Slowly and often unsurely
Something in the works
just type Strawberry if you want to watch and have 10 minutes
Recently in my local Tesco Express I came across a litre carton of “Everyday Value UHT Unsweetened Soya Milk”; soya milk is a product that I originally associated as a sort of “specialist” vegan item, more at home in Glasgow’s West End Greengrocer’s Roots and Fruits but recently it appears to have grown in popularity and I assume Tesco now regard it as an “essential” item if it is now part of their value range.
It led me to search for other examples and after typing in “1L Milk” on their online shop, I was met with 71 search results; every variation of milk you could need to meet your own, very specific needs. The latest product to be labelled as “New!” with an exclaimation of excitement, was “Everyday Value Skimmed Long Life Milk.” As I scrolled through the results of my keywords I found each item distinguished itself with an excessively long name like the above, the longest being “Sterlised Homogenised Skimmed Long Life Cow’s Milk”; all of these processes made me question my original childhood connotations of milk; purity and simplicity no longer seemed relevant.
Its association with infancy and simplicity have given many politicians a bad name, finding themselves labelled as being “out of touch” with the working classes. In 1992 US President George H W Bush was unsure of the average price and in 1971 before she was even Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher became the “Milk Snatcher” after withdrawing universal free school milk.
Roland Barthes portrays it as being synonymous with the innocence of the child, strength and reality; in his essay Wine and Milk- within the book Mythologies- he claims the two are opposites but with so many variations of milk, I would suggest that the strawberry milkshake could signify a loss of innocence, weakness and fantasy and therefore, present milk’s antonym.
Within popular culture, the strawberry milkshake has become associated with both female naivety and sexuality, through figures like Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw and Kelis’ song and music video Milkshake. The colour pink is now shorthand for “girl” and this gender stereotyping is one which is explored in Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank, through the reoocurring images of blondes in short skirts, often wearing pink- resembling Mia’s mother, as well as Barbie dolls- whilst Mia dresses androgynously in monochrome sportswear.
In the title sequence of Sex and the City, Carrie also resembles one of these Barbie dolls, however her pink ballerina outfit is most likely a highly sought after designer item, unlike the high street fashion of Fish Tank. Despite her glamourous appearance, she is a Barbie doll that has been misplaced in an urban environment, as a bus advertising her newspaper column splashes her. Within the advertisment, she is also wearing pink but it appears to be an underdress; at once in the still frame, disneyfication sits alongside sexualisation and it is these sorts of contradictions I have sought to bring to light in “Milk”.
The first half, “Real People’s” Food and “Real Food” explores political attempts to empathise with the “Everyman” and working classes, whereas “The (Walking) Strawberry Milkshake” presents examples of associations between women and fast food.
collages and flash fictions from children’s scribbles and squished flies