Sigmund Freud, The Psychical Consequences of the Anatomic Distinction Between the Sexes, 1925:
“The great question which I have not yet been able to answer despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is:
‘What does a woman want?’”
Well, certainly not the shriveled baloney pony of a dead, dated and démodé doctor, whose views on women were exploitative anachronisms even when he wrote them. By 1925, suffragists—women and men, conservative and radical—had already slam-dunked it: The Nineteenth Amendment, which prohibited state or federal sex-based restrictions on voting, was ratified in 1920.
Meanwhile, Freud considered his wife to be a good little hausfrau, and in one distorted and condescending bout of horn-fellating, claimed that his greatest discoveries were 1) the Oedipal Complex—the notion that somewhere between the ages of three and five, a boy decides that he wants to dispatch daddy and make whoopee with mommy—and 2) Penis Envy: Freud’s conviction that every woman has a lifelong obsession with her schlonglessness.
The latter theory was ripped to shreds by contemporary psychoanalyst Karen Horney (perfect name, huh?) who believed instead that us boys have ‘womb envy’ because we can’t have babies—a fancy that Freud pooh-poohed as being the result of Horney’s penis envy.
Personally I think they sound like a couple of pre-schoolers playing doctor with their nay-nays and as far as I’m concerned, they can both go blow a bowl of Belyando spruce.
So, If Not a Tallywhacker, an Alabama Black Snake or a Purple-Headed Pork Sword, What DO Women Want??!
Chocolate, baby, chocolate.
If you are, in fact, a woman and happen to be anywhere near Navy Pier, Chicago November 16-18, there’s this thing happening that is a lot like what happened beneath that mashed-potato-shaped laccolith at the end of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind: A convergence of benighted, wandering souls suffering from OCD—Obsessive Chocolate Disorder, the discovery of which happens to be Karen Horney’s greatest contribution to Cuckoo-For-Cocoa-Puffology.
Over that November weekend, the trade-focused National Chocolate Show runs in conjunction with the consumer-focused Chicago Fine Chocolate Show and promises to be nothing short of a phenomenal female-filled phenylethylamine fan festival—to true chocoholics what Mardi Gras is to overweight, drunk crackerhonkies who haven’t seen a living tit since 1995.
According to National Chocolate Show founder Mario Pi (another rockin’ moniker—is his middle name Chocolate Cream?), “We wanted to create a forum for the advancement of the chocolate industry through taste journeys and empowering conference programming on cocoa farming sustainability, trend spotting, fine flavor exploration, new product development, business insights, and more.”
More on that orchestrated pile of steaming PR cacahuatl in a sec. First—now that we have firmly demonstrated what women actually want—it’s time to address a follow-up question:
Why do women want what women want?
Because Women Are From MARS® and Men Are From Venus Envy
In fact, a recent report by the The Diabetes Association claims that, whereas only 15% of males crave chocolate, 40% of women do, with three-quarters of those stating that absolutely nothing other than chocolate will satisfy their cocoa concupiscence.
And—psychologically and physiologically—the reasons are indeed gender specific.
The aforementioned phenylethylamine is a psychoactive drug whose effects may produce sensations of giddiness, attraction, euphoria and excitement—emotions that men produce via kegerators, 103 inch flat-screen TVs and partially-restored 1950 Harley Panheads. A book released in the 1980’s—that era of effusive, bizarre and generally incorrect self-help theories—opined that chocolate releases mesolimbic dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain and they are similar to orgasm—which may be why six in ten women report preferring chocolate to sex.
It’s pretty blatant, too: With chocolate, you don’t have to make small talk, act interested or look your best.
And yet, it has been subsequently shown that nearly all ingested phenylethylamine is broken down long before it reaches the brain. Still, this has not stopped an entire generation from referring to the ‘chocolate theory of love’.
A more arguable notion is that chocolate contains relatively high levels of magnesium—a chemical that is depleted in women during menstruation. The idea is that women undergoing PMS (Pre-Mocha Syndrome) begin to lust after chocolate as a way to top up the tank. The fact that magnesium is the ninth most common element in the universe and is contained in thousands of non-craved foods is pretty much swept under the rug by magnesiumists.
