Do I love square butts?

10 04 2009

Okay, so I’ll admit that I absolutely love Spongebob and I am a huuuuuge fan. So when I initially saw this commercial I thought it was quite hilarious:

But it’s really just another way of using humor to normalize sexism and the hypersexualization and objectification of women. When you see this, you’re supposed to just laugh it off and be like oh, it’s just Spongebob, nothing serious. And that is exactly its power – that it disguises itself as just a cute and innocent laugh.

Also notice the prominent yellow 99 sponge-like thing in the back which is supposed to advertise Burger King’s cheap food. It is obvious that this commercial is targeting lower-income people of color. Poor people of color tend to eat fast food the most because it is cheap and quick. They do not have access to nutritionists or the income to buy their groceries at Whole Foods. Here again we see that food and access to healthy, nutritious food is clearly a class issue. And because class is so closely tied to race, it is also a race issue.

Using Spongebob to market Burger King is also supposed to mostly appeal to children who watch Spongebob, and it’s not surprising or novel to have a hypersexualized commercial that commodifies female bodies geared towards children. And is the immense amount of female booty shaking really necessary?

Besides, the Burger King guy dancing is just plain creepy. Especially when he just goes up to one of the dancing women and measures her butt. This also demonstrates how men feel like they are entitled to female bodies and the idea that a woman’s body/sexuality isn’t hers to own but instead is up for grabs.


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3 responses

10 04 2009
j-p

I definitely agree on the continued obectification of women in this commercial. Just not appropriate in the least – especially when you point out that the hyper sexualization is present in a commercial that has a children’s tv star as a point of attraction.

I do want to bring up, though, by your rationale, any fast food chain that advertises its dollar menu is targeting “poor people of color.” This seems like a rather limited market for large corporations to foucs on. I could be wrong on that though.

Also, I would encourage you to be careful with statements such as “Poor people of color tend to eat fast food the most because it is cheap and quick.” That is a generalization that can be very damaging, especially to those organizing programs in the world that try to solve the problems of food deserts in our communities. The most common reason for refusals to put farmers markets in low-income neighborhoods is that poor people (of color or not) do not like “health food” because they are eating at McDonalds all the time. By creating a reason as to why “poor people” are eating at fast food locales (beause it is “cheap and quick”), one can create the expectation that all poor people like cheap and quick food. That is simply not the case.

And yes, I do realize that the poor cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods, but there are other options to purchase natural food. It is simply that these other options are made very difficult to come by for people living in low income communities.

10 04 2009
angryblkfeminist

I do want to bring up, though, by your rationale, any fast food chain that advertises its dollar menu is targeting “poor people of color.” This seems like a rather limited market for large corporations to foucs on. I could be wrong on that though.
Actually, it’s pretty well-known now that fast food chains have been targeting coloured people of lower incomes. Notice that fast food chains are much more likely to have a commercial with minorities in and and McDonald’s slogan that was changed to “i’m lovin’ it,” which is supposed to be more relate-able to them. They contribute enough to the industry that poor people (many of whom who are of colour) are targeted as the main demographic.

And yes, I do realize that the poor cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods, but there are other options to purchase natural food. It is simply that these other options are made very difficult to come by for people living in low income communities.

There actually really aren’t options. Oftentimes when you have a strick budget it is just soooo much more affordable no matter what to buy perishable, unhealthy foods. If I had to worry about feeding my family for as long as possible, I would not be buying fresh foods that are perishable. It’s not a matter of liking (though I’m sure over time they would acquire a preference for the junk food – it is quite addicting), but a matter of not having a choice.

17 04 2009
Jason

…You know, I have issues with people saying that poor people at all will be eating fast food because it’s “cheap and quick”.
Uh. Not really. Quick, sure, but not cheap. I don’t know, maybe I’m just that far below the poverty line, but it seems kinda stupid to me to spend 99p (or 99 cents, whatever) on ONE meal when that could buy you the ingredients for sandwhiches. Which is, of course, lunch for several days, depending on how careful you are with how much you use.
I’m poor. I hate saying it, but there it is. I am. And frankly, eating fast food is actually OUT of my budget, considering the above- that one fast food meal could get me a decent amount of food. And it’s a lot healthier.

As for the video- I found the whole thing terrifying. I mean, if it’s meant to be aimed at CHILDREN, that is just whoa-too-sexual. And the music could stand to be binned too.
I actually thought it was a parody video at first; then I thought it was aimed at teens (don’t ask me why, but Spongebob’s actually turned into a mid/late-teen craze here.) But if that’s really aimed at kids- just- eurgh.

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