Raising Girls Amidst Meat Marketing: Carls Jr., Burger King Raunch

burger hotchixJan. 27, 2015 Update:  It’s achingly sad that I can reprise my own prose about “meat marketing” women with gobsmacking sexualization and objectification commodifying bodies as edible objects to be consumed, but alas Carl’s Jr. is using the same stale crass-en masse trash for outrage baiting buzz in 2015 as they did five years ago.

Guess they’re consistent in their sexist tripe, but this fabricated ‘controversy’ BEGS for the use of the Do Not Link.com tool …so PLEASE if ANYone is blogging this bogus balderdash instead of boycotting it at every turn, use it to ensure they don’t get any search engine lift in rankings. It’s a handy tool for calling out tools.

take back beauty travis carls junior signageInstead? Read the usual UGH eliciting moments at SheKnows watch the clip and then call it out with the Representation Project’s #NotBuyingIt hashtag and app, our friends the Kite Sisters’ campaign to Cut the Carls as women are #MoreThanMeat, (photo via their post at BeautyRedefined.net) and join the 3Percent Conference Tweet Up on game day to encourage female creative directors at the ad helm and finally stop the slop.

Whatever you do, please don’t elevate the search ranking for sophomoric marketing wonks and fast food cretins who consider the male demographic their “core” with zero regard for the toxic media landing on daughters and sons as normative to be dismissed, like sexist urban wallpaper on outdoor billboards and ambient ads.

Finally, last night’s CBS Super Bowl Ads Special made it extra painful to see Charlotte McKinney, the model in the ad coo with coy commentary and nary a clue of the public health damage perpetuating appearance based crud that’s commodifying and packaging girlhood…at increasingly young ages, so I’m calling her out on Twitter today too. Accountability doesn’t end with corporations and media networks giving this sexualization snorefest a mic and a voice, or fame game wannabes using sexploitation with zero regard for harm.

We all have choices out there…mine is to vote with my wallet, my pen, my social media voice and full tilt purchasing power to boycott any company perpetuating this nonsense. Enough!

Original Post July 16, 2009 We interrupt our ‘regularly scheduled programming’ for a head-banging, forehead smacking, ‘what are we doing to our kids’ commercial break to highlight this post on the casting call for Carl’s Jr. and moreover, this post on Amplify Your Voice pondering the pornification of crass burger wars.

Beyond the obviously crude depiction of females as edible objects, (“More than just a piece of meat” is the slogan) the “corporate response” received by Amplify Your Voice writer April Fronk was akin to a ‘talk to the hand and by the way bite me’ approach dissing females and families as customers entirely by choosing to name ‘young, hungry guys’ as their target market. Not smart, people; even if it may be demographically correct.

This ranks right up there with what has now become the infamous Target gaffe which began when I called to express a ‘what were you thinking?’ point of view and was met with customer service backwash about not dealing with ‘nontraditional media.’

The Target ‘story within a story’ usurped my objectification focus, instead igniting a blogosphere firestorm by ticked off folks incredulous at the arrogance of Target’s response. Likewise, Carl’s Jr. has essentially just conveyed that 51% of the U.S. population doesn’t matter to them. Ladies? You good with this?

burger sex blowMeanwhile, Burger King’s ad for their ‘BK Super Seven Incher” with “IT’LL BLOW your mind away” type treatment and a red lipsticked ‘living doll depiction’ of overt shock and awe at the torpedo coming her way lowers the bar yet again to be consistent with their provocative ‘King Lecherous’ Spongebob Squarebutts kids’ character promos.

Knock it off, people! Fem2.0, (“society’s issues, women’s voices”) feel free to repost this and get some D.C. muckraking and cage rattling on our behalf goin’, will ya?

Or maybe CCFC or Packaging Girlhood should take the helm again, as they’ve done a solid job of revealing the impact of classless marketing like this on kids.

