Non-Profit Tells Carls Jr. To Cut The Crap With Sexist Commercials

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If you are familiar with US burger chain Carls Jr, you’ll no doubt have seen one of their many commercials, usually featuring a female celebrity of some sort acting gratuitous with one of their burgers.

Celebs such as Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, supermodel Nina Agdal, TV chef Padma Lakshmi, reality star Audrina Patridge, and as pictured above, model-turned actress Kate Upton. We’re still trying to figure out what being sexy has to do with selling burgers (maybe they’re marketing exclusively to horny frat guys??) and apparently we are not the only one.

Seeing these women writhe and rub their bodies in sexually compromising positions is just embarrassing, and portrays them like a piece of meat.

Non-profit organization Beauty Redefined, who exist to help young women decode negative media messages and find their beauty and worth outside of the images that we are bombarded with by advertising, are taking a public stand against the burger chain to try and get them to change tack with their commercials.

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They have launched a campaign online called ‘Cut the Carls’ essentially telling them to cut the crap with the sexist BS. They are using two hashtags: #cutthecrap and #morethanmeat and have outlined their clear objectives in a blogpost on their website.

The problem with everyone that uses idealized women’s bodies for their “sex sells” campaigns is that this is the least sexy thing they could possibly be selling. Messages that depict one narrow definition of “hot” and one way to think about, view, and use women — solely as an object for sexual pleasure — are actually damaging sexuality for both sexes by limiting what we perceive as “sexy” and keeping all of us preoccupied with looking “sexy” rather than enjoying sexuality,” writes co-founder Lindsay Kite on the site.

They say that Carls Jr. portraying women as they do in this manner reinforces the idea that they are objects to be viewed for sexual pleasure only, their worth is tied solely in how they look and how sexual they can act, and that they take the control away from a woman’s body saying that she is an object to be “acted upon” by a man.

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But the physical implications of objectification go further than what the eye can see. Beauty Redefined says health problems such as decreased self-esteem, depression, anxiety, decreased cognitive function and eating disorders are common effects of a woman being devalued as a whole being.

Carl’s Jr. doesn’t care about the public health crisis to which they are proud contributors. When women complain about their sexist ads, CJ literally replies with, ‘You aren’t our target demographic of 18- to 35-year-old men so we don’t care.’ They only care about money. ‘The people we wanted to target were young, hungry guys. …We target hungry guys, and we get young kids that want to be young hungry guys,’ says Andrew Puzder, the chief exec Carl’s Jr.’s parent company.  So obviously Andrew doesn’t care about anyone. Period.”

Beauty Redefined co-founders Lexie and Lindsay Kite know the message won’t work unless men are on board also. They recruited Lexie’s husband Travis, who is the Carls Jr. demographic, to issue the call-out to other men. One of the things he is urging people to do in favor of this campaign, aside from spreading the word via social media using the aforementioned hashtags, he also wants people to stop buying Carls Jr. altogether.

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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,” says Travis. “If it doesn’t make you sick, then you should probably turn off your internet machine, think really hard about how numb you are to stuff that is doing a lot of harm, and just have a conversation with a real woman. And just maybe think for one second about what it means for women to turn on the TV and see basically every woman stripped down to sell you things.

Travis is asking his fellow men to “man up” and realize women are not objects, and that it is time for them to take a stand once and for all. He is not the only guy reaching out to his social network. Beauty Redefined linked to a man named Ryan Hawks who has posted his own picture and wrote a compelling reason why he feels strongly about this campaign.

My baby girl lives in a world where women are treated as sexual objects of pleasure instead of as bright, intelligent, capable individuals who can the world with their powerful minds, hearts, and spirits. Of course, first and foremost it is up to me to teach her that she has tremendous potential, purpose, and value and no one can take that from her. I cannot support a place that utilizes pornography in their ad’s and treat women as meat,” he writes underneath the image he posted on Facebook.

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Blogger Greg Trimble also wrote an open letter to Carls Jr. sharing his disdain for the demeaning commercials with his wide audience.

“On behalf of all the dads, and all the youth of our nation, to go back to selling burgers and get away from selling sex and promiscuity. All it takes is a shift in your marketing campaign to do it. Sex has nothing to do with a cheeseburger. I don’t see the connection at all. There are plenty of other food joints that are doing awesome without destroying the minds of the rising generation,” he pleads with the burger chain.

If this is the kind of thing it takes to spark a movement, the more we lend our voices and spread the word means it could reach the right ears so that change can become a possibility. Perhaps Carls Jr. has never taken the complains seriously in the past. But if we all work together as one, there is no end to the power we can create as everyday citizens.

Here’s to the women and the fine, upstanding gentlemen of the world who value women as equal human beings deserving of respect. Coz frankly we’re so done with images like these…

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One Comment

  1. why not tell women to stop doing the commercials and swimsuit ads/magazines etc they only care about the money too. flounce around in a swimsuit or get a real job? hmm yeah ill just take the easy way out and sell my body for money

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