#CutTheCarls: Utah sisters campaign against Carl's Jr.

Wednesday , September 03, 2014 - 12:07 PM

Standard-Examiner staff

Twin sisters Lexie and Lindsay Kite of Beauty Redefined, a non-profit organization in Salt Lake City are striving to change the way women are viewed in media by launching a social media campaign targeting Carl’s Jr. for their long-running line of TV commercials showcasing bikini-wearing women seductively eating their burgers, according to the Associated Press

“Sexual objectification (i.e. Carl’s Jr. commercials) is the process of representing or treating a person like an object that exists to serve another’s sexual pleasure,” says a blog post on Beauty Redefined’s site. “All hours of the day on mainstream TV, Carl’s Jr. among many others sells the common and dangerous lie that women are valuable for how sexy they appear to others.”

The sisters brought in Lexie’s husband Travis to “talk man to man” and bring a man’s perspective on Carl’s Jr.’s racy ads.

 “They [Carl’s Jr.] took what all the other advertisers had done, then they went a little further, and then they deep fried it,” Travis says in the post. “And it makes me sick. And if it doesn’t make you sick, then you should probably turn off your internet machine, think really hard about how numb you are to stuff that is doing a lot of harm, and just have a conversation with a real woman. And just maybe think for one second about what it means for women to turn on the TV and see basically every woman stripped down to sell you things.”

The social media campaign includes a challenge to repost Beauty Redefined’s picture of Travis or a similar one of your own asking others to “Cut the Carl’s” by using hashtags #CutTheCarls and #MoreThanMeat. The hashtag #CutTheCarls was started by Ryan Hawks while Beauty Redefined was writing up their campaign and they decided to keep it going. 

“You are destroying everything that a woman should be 30 seconds at a time … almost as if you’re administering mental poison by degrees, and you’re taking the young people with you,” said blogger Greg Trimble in a viral blog post, voicing his own opinions on Carl’s Jr.’s advertising technique of choice. 

CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the restaurant chain’s parent company, says the women in their award-winning ads are “intelligent, talented and beautiful professional actresses and models,” and that they respect women and all their contributions to society, according to the AP. 

"They are just pushing the boundaries, and they are doing it blatantly," Lexie Kite, 28, told the AP. "They are only getting more and more sexually objectifying. We know as well as anybody how much harm this does to men, to boys, to girls, to women, to relationships. It’s time to speak up."

And hundreds of women and men are doing just that.

Sarah Meredith of Provo decided to take the challenge one step further by challenging her male (and female) friends to choose at least three women and tell them why they are beautiful. She is also challenging the women who receive these compliments to accept them.

In a 2011 Carl’s Jr. press release after the launch of a new campaign, the company said “we believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.”

Along with the challenge, Beauty Redefined is encouraging people to boycott Carl’s Jr. altogether. Associated Press writer Brady McCombs contributed to this report.

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