In the last one hundred years, advertisers and film directors have gotten lazy in their fields. Even the writers and directors of commercials have started to lose their talent. Have you noticed that whatever product you are looking into, from burgers to perfume, scandalously clad models and actresses crowd the shot, while the actual product is touched or used once or twice? This is due to the idea that’s been sweeping the offices of writers everywhere, that “Sex sells”.
A lack of moral values has been polluting our television channels and commercials between shows, and it’s gotten to the point that women are so overly sexualizxed a new mother can’t even feed her infant child in public without unnecessary criticism and insults. In this modern society, is it possible to sell anything without a pair of breasts in the foreground? Or have the citizens of the United States lost their ability to differentiate between needs and desires, their lust overtaking the parts of their brain that are supposed to be so logical?
If you’ve watched television recently and paid attention to the commercials between shows, it’s a strong possibility that you’ve seen one of the newest Carl’s Jr. /Hardee’s breakfast or lunch and dinner launch commercials. With Kate Upton as one of the front runners as a spokeswoman for their new Southwest Patty Melt, the restaurant chain has been creating a phenomenal stir. Unfortunately for the restaurant chain though, this “stir” is not sitting well with the feminist or conservative crowds.
If you’re wondering why, I would recommend looking up the commercial and watching it for yourself. Set in a drive-in movie theatre, Kate Upton seems innocent enough, wearing an adorable pink shag over a seemingly modest dress. As she takes her first bite of the Southwest Patty Melt, she begins to sweat, carelessly tearing out her hair band and tossing it aside. Moving down the sandwich, she pulls out a jalapeno ring and slowly crushes it between her front teeth, and as the background music begins to increase in volume she rips off her shag, revealing a barely-there cleavage exposing top.
Hair down, shining with sweat (assumingly from the intense “heat” of the jalapenos and pepperjack cheese on the Southwest Patty Melt) and partially exposed, she crawls into the backseat of her convertible, setting the take out bag between her thighs and seductively crushing it. If this wasn’t more than enough, there are more shots of her chest and thighs than there are of the sandwich that is supposed to be the centerpiece for their advertisement. The commercial doesn’t end there though.
With another forty five seconds of Upton writhing in the backseat and peeling off more and more clothing, she eventually crawls and bends over the front seats of her vehicle, pulling the straw from her drink slowly between her lips with her tongue and never taking an actual drink. The commercial eventually ends with Upton perched on the back end of the convertible with the sandwich she spent so long consuming miraculously still in hand, in one piece, her shadow projected onto the movie screen and billows of smoke setting the ominous glow.
When I say the writers and directors of this commercial, what I mean is this: There is not a single word spoken throughout the entire commercial, save the name of the sandwich spoken over by a narrator at the very end of the commercial when Upton is thankfully replaced with a black screen and the words, “Carl’s Jr. ” and “Hardee’s”. There is no dialogue in the entire commercial. There isn’t even a movie on the projector screen! The only effort put into this commercial was the effort put in through the hair, makeup, and wardrobe departments, and honestly, wardrobe didn’t work too hard.
When the internet caught wind of this commercial during Super Bowl season, it blew up, and the advertisement never actually made in into it’s Super Bowl commercial slot. If you were to look up what some of the critics thought of the advertisement, you would see a lot more quotes like this one: “Women are always freaking out about doing things like going to a movie or eating out by themselves, but it’s not that big of a deal. Feel free to hit the cinema solo just so long as you bring your Carl’s Jr. atty melt and use it to grease up your boobs and vag. ” (Davies, 2013) and “‘Yahoo notes that ads like this are definitely the brand’s bread and butter. “Previous commercials featuring Kate Upton, Paris Hilton and Heidi Klum have been so racy, they prompted critics to create the hashtag #WomenAreMoreThanMeat. ’” (AOL. COM EDITORS, 2015) with a lot fewer positive comments towards the commercial.
