The Sandwich That Makes Men Cry

This commercial was released by fast-food restaurant Carl’s Jr. to promote their new Jalapeño Chicken Sandwich.  The ad portrayed sexist, stereotypical analysis of both men and women’s societal normative behaviors, as well as objectification of the female body in order to sell their product.

A white male is seen eating his sandwich as a solitary tear drops down his face, a result of the sandwich’s spiciness.  When his skinny, bikini-clad girlfriend begins to chastise him for only wanting to “watch the game,” she notices that he is crying and her face immediately twists into a look of disgust before letting him off the hook.

This ad is overflowing with harsh, gender specific stereotypes.  The woman’s positioning in the commercial allows for the man (and the audience) to shamelessly stare at her from behind as she leaves the patio, an illustration of John Berger’s notion that “woman is naked as the spectator sees her” therefore “turning herself into an object of vision- a sight.”  This uses a sexualized female body as an attention-grabbing method to sell an (unrelated?) burger, as well as enforcing the negative stereotype that women are “nags.”  The men watching this commercial are offered the perspective that it is sometimes okay for a man to cry, but only if they are eating this macho burger.

I believe that the woman’s fleeting look of disgust is a silent yet sharp reminder to the male audience that, as Bell Hooks points out, the “patriarchal macho image” is expected from all men, so they must constantly defend their masculinity.  This disappointing commercial rejects man’s natural right to show emotion, only allowing it if there is a manly reason or prize behind the tears, such as a spicy burger or a newly a compliant girlfriend.  It makes me wonder: how long will it be until masculinity itself is defined by no emotion at all?

Berger, John. “From Ways of Seeing.” Trans. Array The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader. New York: Routledge, 2003. 37-39. Print.

Hooks, Bell. “Seduced by Violence No More.” Outlaw Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994.


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