About-Face BlogAdvertisingGender InequalityOn The PulseSexualization

Macho = Misogynist in Carl’s Jr. Ad

By April 24, 2009 5 Comments

Yet another awful Carl’s Jr ad:

OK. Here’s what I learned from this advertisement:

1. Men like buffalo wings.
2. Men want to be cool and macho.
3. Eating Buffalo wings, ogling waitresses, and disrespecting your girlfriend are all a part of being cool and macho.

Wait. What?

I’m sorry Carl’s Jr., but I just don’t follow your logic. Since when does a high-calorie diet equal manliness? And why does Carl’s Jr. feel determined to align its product with misogynistic clichés?

Curious to learn how Carl’s Jr. interprets its own ad, I referenced the press release for this commercial. Here is the message consumers are meant to take away after viewing:

The 30-second spot…features a young, hungry guy enjoying Buffalo wings at his local sports bar. The wings are hot but the waitress is even hotter. The ad ends humorously when the guy is busted by his girlfriend for taking a little too much interest in the waitress.

There are 3 major messages in this article I find troublesome:

1. The clear oversexualization of the waitress. Everything from her risqué outfit to the way she flirts with Hungry Guy promotes the idea that she is a sexual object. Carl’s Jr. is effectively promoting their ideal attractive woman: a young blonde who will prance around seductively for strangers.

2. Hungry Guy’s lack of sensitivity and respect for his girlfriend. Even though he knows she will be upset, Hungry Guy cannot look away from the waitress because she is sexually attractive. Basically, the idea is that macho men are incapable of ignoring a seductive woman, even if they know their ogling may hurt their loved one.

3. The Them vs. Us mentality. By marketing their big, meaty sandwich to men, Carl’s Jr. promotes the idea that men with big appetites, the bad boys, and the kind of guys that make their girlfriends upset, will like this product. Of course, this is ridiculous, but young men watching this commercial may learn to think that when you’re a stud who likes big burgers, treating women as sexual objects is normal.

Hopefully, men and women will take a long second look at this commercial and see it for what it is. Eating a sandwich does not make you more of a man, but avoiding media manipulation and sensing the sexist attitudes behind everyday advertisements definitely does.

If you are fed up with Carl’s Jr. advertising please let them know by clicking here to send your comments directly to Carl’s Jr.


Nikki Roddy is a freelance writer based in San Francisco. After getting her start in magazine publishing in Southeast Asia in 2007, she returned to the United States, where she writes on culture, fashion, and music for various print and online publications, such as SOMA magazine and CountryMusicGoodness.com. In her off time, she enjoys making nachos, walking around the city, and watching live music performances.