Double down, my ass.

So here is the news:

KFC is doubling down on its promo across college coeds’ backsides. The world’s largest chicken chain is putting yet more college women — at three more universities — into sweatpants with “Double Down” emblazoned across their rear ends.

I have so many mixed feelings about this, I don’t even know where to begin. First of all, if women want to be stupid enough to sell their ass as advertising space, who am I to judge? $500 is a nice sum just for walking around campus in sweat pants. I mean, is it much different than wearing a fuzzy pair of HWS sweats to class?

But this is rather bothersome:

Double Down is KFC’s new male-targeted sandwich that uses chicken patties as buns.

Are we really gendering food? This notion that there are female foods:

And male foods:

is rather limiting. Yet our gender ideologies manage to well enforce these ideas. Heaven forbid we head to a bar uptown and catch a Hobart Bro downing one of these:

So to use women to market to men a specific food aimed at their—pardon the pun—desires, makes sense. I mean, isn’t that what this means?

In college life, women are supposed to be highly sexed and men are supposed to be very hungry. Someone said: ‘Let’s put them together.’

we should ask the Dean of Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. Since he said it. I think he was being sarcastic. I think.

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18 thoughts on “Double down, my ass.

  1. Michael Rivera says:

    This is an interesting post, first time I am made aware of such KFC advertising. Needless to say, it’s safe to assume that paying these women $500 to wear sweats that say “double down” across their ass will make KFC a profit for more superior then $500, sadly enough. Reading this article made me question the marketing department for KFC, is this stunt a reflection on the marketing department’s moral standing or are they simply milking society for its ideologies? Either way I know, I know its wrong, but can we really blame them for going with along with society in order to make a profit? Secondly, should we question KFC for their advertising idea, or question the women who choose, (because this isn’t a forced decision); to wear this clothing that may or may not offend other women and men? Stepping away from the issue at hand and trying to see the big picture and an attempt to figure out exactly who is at fault here, there are to many people at fault. Where does one begin to make a change?

  2. Ashley Yang says:

    Moreover, you’ll note that “female foods” are almost always (with the exception of the alcoholic beverages) low-calorie, low-fat, or in some way supposed to benefit your physical image–trim down, reduce bloat, better your skin. And “male foods” are usually something dead on a plate. Hunter-gatherer, much?

  3. Erin Meehan says:

    As we are currently discussing gender construction in class I found this post to be very interesting. We as a society have engrained gender assignment into our daily lives to such an extent that even our food is determined as feminine or masculine. If I hear one more girl on this campus claim to hate beer and then Friday night around 11:15 pm be downing a solo cup filled with keystone… I may scream! Why do we continue to play into these roles, most of the time we do not even believe them. Why are foods such as salad, diet soda, fruit, cookies associated with women and steak, gatorade and potatoes man food. Do we not need all of these different nutrients to survive? My father growing up was strictly a beer and wine man but as he has gotten older he has begun experimenting with flavored vodka. Over the summer he was enjoying a drink at a family party only to bombarded by my Aunt who laughed at the fact that he was drinking raspberry Stoli vodka. I mean give the guy a break he is sixty years old and works almost seven days a week if he wants to have a stiff drink with a little flavor, why not? Even today in class we discussed finding humor when men or women step outside of the expected gender norms. Why is that funny? I admit to making jokes and laughing about people not conforming to their gender norms too, but why? Even worse when does this humor turn into fear or hate. From just a sly comment at BBQ to bullying so intense people are drawn to taking there own lives?
    The other first part of the post I found very interesting was KFC’s new advertising sweatpants. However, I am almost positive the school store has shorts and pants that read Hobart on the butt as well. Now I ask what are we promoting with this? The girls wearing them do not even go to Hobart. Once again we have women being used as a sexual tool to further a male institution. Maybe I am thinking too far into this, but it just seems a little odd. What is a double down anyway? I am not sure but for some reason it sounds sexual? Why any college girl would want that written across their fannie is beyond my understanding. Although $500 would buy you a lot of keystone!