Debra Zellner, Ph.D, a professor at Shippensburg University, believes that chocoholism is in the mind, not the brain, and maintains that woman want chocolate primarily because it is a cultural taboo loaded with sugar and spice and everything goes-directly-to-the-hips nice, and that the pre-menstrual, down-in-the-dumps yen is more a psychological desire for comfort food than a physical need to replenish body stores.
No matter the reason, the stats are undeniable: The most widely and frequently craved foods by men are, in descending order, buffalo wings, bratwurst with yellow mustard, meat-lovers pizza and beersicles.
With women, hands down and by a huge margin, it’s chocolate.
That’s What Grown-Up Women Want. What Does Li’l G’boto Chukwuemeka, Age 8, Want?
A day off. A couple of bucks for her fourteen hour shift. A singing pink pony that she can eat between choruses. Or, barring that, a beersicle and a bucket of Buffalo Wild Wings.
The one thing she doesn’t want? Any more chocolate.
Earlier, I quoted a statement made by Mario Pi-In-The-Sky regarding the National Chocolate Show’s mission to ‘empower conference programming on cocoa farming sustainability, trend spotting, fine flavor exploration—and did I mention ‘blah, blah, blah,’ and ‘shut the f**k up already, Mario?’
Trend spotting? What about at least a cursory mention of the ongoing trend of child bondage throughout the Ivory Coast chocolate industry?
A recent study from the US government reports that there are nearly two million underage workers in the chocolate industry throughout western Africa, with nearly 800,000 of those in the Ivory Coast, which alone accounts for more than half the world’s supply of cocoa.
That beloved nation, you’ll recall, bore the primary burden of supplying the antebellum American slave trade with unwilling fodder for the auction block, and despite the Emancipation Proclamation, does not seem to have missed a beat.
The technique of removing the prized beans from a cocoa pod involves whacking it with a giant cleaver, and trafficked children working the plantations are routinely photographed with machete scars on their arms, legs and faces. Not only that, but these children work daily with pesticides and herbicides without protective gear.
Suffice to say that they are paid atrociously, too. But when prices are low—cocoa futures dipped to historic lows in May, 2012—they’re often not paid at all.
Awareness Level Among Butter Fat Fat Cats?
Not surprisingly, industry officials refuse to comment, referring inquiries to public relations consultants like Joanna Scott, who maintains, “We are totally committed to working with others in resolving the situation.”
Evidently, this involves building a school in Campement Paul near San Pedro, which is able accommodate about a quarter of the community’s 500 children and for which the village—already subsisting at bare poverty level—was charged half of the $20,000 construction fees.
Meanwhile, the cocoa industry is worth an annual $90 billion.
S’funny, Ms. Scott: When I am ‘totally committed’ to a moral obligation, I—like most people—don’t look for ways to stick poor people for half the cash.
And that’s not even the kicker: The kicker is something that needs to be read, probably more than once, to be believed:
Confronted again and again with irrefutable evidence of child labor, human trafficking and unapologetic slavery in West Africa and other chocolate producing regions, the industry’s biggest players, including Hershey’s, Kraft-Cadbury, Mars, Nestlé and Blommer, have signed agreement—under pressure—to cut by 70% the number of children working in dangerous conditions by 2020.
By 2020. This is not a typo, chocolatiers.
What Do Real Women Want?
The same thing that real men want: That this idiotic timetable be withdrawn and words like ‘by 2020’ be replaced with ‘by 2:20 this fucking afternoon, people’.
And, that anything calling itself The National Chocolate Show make this subject not merely a talking point, not only a seminar title, not part of an ‘empowered conference programming’, but the entire focus of the entire three-day get-together.
And if they refuse, we should all agree to throw en masse machete-flavored pies at the event’s nom approprié founder Mario Pi until he gets his Hershey’s Squirts together.
Meanwhile, at very least, if nothing else and once and for all, we have laid to rest Sigmund Freud’s flawed penis postulation:
Li’l G’boto Chukwuemeka does not want a dick. She works in an industry that’s overflowing with them.