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Carl’s Jr. Comparing People with Burgers

-Submitted by an Anonymous Volunteer of The Emily Program Foundation

This image is from the Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurant as an ad to sell their large-size burgers. The ad shows a sexually provocative woman with the caption, “She’ll tell you size doesn’t matter, she’s lying.” This phrase is troublesome in many ways (minimizing the woman’s voice, implying having a bigger size matters – which is usually referred to when talking about a male’s penis size), but what is even more alarming is the side-by-side of Paris Hilton to the burger. The woman’s body is used as an object that is pleasing to look at. Her hair, revealing outfit, breasts, legs, and butt are displayed to seem desirable. However, this add is signifying that the Carl’s Jr. burger is so tasty it is more enticing than the sexual attractiveness of the woman’s body. Bodies compared with burgers, an interesting contrast since there is virtually nothing in common with the two. I love cheeseburgers! In fact, I love double-cheeseburgers with all the fixins’ on them even more! However, I do not think to compare people to food because people are not objects. We have personalities, insights, skills to offer other than our appearance or sexual manner.
Carl’s Jr. in general has gotten criticism for the way they advertise their food. Another example is their 2015 commercial aired during Super Bowl XLIX. The commercial features a woman appearing to be nude walking through a farmer’s market. All the men’s attention is focused on her for what seems to be an obvious reason- she’s naked. Turns out she’s holding a burger and is “fully” clothed. The men are actually staring at the delicious looking sandwich that is more attractive than the woman’s body.

Consider these questions while looking at the Carl’s Jr. add and watching the Super Bowl XLIX commercial:
• What body shape is being portrayed as ‘desirable’?
• Why would people criticize either advertisement?
• Would these ads be equally appealing if the models were replaced by men?

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