  4. Katie Levenstein says:

    I love this post, especially since I like all the foods that you posted about, yet I am not both a man and a woman. I work at the Cellar Pub on campus and we make gendered jokes about food all the time. For example, when a long line girls come to the counter one employee will shout back to the cooks, “Get ready for a ton of salad orders!” And a similar thing happens when the guys line up.” We say, “Prepare the grill for a bunch of burger order!” As a cashier I must admit that I mentally judge people. When a girl orders a burger and fries I think, “Good for you! Your skinny figure could use some meat.” And when a guy gets a salad I think, “Mmm, I like your taste.” I hate that I often think this way, but food is an institution in itself that has been meddled with in several different mediums. For example, female magazines speech highly of a low-calorie diet for women that includes flavorless chicken and salads. Steak is the man’s food and very high in fat so women should avoid that. Come on, this seems a bit unfair to me. I love steak! Especially with potatoes and green beans yum. But if I want to maintain my feminine image I should probably just stick to a salad.

    I like Mike’s comment about making change. He’s right, there are so many factors to blame for such gendered commercials and ideologies about food intake. Where can this change? Should we place women in burger commercials? Should we put men in diet commercials that are centered around light foods? I think our institutions of femininity and masculinity may get off balance. Heaven forbid a man wants a salad- he may seem to effeminate with some nice greens on his place.

    Food is great. There are so many varieties and so many minutes in a day for consumption of it! Why do we need to gender another thing in society? We already have some many other things that are gendered, such as clothes, TV, music, cars, toys, even academic classes! What the heck. Can’t we leave just one thing out of the picture?

  5. oliviacarb says:

    In regards to the girls wearing the sweatpants with “double down” on their “buns” i must say it’s quite a clever marketing strategy… but it’s so early 2000s. when i was in middle school i was most certainly “that girl” with the “cheer!’ and the “dancer!” and the “juicy!” banners stamped on my ass… thank god i got too large for those sweatpants.

    and it makes me think about the “body as commodity,” objectifying women in order to sell something – be it sex or a fried chicken sandwich. it’s an issue that will forever plague marketing departments because it simply makes them money. sex sells and it will continue to sell especially when marketing products to men who are so distracted by the the tight ass and big tits they’ll most certainly make the purchase. while we use sexy broads to sell beer, condoms, even steak, lets that a look at how we’re marketing products to women… “it will make you beautiful” “you will be slimmer” “it’s healthy!” “a whole new you!” “lose 2 dress sizes in 2 weeks!” “it will make you feel better about yourself!” Ahh… targeting our self-esteem and sought after desires of being beautiful and sexually appealing so that, perhaps, maybe, after purchasing “whipped yogurt” or the ablounge that will “whip your torso into shape” (because we associate “whipped” with “light” … i’m convinced that shit is still bad for you we too since its dairy and sugar) will be selling fried chicken pattys to hungry men.

    word associations are important too when looking at marketing strategies… take for example, dove shampoo, or any shampoo company for that matter like suave and american crew… since when do we need to GENDER our SHAMPOO. its fucking SOAP it all does the same shit regardless of whether my hair is fine, thick, curly, straight, long, short, nonexistent, etc etc… do men and women really need their own shampoo market? ahh yes, the “girl” shampoo is fragrant and floral and fruity while the “boy” shampoo is… “musky” and “woodsy.” not only does gendering food and toiletries further reinforce gender norms, but it allows for these companies to profit off of their blatant disregard to the utter ridiculousness of the need to create new products targeted solely for men or women. my brother purchased an stick of old spice deodorant and it was described as smelling like “ICE, WIND, & FREEDOM!” now that shit smelled good, but is a girl supposed to smell like ice, wind, and freedom.. all rather aggressive “forces of nature!” apparently not.. my pits are supposed to smell like elderflower and pomegrantes… because as a girl, obviously i prefer the smell of “freshness!” over “FREEDOM!”

  6. Like Michael, this is the first time I’m seeing this sexist KFC advertising. The KFC marketing coordinators are taking advantage of what they know sells (and giving their young male demographic/target audience what it wants)—sex and food.

    Looking at this through a feminist lens, there are two main conclusions. One could make the argument this is degradation, sexism, and inequality at its finest (which I agree with). However, perhaps in some distorted world, these women feel independent, free, and liberated by donning this clothing.

