Can someone please explain to me why Burger King is using Sir Mix-A-Lot's ode to ass to hawk 99-cents SpongeBob kids' meals to the babies? Please?! I mean, damn—I've written before about how I do what I can to keep the BET watching to a minimum; when the remote does slip and fall on the channel that seems to serve up all ass, all day (except on the Lawd's day, of course), I do my best to turn hyper-sexualized, misogynistic music and videos into teachable moments.
But how, exactly, do I escape the madness when women are popping their booties to a catchy burger beat while SpongeBob gets his boogie on in the background? Not in the middle of the night, but after school and during prime time, when my kids are watching? Oh, Mari and Lila get a good giggle when they catch this commercial on TV, which is way too often; they snicker and sniggle like they've just caught sight of something awfully naughty. Trust: My girls know there's something just plain wrong about a commercial that pairs their beloved SpongeBob with a blinged-out "king" waltzing across the TV, measuring women's behinds. And, er um, they're 6 and 9.
Really, Burger King? Nickelodeon? For real, for real? Were there any moms in the room when you all decided this was appropriate fare for children? Any daddies? Anyone who knows firsthand the devastation both fast food and misogynistic music have wreaked on American children in general, and brown babies in particular?
Now, I know there are a lot of other battles we need to focus our energy on—the economy is still in the toilet, Iran is testing missiles and jailing journalists, Afghanistan just passed a law saying that women have to wear make-up and have sex if their husbands demand it, and, have mercy, Octomom still has all 14 of her kids. But as a mom looking to raise healthy, smart, confident little girls who can be comfortable in the skin—and bodies—they're in without pimping them out for commercial purposes, I think I can take 10 minutes today to tell Burger King and Nickelodeon to get a clue.
The New Agenda, a non-partisan group for women's rights, is encouraging moms (and everyone else who actually cares about young minds and thinks the Burger King ad is a hot mess) to speak up and out until the commercials are pulled from the airwaves:
1) Write or call Burger King corporate headquarters. Tell them that unless women are not people, this commercial violates their Corporate Social Responsibility Mission Statement: Fundamental respect for all people, and our planet, guides our corporate conscience. Tell them you will not visit their restaurants until they withdraw the ad.
Burger King Corporation
5505 Blue Lagoon Dr.
Miami, FL 33126
Consumer Relations (305) 378-3535 Staffed M-F, 9am–5pm EST
Email Investor Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org
2) Write or call Nickelodeon, which bills itself as “the only network that puts kids first.” Tell them that to profit by teaching children to objectify women is wrong, and that you will purchase no more SpongeBob merchandise until the offensive ad stops running.
New York, NY 10036
3) Forward this action alert to a friend.
Don't have time to write a letter or make a call? Simply hop on over to the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and sign their online petition. It'll take two seconds. I'm going to sign mine with my kids when they get home from school today.
You might consider doing the same.