Sexy women, juicy burgers, and testosterone seem to be what’s driving the modern day food advertisement industry. As Carrie Packwood Freeman and Debra Merskin wrote in “Having It His Way”:
In The Sexual Politics of Meat, Adams promotes an ecofeminist-vegetarian theory, asserting that ‘women and animals are similarly positioned in a patriarchal world, as objects rather than subjects.’
Women are the object in fast food advertisements, rarely allowed to be their own person, with few exceptions. It is now expected to see women sexualized in fast food advertisements, and is normal to society.
In the ads for the biggest fast food restaurant chains, women are depicted as merely something that gives men pleasure, with the exception being Wendy’s. In most of Wendy’s recent ads, Wendy is shown as the spokesperson for the company, encouraging other women and men to come eat at Wendy’s because it is freshly made and they care about the quality of their food. However, even Wendy’s is guilty of portraying women in a sexier way, as the Wendy’s girl is just the “hot” version of the actual Wendy. It is more appealing to the males to have a skinny, hot, red head do the Wendy’s commercials than to have the real Wendy. Sex sells, so restaurants cater to that ideal.
While it is unlikely that the intentions of the fast food restaurants are to dehumanize females and portray them as nothing but objects to be used, that is what comes across to both the male and female viewers of the advertisement. These ads give males the sense of entitlement over women and their bodies, and it tells the men viewing that if they eat the company’s manly, meaty burger they will become more attractive to these female sex symbols.
This is not only a problem for the demographics that the advertisements pander to; children are exposed to the sexism in advertisements as well. The children then grow up, with the females believing that being objectified is normal and that it is expected from them, and the males learn to expect women to give them pleasure because they act manly- just like in the commercials.
[Adams] analysis shows how animals are feminized and women are animalized and both are often sexualized, to their ultimate detriment.
Neither animals nor women are safe when it comes to being portrayed in fast food ads, as Adams notes. Despite sexist commercials and ads, all the big fast food corporations want is money, and to get that money, they have to pander to their largest demographic and play off of the stereotypical wants of that demographic. It is all a gimmick to earn money, a cruel gimmick that happens to work very well.