    Is there anything in our society today that isn’t gendered? I mean, even look at our food. The “feminine” food packaging will typically have a girly (preferably pink) label. And you know the calories will be clearly marked. But then we have “masculine” food, like those Hungry-man frozen dinners.

    Check this link out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxvXz1OylWQ
    I saw this commercial on TV the other night. These boys aren’t toddlers, but from a relatively young age, they are taught how to eat, what to eat, and the ideal nicknames in the eyes of the male community. If a girl were addressed as “Jane Two Stomachs” what would the reaction be?

  7. Amaury Ramirez says:

    Can we blame KFC for having a brilliant advertising idea?

    By having women wear sweat pants with a KFC logo on the rear is a brilliant way to advertise, especially on a college campus. In a college campus, everyone is always looking for somewhere different to eat. Therefore, giving these girls who aren’t doing much but using pants are making some money and KFC is also making money because the advertising is bound to work.

    Now about food being gendered, YES, it is so true and it just happened right before I am writing this post.

    I ordered cheesy bread because I was hungry, but when I asked a friend of mine if she wanted some, she responded by saying she needed to watch her figure. I laughed and sunk my teeth into the cheesy bread. I enjoyed it by the way. Any who, because of how women are “supposed” to look, certain foods are not for woman. The same way goes for men since they are suppose to be big and strong. Society has created certain mentalities about how people are suppose to look and so the marketing people in food companies target who they think they can appeal their project for.

    By putting the logo on a woman’s ass, it will put KFC in the minds of men and women and when they get hungry, they are more likely to order KFC. Therefore doing exactly what it was set to do.

  8. Allison says:

    We are a society that has made such strong gender stereotypes regarding food. If you turn on the television to watch “Regis and Kelly” or “Oprah”, the food advertisements that occur during these shows are often for low-fat yogurts, juices, and various light items that marketers think women like. If you turn on a football game or a basketball game, the commercials are often for beer, burgers, etc. Obviously, the advertisers are trying to cater to a certain audience that they believe is watching the various programs, but why these specific items? Why is yogurt considered a feminine food, and a burger is not? I would much rather go eat a cheeseburger for dinner than a yogurt.

    The other posts discuss how our society objectifies women in order to sell a product. We see this all the time, and it has become so common that we often fail to acknowledge it. In high school I took a media course and our teacher showed us a large amount of ads that objectified woman’s bodies. One advertisement showed a beer bottle, but it was in the shape of a woman’s body and the slogan had something to do with men wanting to drink it because it was perfect. Jean Kilbourne covers a lot of this in her documentaries. It is shocking to see how far some companies will go to sell a product.
    Regarding the KFC advertising, I agree with Michael’s point. While it is morally wrong, KFC’s main goal is to make a profit, and they know this is going to sell. The dilemma is that while these girl’s are willingly wearing these sweatpants, other women find this incredibly offensive. Where do we start to create change? And how do we differentiate between what is right and wrong?

  9. Michele says:

    Yanli Guo:

    Double Down is KFC’s new male-targeted sandwich that uses chicken patties as buns. Do women’s butts and buns have anything in common? Both words are starting with the letter B and they rhyme, but they have totally different meanings in my dictionary. Will a $500 paycheck be enough for you to wear sweatpants with the words “double down” across your butts? Five hundred dollars is really not a lot of money in today’s world (a fancy dinner for two could easily cost a few hundred bucks in NYC). I believe that KFC executives are clearly taking advantage of the fact that most college students are strapped for cash and would not turn down this easy offer. By the way they’re promoting their products; KFC is essentially using women and their butts as marketing tools, encouraging males to consume the items. Why don’t they hire guys to wear the same uniforms across their butts? Personally, I think the sweatpants look fine to me, I have seen girls wearing a lot less in many public places. It’s the position of the imprints that’s really bothering me, it has nothing to do with the design. Our dignities are worth much more than that sum. Overall, the advertisement could be a big hit and might generate great popularity, but our “moral” should definitely play a huge part before making any decisions. We already have lots of R-rating movies; we don’t need a rated R food chain.

