I am glad I didn't blog about this last night because I would have been more emotional last night and maybe made a mountain out of a molehill.
Anyway, the new commercial features a cute little girl asking a cute little boy if she culd be his girlfriend. The boy gets indignant, saying something like girls are so demanding, they want this and that. The girl frowns and says she actually only wanted some fries. The idea was, the fries are very affordable and it's so easy to please the girl, I think.
Still, the commercial has many parents frowning, because of the suggestion of a boy-girl relationship when the kids aren't even in big schools yet. Harmless? Not to parents of kids with broken hearts. Not to kids with surreal expectations of themselves or others. And definitely not harmless when kids hit puberty and start dating, given, not just the emotional issues from boy-girl relationships, but also the social issues of unplanned pregnancies and STDs.
What gets my goat though is that it feels to me as perpetrating the sterotype that:
1) boys/men have to be wary of girls/women because they will ask/demand things of them, use them, exploit them, etc.
2) girls/women will dangle relationships in exhange for goods. For material things. For their whims to be satisfied.
3) boys have to provide for a girl.
Why can't McDonalds come up with commercials like:
1) The cute little girl/boy falls and mildly scrapes a knee. The cute little boy/girl sees, helps clean it with a tissue, gets a sundae to cool the scrape (by placing the cup on the wound) and they then share the sundae (after all, it's summer). At least it will send a message that when you get hurt, you fall back up, and you'd get by with a little help from friends. Plus, sundaes and summer go together.
2) Cute little girl and cute little boy are being asked to play together by their parents. They have thought bubbles, "But he's a boy/she's a girl." But then they play soccer together, bake/play together, etc. then have McDonalds after, as equals.
3) Cute little girl and boy decides they want fries. They don't have money. They go over their stuff and consult with parents what they can sell then they have a garage sale of it, where other kids buy their stuff. Or, they offer to do extra chores for money. Then, they use their money to finance the fries.
McDonalds has given us great commercials but lately, I think there's less critiquing on their parts... or less budget for the ad agency they hire.
I heard an expert say before that they count one complaint/feedback as ten (whether in commercials or other consumer goods), because people are not likely to really contact them when they have complaints. Let's write them and share our thoughts, anyway, so we can effect the change we like to see in this world.
Golden Arches Development Corporation
17th Floor Citibank Centre, Paseo De Roxas Avenue, Makati City
Telephone No.: (632) 888-8500
I guess we can also comment on the Youtube links of the said commercial (which I won't share here since I really do not want to promote this commercial).
The commercial can be a teachable moment too. Parents can remind their kids to not look outside of themselves or their family for gratification, for their needs or wants to be met. Especially if it's just fries!
Once upon a time, a gag by Will Ferrell and friends made the internet round. They got this cute little girl to pretend anger, and they edited it to make the girl seem like she was saying 'sh!t' many times.
I found it funny. At that time.
It took a childless friend to make me realize how wrong it was to even find it funny. The dignity of the child was at stake because, though it was only edited, adults she trusts put filth in her mouth.
Maybe that's the same reason why I felt so strongly about this commercial. I don't have a girl. I may never have a girl. But that doesn't mean I won't forever ache for one, and that I won't forever fight for a world where they need not sell themselves short.
We are not fast food fans and we don't watch that much TV. I can't say the same for other families though. Plus, it's easy to just laugh such things off... same way that it's easy to laugh it off when your little girl twists her shirt up to expose her belly button, puts makeup on, and struts her stuff at age 4. However, it's no laughing matter already when she does the same at age 14. And definitely ludicrous when she still does it at age 44.
It's easy to laugh it off when a little girl worms her way out of chores by being sweet... or tries to get treats by being sweet. It's not funny anymore when she grows up thinking that's the way to go about in this world.
I am a Mom of sons. I'd equally hate for them to deal with such girls when they're all grown... or to go about in this world thinking that they can buy a woman's affections.
It's a tragedy. We can stop it.