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Ron Kaplan, Freelance Writer
Tuesday, 4 April 2006
How many feminist vegetarians does it take to screw up a joke?
Topic: Media
   An item in the Union County section of the April 2 Newark Star-Ledger reports on a presentation at a local college on the evils of objectifying women as evidenced by a Burger King commercial featuring The Whopperettes.
   Said commercial -- a Busby Berkley-type extravaganza featuring women dressed like the components of one of the fast food franchise's signature burgers (lettuce, tomato, pickle, etc.) -- evidently raised the hackles of the vegetarian and/or feminist communities.
   Carol Adams, author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, guest speaker at the event, complained that "Women are fragmented into butchered animals in the media. The double entendres, the puns, the visual substitution -- it all makes animals female and consumable."
   The following is excerpted from To read the entire essay, click here:

While the ad features women doing a musical number, the women are not
overtly sexualized (although one of them is swimsuit model Brooke Burke) [RK: The hussy! As if her appearance alone pushes it into the realm of soft-core porn.] and the ad initially has a gender-neutral and somewhat satirical "it's an extravaganza!" feel. The women, after all, are dressed up in ridiculous outfits representing the many ingredients in a Whopper.

But as the ad continues, its message becomes disturbingly clear [RK: emphasis mine] -- and it's nothing new: women are to be consumed by men. [RK: Would it have made them feel better if the roles of the ingredients had been played by men? Or would that have enraged the anti-gay crowd?] These women are objectified -? and even worse, dehumanized and de-animatized [RK: ?]-- but they are able to do something that most sex objects are unable to do without forsaking the illusion that they are simply passive vessels for man's pleasure: They speak.

"We're always willing," they say up front. A few lines later they continue: "Yes, we're tasty and eye-popping/we don't blame your jaw for dropping." The jaw, in this case, is simultaneously dropping to gawk and eat -- to watch and to consume. The movement toward consumption becomes explicit near the end of the ad as the women, by limply flopping and folding into each other, form a burger.

By deftly combining these complementary desires -- to both look at and physically have women -- this ad is, in a way, revolutionary. "Have it your way!" indeed.

....Do we really have a chance?

   Sorry, I'm not buying the arguemnt (or the Whopper, for that matter, just for aesthetic reason). Like the blue noses who are looking for satanic messages by playing records backwards or looking for sexually explicit images in ice cubes, it seems some people are just way too sentitive. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
   Would these anti-Whopperettes be happier if men had played the "roles?"

Have a nice day.
What do you mean by THAT!?!"

Posted by ronkaplannj at 6:11 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006 6:30 PM EDT
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