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Burger King ad cannibalizes “I Am Woman”

lmarshalls Icon Posted by Lucinda Marshall

January 11th, 2007

You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Burger King for their “I Am Man” ad. It’s witty, it’s creative…oh, no. Wait. Actually, it’s a really Neanderthal satire that insults just about everybody. The ad rather literally cannibalizes the lyrics to Helen Reddy’s old feminist anthem, “I Am Woman” and turns them into a sales pitch geared at convincing men that Double Whoppers are the ultimate guy food. As Shrub points out, they really leave no ‘ism’ untouched–sexism, racism, you name it, they’ve got it.

From the first opening strains of “I Am Man”, the ad is dismissive of women. By swiping the tune, the first thing that I get from the ad is it’s dismissiveness of the progress women have made–something of a ‘oh you thought that was your song, well look, we’re going to steal it’ sort of an attitude where the women in the ad are either sporting plunging necklines or literally serving their lord and masters. If by any chance all this is too subtle for you, about mid-ad they deliver the same message a tad more blatantly with a scene showing a guy throwing underwear in a burning trash can.

As Shrub points out, meat has highly sexual connotations in our society,

“Meat already is tied to sexuality in our culture. Phrases like, “beating the/your/my meat,” are euphemisms for male masturbation. “Man meat” refers to a phallus.”

In reference to the men in the ad going on the prowl for meat, as Shrub explains,

“In the animal kingdom, this means hunting for food. For humans, however, it often means hunting for sex — most often used to describe men seeking out women. Already, here, burgers are linked with sex and conquest. Which puts burgers on the same level of women.”

But the truth is, this ad is even more insulting to men than it is to women. It portrays them as stupid studs who will do what it takes to prove their he-man nature, even if it is unhealthy and insulting to others. As Center of Gravitas puts it,

“Given the rate of heart disease among straight men, I would think they should also be angry about an ad that demands they keep up unhealthy eating practices in an attempt to demonstrate their manhood.”

Perhaps the ultimate irony is than in order to sell a product that is unhealthy to eat, BK had to produce an ad that is in poor taste.

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