The future will be female — if not in Congress, than at least with shitty brands.
American women recently broke the glass ceiling in two areas our culture holds dear: corporate family dinner theater and discounted fried chicken. Last weekend, KFC announced that Reba McIntyre would become their first female Colonel Sanders, giving inspiration to little girls who’ve always dreamed of looking like a confederate monument. In December, Medieval Times introduced its first female queen to its dinner theater in Schaumburg, Illinois.
When it comes to female representation in 2018, American brands are miles ahead of our current political leadership. For feminist women and the Matt McGorrys of the world, that’s enough to sustain some kind of minimal, inchoate, nauseating hope.
There is no better metaphor for being a woman right now than wanting a female president and getting a female fast-food chicken mascot
— Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) January 27, 2018
Brace yourselves. The most qualified female presidential candidate in history may have lost to the least qualified man, but it’s never been a better time to be a *vomits as I write this* female brand ambassador. KFC and Medieval Times are just the tip of the corporate girl power iceberg. 2017 and 2018 brought us so many other female mascots and ambassadors, including:
1. The Baroness became the first female mascot for frozen pizza giant Red Baron. What say you, Stouffers?!?
2. In a stunning moment for the luxury watch world, Lady Gaga became the first female brand ambassador for Tudor watches.
3. Ashlynn Smith became the first female brand ambassador for Umbro, the gym shorts of choice for athletic ’90s kids.
4. The Marine Corps’ boot camp introduced its first female mascot, an English bulldog named Opha Mae.
5. Wonder Woman served as the United Nations’ first female comic book honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls, for a very brief and dumb moment in 2016.
6. In August 2017, Johnnie Walker, a whiskey brand, introduced the brand’s first ever female protagonist in a commercial omgomogmomgomgomgomgomg what a win.
7. A Japanese mountaineer became Uniqlo’s first female brand ambassador, paving the way forward for female leadership in the cotton boyshort community.
8. Kellogg’s temporarily replaced Froot Loop‘s Toucan Sam with a unicorn to make ‘Unicorn Loops.’ While they didn’t specify the unicorn’s gender, the horse is depicted with a traditionally feminine pastel palette — so this is either a female horse or a proud urban metrosexual.
It’s just the beginning, … just the beginning.
— Gramps (@GrandpaJerry0) January 16, 2018
There are other examples, of course, but they’re magically even more insipid than the ones listed above. And they all prove exactly the same point.
American culture — or at least its mediocre corporate brands — is sometimes able to move faster than our lethargic political system. It’s far more expeditious to appoint a female watch ambassador or convince Reba McIntyre to play Colonel Sanders because you don’t have to convince 323.1 million Americans to agree with you. You just have to talk to the dudes on the marketing team.
It’s also profoundly less meaningful. A female frozen pizza mascot is not a feminist pizza mascot (though some might argue that frozen pizza is an inherently feminist good because of the joy it brings to women worldwide). I’d like to wager that securing equal pay and paid family leave is far more important for women than achieving equal representation among factory-farmed fried chicken ambassadors.
Still, it’s something to hold onto, especially when our current political landscape offers so little in return. I highly doubt that KFC is dedicated to an intersectional Angela Davis-inspired feminist movement. I am far more confident that they have a few good intentions, mixed in with an healthy corporate appetite for viral marketing stunts. And you know what? I’ll take it.
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 26, 2018
If nothing else, brands like KFC and Medieval Times are acknowledging that female representation matters — if not in the political sphere, then at least in the fried chicken arena. Maybe that’ll translate into something more meaningful for their audiences. It’s possible some of these marketing stunts will make it a little bit easier, not harder, to help elect the over 500 women currently running for 2018.
Right guys? Right?
If a woman can be a queen in a medieval reenactment theater, it’s only a matter of time before she can be a president in the *real* American White House.
How long that’ll take is up to us, and the crappy brands somehow helping us along the way.