I’m preparing to participate in my first protest next weekend. The cause I’ll be spending an afternoon standing for? A boycott of Carl’s Jr. restaurants due to their extremely sexualized commercials that exploit women.
If you’re rolling your eyes right now, you’re not alone. My husband even shook his head when I told him what I’d be doing. And part of me gets that. It’s only a restaurant. A lot of companies use sex and women to sell their products — what’s the big deal?
Here’s the deal.
I’m sure the name Brock Turner rings a bell with many of you, the young college kid who raped a woman while she was passed out behind a dumpster. He only went to jail for three months, while his dad complained his son was being punished for only “20 minutes of action.” Unfortunately, his story is one of many stories in our country that illustrate a growing mindset: the view of women as objects made for male gratification, where a man’s desire for “20 minutes of action” is more important than a woman’s ownership over her mind, body, soul, and sexuality.
We live in a country that touts feminism and equality for women. Yet while we’ve given lip service to women’s rights in the workplace, ironically, a totally different message has permeated our social norms: the message that a woman’s value lies in her ability to provide male sexual gratification.
So while it may be tempting to simply roll our eyes or laugh when companies like Carl’s Jr. air commercials that portray women in lingerie having “three-ways” with hamburgers, I can’t in good conscience ignore the blatant comparisons between women and meat in their advertising. We as a society would like to believe that the Brock Turners of the world are the result of horrible parenting, and while I’m sure that’s a big factor, I would argue that the portrayal of women as sexualized objects throughout our culture is also to blame.
And Carl’s Jr.’s advertising campaign is a prime example of female objectification, which is just what the CEO of the restaurant is going for.
According to a 2015 article in Entrepreneur magazine, the CEO of Carl’s Jr., Andrew Puzder, flat out said he is troubled if people don’t find his company’s ads offensive. He’s looking to get attention, to create a brand — he wants Carl’s Jr. to be known for “burgers and boobs.” Check out this quote from Puzder, defending what he thinks is a great marketing campaign:
“[Carl’s Jr.’s sexualized marketing campaign] is an appeal to youth, so it really reaches a broad demographic. … My son’s now 17, but when he was 13 he didn’t want to eat at ‘the king’ [or] ‘the clown,’ he wanted to eat where his brother ate, so he wanted to be a young hungry guy. I’m 64, I want to be a young hungry guy. Some young ladies in your age group like to date young hungry guys.”
“Young hungry guys.” Interesting. So based on what he said, McDonald’s and Burger King can’t feed “young hungry guys.” Apparently young hungry men need a restaurant infused with sex to feed their hunger. So basically if we replace the word “hungry” with “horny” we get to the heart of what he’s saying.
I’m tired of people like Andrew Puzder exploiting women to gain money, and even more than that, I’m tired of sitting by while our country verbally condemns women being abused and raped but then doesn’t bat an eye when the media and society blatantly portray women as objects made to gratify men’s sexual hunger.
This is why, at eight and a half months pregnant, I am attending my first protest. This is why I have committed to never eat at Carl’s Jr., despite the fact that my son cries and pleads with me regularly to go to their awesome kid’s area. (BTW, does anyone else find it extremely disturbing that Carl’s Jr. brands itself as “boobs and burgers” but also is one of the fast food chains that often builds huge kid’s areas at their restaurants???)
If you agree with any of what I’ve said, I’d encourage you to take the pledge and quit eating at Carl’s Jr. Apparently Andrew Puzder loves it when his commercials offend people, so let’s show him how much we’re offended. Let’s show him that being a “young hungry guy” doesn’t mean accepting the idea that women are equivalent to his crappy fast food burgers.
He seems to be a man that loves hitting up the ladies, so let’s hit this hungry man where he’ll be sure to notice — right in his wallet.by