#MoreThanMeat: The Campaign to Stop Those Sexist Burger Ads
For years, fast food chain Carl’s Jr. has hyper-sexualized the act of eating a burger with their bizarre ad campaigns. Starring everyone from Paris Hilton to Kate Upton, the ads feature scantily-clad celebrities suggestively eating burgers in the most unappetizing way possible. Sex may sell, but objectifying women isn’t sexy. The 24th largest fast food company in America—wedged in between Whataburger and Jimmy John’s—Carl’s Jr. seems more than happy to take any attention their intentionally-controversial ads can generate.
But two sisters have had enough.
Last week, 28-year-olds Lexie and Lindsay Kite launched #CutTheCarls and #MoreThanMeat, a hashtag campaign against Carl’s Jr., hoping that the power of social media can help convince the fast food chain to put an end to the objectification of women in their ads.
For their part, Carl’s Jr. seems to acknowledge that their ads are intentionally sexualized, and not targeted to women, saying in a 2011 press release, “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers,” with CEO Andrew Puzder adding, “We target hungry guys, and we get young kids that want to be young hungry guys.”
On their Beauty Redefined blog, the Kite sisters outline three problems they see with Carl’s Jr. advertising.
Lexie’s husband Travis, who falls into Carl’s Jr.’s target demographic of men between the ages of 18 and 35, put out a statement on the blog asking other men to step forward and acknowledge that women are more than meat.
“When advertisers want our attention, their first move is to wave some form of sex in our face,” he writes. “Sure that’s a given, but it doesn’t have to be. They keep using sex because we keep taking the bait. Because, sex sells, right? And we hear that phrase a lot, but it’s a little misleading. The advertisers aren’t using sex per se; they’re using women’s bodies. They take women and strip them down (literally and figuratively), removing everything that makes them human beings, and for years we’ve essentially said with our dollars that we were cool with it.”
He goes on to urge readers to take a stand against the objectification of women and “start by pushing back against a company run by guys like Andrew Puzder, who are brash enough to combine women and meat and feed it to us like we’re animals. Let’s stop buying their hamburgers.”
The post ends by asking readers to use the hashtags #CutTheCarls and #MoreThanMeat on social media outlets, and to boycott the restaurant.
“They are just pushing the boundaries, and they are doing it blatantly,” Lexie Kite told the Associated Press. “They are only getting more and more sexually objectifying. We know as well as anybody how much harm this does to men, to boys, to girls, to women, to relationships. It’s time to speak up.
“This isn’t women that are just jealous of beautiful women. This isn’t women that are worried that their husbands are going to see things. This is honestly a public health crisis. We know we are not going to take Carl’s Jr. down, and that is fine by me. This about people being able to use their voices to stand up for something that is really harmful.”