They’re not alone in raunch-factor, of course. Quiznos has had the ‘put it in me’ innuendo-laden dialog about their ‘toasty torpedo’ which hit the gaydar of many a media mama long ago and frankly, I don’t care what your sexual preferences are, raunch is raunch, regardless of gender or persuasion. (“sex sells” themes are boring and tediously unimaginative on the creative side too)

But for those of us struggling to raise independent, self-determining females amidst a cacophony of blaring, glaring, media images served 24/7 in surround sound (young girls as sex kittens, boy toys, and other patriarchal slop) the persistent damage to girls from objectification and stereotypes make for increasingly challenging times.

Try as we might to counter-market this crud, it creeps into kids’ souls and psyches eroding self-worth.

That’s a high price to pay for a freakin’ burger, people!

true child screenWe see this surface in our work with girls constantly as it takes the form of either ‘this is what I’m good for’ body shame and appearance-cues (usurping the power of the mind for the power of the body) or ‘burying it’ via desensitization, as girls are taught to ‘play along with the joke’ and told to ‘get a sense of humor’

Another common ploy is to voice that girls are ‘prudish’ or witchy or ‘militant’ or worse if they speak out about finding ads like this offensive…ALL of which can foul up girls’ sense of self…(not to mention tamp down voices).

Thankfully there are some new orgs coming on the scene that we’ll be partnering with like True Child.org which will be addressing some of this toxicity at the advocacy level so we’re not all splintered in our momentum, and can conjoin with mutuality when stuff like this surfaces for greater impact.

amplifyMeanwhile, you might want to take a peek at the numerous articles on the degradation of women to meat slabs (including this telltale visual at “Amplify Your Voice” showing the corporate marcom division of Carls Jr. parent company CKE; just so you know who’s sifting through those bikini-clad casting calls; ewww. Talk about BK King Lecherous!)

You can also participate in the poll regarding whether this consistent creepy marketing will alter spending habits…(you may be surprised at the results) AND… take action if you feel as strongly as I do.

Bleh. No question here.


It just so happens two of Shaping Youth’s partner orgs are teaming up for a dynamite radio show on Childhood Matters about how we treat girls and boys differently beginning at birth, from the things we buy for them to how we talk about gender in an effort to encourage girls to be strong from the start.

All broadcasts are archived on the Childhood Matters site as podcasts so you can tune in at your leisure…or join me at the ungodly hour of 7-8am Pacific at 98.1 KISS-FM on Sunday to call in with your questions and comments toll free: 1-877-372-KIDS!

I’ll be sounding off on the air Sunday with a few choice words about how these two burger spots  might as well double as a lesson in sophomoric sexism 101…

Meanwhile, Shaping Youth Advisory Board member and radio host Nurse Rona Renner tackles the crucial conversation about how we raise girls in our culture, and talks about how parents and caregivers may not even intend to do it, but often discourage displays of strength, smarts, and feistiness in subtle ways.

She’ll give tips on raising girls to encourage their true independent spirit and I’ll chime in about media as a major force to be reckoned with, interfering with this quest, time and time again.

Coach and athlete Lisa Izzi, who is founder and president of our partner organization Girls Are Champions will be one of Rona’s featured guests in the studio along with Dr. Kay Kleinerman, an educator, writer, and vocal coach in the Bay Area.

I encourage you to think hard about the ‘junk food for the mind and body’ being served up at both Burger King and Carl’s Jr. moreover, keep it in mind when you decide where your dollars will go.

Is this what you want to be supporting?

For all those “young, hungry guys” out there…you might want to remember you may have a daughter some day.

When you consider the harm of this deluge of damage, you may just lose your appetite.