  10. Katharina Luther says:

    I have to agree that the similar phonetic quality of the words “butts” and “buns” is quite striking. I hope that this similarity was one of the main reasons for placing the word “bun” on someone’s “butt”, otherwise I would need to stop believing in human intelligence. Though, with this pretty bold advertisement underlined by a superb comment by Chris Muller, Boston University hospitality school dean, I may have a reason to stop believing in such a thing.

    Encouraged by this striking advertisement, let us then all start to believe in natural sexual notions and instincts again, overpowering our notion to reason. Men love butts, as has so many hip-hop and pop music videos have been proven to us for so long. Men love butts and men love meaty, hearty foods (talking about gendering food). Why do we then blame KFC, a major food-cooperation with apparently no ethical conscience, to use this connection? It is not their fault that men love female butts and meat. “In college life, women are supposed to be highly sexed and men are supposed to be very hungry. Someone said: ‘Let’s put them together’ “(Muller).

    I think that we have to criticize KFC’s move here. They are not just gendering food, and reducing women’s qualities to a highly sexualized rounded posterior portion of a human’s body, but they are also being highly sexist concerning men. Reducing them to hungry, dumb, instinctual creatures, who like their meat … wherever it may be placed.

  11. Becky says:

    It’s so weird to me how even food can be extremely gender coded. I see the same thing Katie said about what people order at the pub. The girls I go with almost always get salads but if they were to order a sandwich they would ask for a side salad and not fries. When I go with men to the pub no one tends to order salads. If, however, a male friend were to order a salad I really don’t think I would notice or make a point to say something about it.
    But, at the same time, if my brother were to take a non-fat yogurt out of the refrigerator I would seriously be so weirded out. And this is not to say that men and women necessarily have different metabolisms but the guys in my life seem to be able to eat anything they want and not gain a pound whereas women I know are always in a constant battle with weight. I know that men also deal with those same weight issues, i just have not seen that with male friends in my life. The way we advertise foods is a major reason they are so genderized. When we see commercials for yogurt, u never see men, only women who are slender and talking about how good the yogurt is and how low cal or low fat it is. But then you get a hungry man frozen meal commercial and its extremely beefy men who are watching a sports game with hyped up music playing . When in reality we know that the men eating those meals are probably not fit and not as active as the men portrayed in the commercials. Who knows what the messages are in those type of commercials.
    When we see the women on college campuses advertising on their butts its not really shocking because we know men look at women and sometimes their butts. So why not advertise there? I know it seems so inappropriate but if the girl wants to do it so what?

  12. Marcela Melara says:

    When I first saw this KFC commercial, all I thought about was about how unhealthy it would be to eat so much fried (or grilled, but that that really have less fat coming from KFC?) chicken without any kind of vegetable in it; I’m not saying that because I prefer salads, I really like chicken a lot, but because fast food chains continue promoting unhealthy food. And as they target men with this sandwich because they assume women would never take it because it is greasy and unhealthy. Watching your diet is not an unmanly thing to do! It’s something we all should be doing…

    Anyway, that’s my rant about the health issues with this sandwich. What I want to really address is how we don’t really have to go far at all to see food gendering. It happens right here at HWS, too.
    I remember speaking to some of my Hobart friends last semester that went to the Charter Day dinner. One of the first things they mentioned was that they had been given steak for dinner. I’ve been to several WS dinners, and during the 3 years I’ve been here, we have NEVER gotten steak for dinner (I’m sure those of you who have been to a WS dinner will agree with me). WS always serves pasta with vegetables, or chicken with rice. You know, female foods… Except for vegetarians, women can absolutely like steak. Why would HWS make the assumption that steak isn’t for women? HWS is about inclusiveness and all, but I have to say that in this case they are supporting a constructed social norm that dictates women’s behavoir, and we all know that gender construction is limiting and discriminatory.

    As for the women wearing the pants that say “double-down” on the butt, I have to agree with some of the other people that have responded to this blog. There is always the problem that women’s sexuality is used as a means to advertise to men, which is wrong on so many levels, but that’s a whole other discussion. However, I also have to agree that it is the women’s choice to wear the double-down pants, so can we really only blame KFC for enforcing gender construction?

