendable.

I ask you not to run this ad again.