Kathryn Lindsay
August 29, 2015 2:03 pm

Carl’s Jr. is a popular fast food chain, but if you know them more for their infamous commercials than for their food, you wouldn’t be alone. The brand has a history of running ad campaigns featuring attractive women in suggestive and, some would say, exploitative, ways. The ads have made many a feminist cringe with their dehumanizing, and just plain gross depictions of women.

So when Carl’s Jr. tapped UFC Champion and all-around badass Ronda Rousey to star in the ad for their Cinnamon Swirl French Toast Breakfast Sandwich, we held our breath and expected the worst. While Rousey’s commercial is far from perfect (she still does some of the brand’s trademark poses — like taking a big, weirdly-seductive bite into the sandwich — and there are uncomfortable close-ups on her mouth and way more cleavage than is necessary to sell a breakfast sandwich), it feels like a (baby) step in the right direction.

While the ad is certainly still banking on Rousey’s sex appeal to push product, she brings her own trademark strength and character to the commercial. Instead of relying entirely on her outward beauty, the ad also highlights Rousey’s skills and awards in between mouthwatering shots of the sandwich, which is described tantalizingly by a press release:

Not only do I want to go out and buy a sandwich, but I get a better sense of Rousey as a person rather than an object. She’s lauded for her awards, like being a UFC Bantamweight champ, and shown working out and training with her gear on. Any brand who wants to bring Rousey on as a spokesperson should be highlighting her strength and accomplishments because they’re integral to who she is and what makes her fans love her.

Obviously, it’s okay for women to be sexual, but it’s not okay for that to be the only thing they’re praised for. While Carl’s Jr. has had trouble grasping this in the past, maybe this campaign marks the turning of a new leaf for the fast food company. Women should be known for their strength and capabilities —not just for their beauty. And I should be allowed to eat a delicious breakfast sandwich without feeling like I’m catering to the patriarchy. Now, we can do both. Yum.

Take a look at the full ad below!

(Image via YouTube)

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