Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An Issue with Chicken (Again!?!)

No Girls Allowed by dr. coop via flickr

In the last couple of weeks, I've been noticing that I am experiencing rampant sexism at my local fast food lunch restaurants. Not just one, mind you, but in multiple establishments! I'll start by saying that this seems to occur most notably at restaurants where I start out by telling one person what I want and then my food is pushed down an assembly line of people building my meal. I suppose it makes sense that it would happen in a situation where I am dealing with at least five different people...

The first instance, which actually happens pretty much every week, occurred at Roti, my favorite Mediterranean place. Every week, I get in line and ask for the Sultan Pita with steak. It is delicious. Spicy and oh, so good. In fact, after writing that sentence, I now know where I will be heading for lunch today. Anyway, wiping my chin and moving on...AND every week, without fail, the last person in line automatically marks my wrapped sandwich with the sticker denoting chicken. WHAT? Just because I'm female I obviously opt for chicken?

Usually I just shrug and go on with my life, relegating this to just a funny story, but yesterday two things happened that made this funny story niggle at me and turn into something more substantial. I went to Chipotle where I literally had to resort to miming eating a burrito in order to finally convince the worker that no, I did not want a salad bowl, I wanted (an apparently manly) burrito. As I moved down the line, every new person had to be reintroduced to the fact that yes, it was me who had ordered the burrito, not the guy in front of me, not the guy behind me, no, it was mine, little ole female me.

When I finally finished the burrito gauntlet and made it to my car, the radio came on with that new Wendy's commercial. There are a couple, I think, but the one I'm talking about has the guy talking about "manly" things like "chainsaws" and "monster trucks," and then the cute redhead comes on and suggests he have a baconator sandwich which will assuage his inner man.

I sat there telling myself that I really should not be offended by a commercial. But I was anyway. The Dr. Pepper commercial last year that said it was "for men only" didn't bother me at all. It was ridiculous and clearly they were trying to get media attention. The sexism was so blatant that people were obviously aware of it. However, the sexism in the Wendy's commercial is more subtle and happens much more often. 

I can eat whatever I want, and I really don't like people assuming that because I'm female, I'm going to want a chicken instead of steak or lettuce instead of a burrito. And sure, I'll let it go; it is after all, just a commercial, but I just want to point out that it's not okay. There should not be an assumed FOR MEN ONLY food or sport or color. Blue is not just for boys and not every girl should be saddled automatically with pink. Why are these assumptions so rampant in the US?

I don't know, but I really feel that it's these expectations of how we should be that lead to people being less accepting of those who have different interests, values, religions, and sexual attractions.


  1. I agree, that is crap. Of course, in this United States and in this political climate, men seem to know what is best for women's bodies, so why not also dictate what women can/should eat? Makes sense to me.

  2. I don't even like salad bowls at Chipotle.