Professor What if… wrote a fabulous piece about consuming whiteness through milk.
In the Got Milk ads, the representation of ‘perfect’ white bodies was linked to the consumption of America’s ‘perfect food’ – milk. Inaugurated in 1993, the campaign included the famous milk moustache print ads as well as humorous television advertisements in which people found they were out of milk at the most inconvenient times. While these ads may have seemed innocuous, this campaign (and its similar descendants) help to sustain limiting notions of what it means to be a ‘good body,’ and, most pervasively, perpetuated the notion that ‘good bodies’ are white (and consume/wear/desire whiteness).
This valorization of milk as a perfect food that these ads put forth is part of a long history in which white, middle class bodies are deemed better than the bodies of various ‘Others.’ As nutritionist Marion Nestle notes, the idea that dairy is “essential” was brought about via the joint forces of dairy lobbies, nutritionists, and governmental agencies since the early twentieth century.