Happy International Women’s Day! Today is a day for us to celebrate the strong women of the past and the present, a day for us to celebrate feminism and all of the people working toward making our world a more equal place, a day to celebrate yourself, if you’re a woman. It is also, unfortunately, a day to sigh deeply at every corporate attempt to make this holiday profitable. One example? One international KFC outpost has introduced Claudia Sanders for International Women’s Day, and we just want to point out that this, uh, isn’t exactly feminism.
A few days ago, KFC Malaysia released a video in which it introduced consumers to Claudia Sanders, who is, as the video says, “the other Sanders” and “the wife of Colonial Sanders.”
Ugh. But wait — it gets worse. The video goes on to describe all of the behind-the-scenes tasks Claudia Sanders did to help make KFC what it is today. While the explanation of her life may have had good intentions, it comes across as condescending, obnoxious, and another example of invisible women supporting men’s achievements.
First and foremost, viewers felt angry that Claudia Sanders was described simply as “the wife of Colonial Sanders,” as if this is the main thing she should be known for. Have we all learned nothing from George and Amal Clooney?
While the narrator notes that “Mrs. Sanders played a very important role in the success of KFC,” he also doesn’t bring up much about Claudia Sanders herself. He only discusses what she did for KFC, not what she did outside of that company or outside of her marriage.
Give it a watch to see what we mean:
On top of that, the whole idea of big companies creating special products or storylines for International Women’s Day just feels cheap and like they are using an empowering holiday as a marketing ploy — or an easy way to look good in a time when feminism and gender equality are in the forefront of the media.
It’s like Doritos creating “Doritos for women” and McDonald’s inverting its giant “M” sign to look like a “W” for the day. These things miss the mark. Feminism isn’t about this — it’s about making actual strides towards gender equality.
Twitter was full of critics of the KFC Claudia Sanders situation:
One user reminded us, though, that while KFC may have gone about this the wrong way, Claudia Sanders was real, and does deserve to have her story told:
The best thing about the KFC video is the stories of real-life women the company has helped…so at least there’s that. Otherwise? It would be nice if next year, brands didn’t use International Women’s Day to promote themselves.