  13. Kyle Tritten says:

    This is the first time i have been made aware of this advertising by KFC. I will admit it is very cleaver. I mean for a college girl to make $500 by just walking around in the sweatpants i feel isn’t a bad deal and if i were a girl i would do it. But it is cleaver to put the advertising on the ass of the girl. They know what the male is going to look at the most on a college campus. Is it wrong i suppose so, but it is up to the woman to accept the money and the deal. Of course advertizers are going to advertize to certain genders. They don’t want to waste their money advertizing to the wrong people, it would be a waste. Is the advertizing methods wrong, yes they are but props out to those advertizers. I feel people are responsible or have someone responsible to make a smart choice on what they want to or don’t want to put in their bodies. So ultimately it is up the consumers to decide how to look at the food or if they want it.

  14. I find this crazy haha I never thought a company would think of this idea. I’m sure it worked i would like to see statistics of this to see if it worked but going to the gendered food I totally think that companies base food for different genders and try and make that gender specifically buy that food. And once again in sure it works companies keep coming up with ways to get people to buy things.

  15. bayres5 says:

    Although having women walk around in short shorts giving sandwiches to men for 500 dollars is kinda pathetic, one must admit that it is a good idea for the company. However, even though this is a different method, this is not the first time that food companies, fast food in particular, have used sex to sell. I remember a couple years back, Paris Hilton was in a Burger King commercial where she poured water all over herself while washing a car for 45 seconds, then in the last 15 seconds she just happened to have a Spicy BBQ nBurger at hand to eat, while sitting on the car. This honestly may have been the stupidest and worst commercial i have ever seen in my life…how ever to many men, it was very entertaining. Also another one of these very meaningful food commercials was for a new type of pizza at Pizza Hut. This one has Jessica Simpson walk out with high boots on singing a song about cheesy bite pizza. Another terribly stupid commercial but sex sells, especially for food. However what i dont understand is the genderizing of many foods. Making a food for a particular gender is a little off to me. Everyone eats the same foods and everyone needs the same nutrition, why all of a sudden do women get different foods then men and vis versa. Especially for fast food where all of it is the same crap. Oh well i dont understand it sometimes.

  16. dana Nachbar says:

    I am appalled that the industry has created food products that are either made for male or females. Products should pertain to both genders and all ages. There are so many men out there who love yogurt just as much as women, so why bother creating a yogurt that has female traits. For example, the Yoplait Whips yogurt is in a thin, purple, yogurt cup with cursive writing on the outside. By using female characteristics for the design of the cup, the company is only drawing in female consumers and very few men. It’s hard enough for men to even buy yogurt in the first place because it is stereotyped as being a female food, but the fact that companies accept and avoid the fact that not many men buy yogurt, why bother creating such a female label for the product. There needs to be an end to stereotyping what is socially acceptable for men and women to eat. Personally, I love steak, and if people start stereotyping steak as only a food for men, than I will be pissed. I want to be able to enjoy the same food men can enjoy. We’re all human and therefore should all be treated equally. This post made come to realization that there are so many products on the market that only pertain to certain genders and ages. I like how it mentions the two examples of yogurt and steak. Those are very typical gender specified foods. In some way this post made me angry with the market to a point where I don’t want to purchase gender specified foods, I rather buy foods that are created equally for both genders

  17. Jacqueline Murphy says:

    KFC is smart for having thought of the idea to place an advertisement on the back of female sweatpants. It is a fantastic idea to place a logo on the back of female sweatpants because girls wear sweatpants and getting paid to wear sweatpants around all day doesn’t sound like a bad idea. It is sexist in that women are having their butt stared at all day. These marketing coordinators are using what they know to get as much business as possible. Sex sells and that is what these marketing coordinators are using to propel the sale of their chicken. When it comes to feminism these sweatpants degrade women and creates sexism. It is not fair because women are asked to do it while men are not encouraged to wear it. Everything in our society is gendered and it makes the world go round. As wrong as it may seem to have women wear advertisements on their butts makes it so KFC can make more money and do better economically. This is especially a good idea on a college campus. Girls are wearing these sweatpants and marketing for KFC but in reality how many of these girls are actually eating these chicken sandwiches? I know I have never eaten KFC nor do I want to. Now it is not about watching my figure or anything like that it is more about just not wanting to eat junk food or crappy food that will make me feel disgusting. I will eat unhealthy but I just choose things that I actually like to eat.

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