Now, just so we leave our ‘commercial break’ on a positive note, I also strongly suggest you check out some of the other items on Amplify Your Voice too, including the positive news on PepsiCo’s sponsoring of civil rights if you happen to be a consumer using your purchasing power accordingly.

colalife girlOn another REALLY positive note, check out Simon Berry’s ColaLife.org, and his planned Twittermob rally in London’s Trafalgar Square tomorrow to lobby to use the soft drink distribution channel to deliver medicine to remote locales (reaching kids like Farrai Mwamba of Zambia, at left, photo credit to Alison Pearon)!

This fabulous organization delivers “pods” of vital medicine inserted into deliveries to far-flung areas (replacing one bottle of sugary libation with a helpful life pod to fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases is a huge win-win!)

As always with media, there’s good, bad, and ugly…

The latter, we’re striving to do something about.

Wanna help us?



  1. Hi Amy,

    Some of the ads today are so provocative and full of sexual innuendo that they should come with parental warning!!

    Btw, I really like your blog so I submitted it to Viralogy.com. That will help more people discover it! If you want you can claim your blog at http://www.viralogy.com/blogs/my/12740 which will also help your ranking.

    Hope you get more traffic through that!

    Anyway, I hope you have a great week and that you will be successful in every activity you engage in!
    .-= josh patel´s last blog ..Social Media Marketing Gurus: Chris Brogan vs Seth Godin =-.

  2. Hi Josh, I’ve been meaning to do that, just haven’t had time…will check it out now…My IT guy is with the ‘Travelin’ Geeks’ in London, so I’ll see if your screencast is “idiotproof” enough for me… 😉 (I’m a she-geek wannabe, but clearly don’t have the parlance)

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. Perhaps you can tell me how to ‘merge’ my two Technorati ‘rankings’ as one? (I had a .org and .com and it tracked separately somehow and so I’d like to ‘delete’ the lesser ranked one, but it’s got ‘fans’ that my IT guy said I’d lose, so not sure the how-tos there…Ideas? Oh, SEO guru guy?
    .-= Amy Jussel´s last blog ..Childhood Matters Radio Show: Raising Strong, Healthy Girls Today =-.

  3. Just ran this spot by some of the 14 yr. old guys in the ‘hood’ and got blushing, and “it’s a bit much” and “um, yah, I guess I’d just kinda want the burger, ya know?” —So clearly, these ‘hungry guys’ are a bit sheepish and embarrassed about the way this is landing on them…eh?
    .-= Amy Jussel´s last blog ..Childhood Matters Radio Show: Raising Strong, Healthy Girls Today =-.

  4. Josh…thank for upping Shaping Youth’s visibility. A WHOLE lot of people with and without kids should be following Shaping Youth!


  5. with grilled pineapple and SAND!

  6. Замечательно, очень ценная штука

  7. Hi Amy,

    As a father, a husband, and a member of society, I am glad to see you taking on the purveyors of this irresponsible advertising. I do object to your reference to ‘patriarchal slop’ though. I don’t think any good father wants to see the images that you rightly decry, nor do I think it helps them influence their daughters and sons in the ways that they would like to.

  8. You’re right about dads being mutually outraged about the raunch, in most cases I agree. My reference to “patriarchial slop” is about the institutions of male privilege, and often demeaning societal status quo ‘rules’ of objectification and sexualization to which I do not remotely ascribe (nor do most fathers and gentlemen) It’s not meant to be a slam about the paternal side of parenting in the least, no disrespect intended. It’s simply a statement that the rampant sexism needs to come to a screeching halt (from cultural pornification to the archaic “pin up girl” dynamics of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editions and Victoria’s Secret TV runway shows) It’s the male viewers/readership and executives in charge driving that economic engine. You won’t see female execs perpetuating this imagery or approving these ads, for starters, only 3% of advertising creative directors are female! The ad industry is indeed a male dominated ‘patriarchy’… Visit http://3percentconf.com/ to learn more about who perpetuates and yes, creates and approves this drek. As the old saying goes “the earth is a sphere, a sphere has no sides, therefore we are all on the same side.” I think that applies here, especially among those with daughters.

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