In fact, a lot of bloggers and independent thinkers believe that Carl’s Jr. Hardee’s lost it’s female customer base in the mid-90’s when they brought in their line of new female spokesmodels and “when I realized that I could save cash and create the same flavors by pouring a bottle of barbecue sauce over a bunch of used bandages. ” (Davies, 2013) It’s quite clear that Carl’s Jr. /Hardee’s will probably never win back their female fan base, and at this point it’s more than obvious the chain could care less. When asked about the Kate Upton commercial specifically, Carl’s Jr. Hardee’s Andy Puzder, the CEO, responded with quote, “Since the ads feature the scantily-clad beauties chowing down on fast food, he said the celebs “need to be able to eat the burger like you’re loving it.
’‘You really have to go at it. You really have to attack it,” (Ramisetti, New York Daily News, 2015) Attributing the popularity of the advertisements to good timing, He also said, “‘We have a history of picking these young women before they hit their peak,’ he said. ‘We put Kate Upton in and a month before she got the cover of Sports Illustrated. ” Never once stating that the base selling point of the advertisements are the lustful bodies of the young women they miraculously find, Puzder seems innocent to the idea that he’s ever using sex as a selling point, raising the questions: Does Puzder honestly have any idea? Or is he really just seeing the popularity points and moving forward with similar commercials? It’s quite possible that Puzder doesn’t see what he’s doing as wrong, or aware that it may cause a negative impact.
Even if the over sexualization of women in the Carl’s Jr. /Hardee’s commercials doesn’t seem all that important, stop for a moment to realize the impact oversexualization has had on women. Most people are so desensitized to death and murder by hyper actively aroused by anything remotely sexual that a breastfeeding mother can’t feed her own child in public because it might give young people the wrong impression about what breasts are really for (all those Carl’s Jr. /Hardee’s commercials).
If you walked into a mall with a Victoria’s Secret, there are more than likely giant posters of women wearing nothing but the latest collections of Victoria’s Secret brand of bras and underwear. These women are showing nothing but skin. But if a breastfeeding mother sat in front of one of these poster to feed an infant, rest assured there would be some ignorant person walking over to tell the woman to “cover up” or how she should really “do that at home or in the bathroom”. But why? Would you eat under a stuffy blanket, or in a filthy restroom?
And if not, why would you tell a first time mother that her baby’s cafeteria is quite possibly one of the dirtiest rooms in any establishment? Women should not be ashamed to feed their children, in public or at home. In fact, according to many medical professionals, breastfeeding is actually healthier for a newborn baby due to the large amount of vitamin D in breast milk that is not necessarily found in formula. Some pediatricians actually recommend giving infants vitamin D supplements during their first few days of life just to give them a head start on their growth and bone development.
Formula is also difficult for some infants to digest, causing more illnesses than found in breastfed babies, and in some cases, infant deaths. But breastfeeding isn’t solely beneficial for the baby, it also boosts the mother’s health, and reduces the chances of certain ovarian and breast cancers. When Kate Miller-Wilson took the debate to the website Debate. Org and let the public speak for themselves regarding the issue, “34% of people feel that nursing a baby in public is inappropriate. ”. Kate Miller-Wilson, 2015) She allowed the discussion to flourish, and five major reasons stood out among the rest. Topic number one was that public nursing is indecent.
“They feel that a woman’s breast is a private part of her anatomy and that exposing it in public, even to feed a child, is morally wrong. In arguments on Debate. org, users cite other types of nudity as similar to breastfeeding and explain that the fact that nursing is “natural” does not mean it’s appropriate in all situations. (Kate Miller-Wilson, 2015) Also discussed on the board was the amount of harassment it opened a mother up to, and the awkward social situations it caused in public. But in some states, it’s actually illegal to breastfeed publicly, with Idaho, South Dakota, and Virginia holding very unclear legislation on the subject. The only way that we can stop this train is to inform the next generation properly. If our children see these kinds of advertisements what does that do to their image of what a woman should be?
As a society we have allowed commercials to dictate what is considered alright to view. The more that advertizing pushes the sex sells mentality the more often we will have harassment issues, a perpetuating rape culture, and ignorance towards what certain anatomy is intended for. All of which are issues that should be talked about with children at an early age to avoid said ignorance. If we as a society stop buying into the advertizing, then that will have a dramatic impact on how we see the female form.