‘Try again’: McDonald’s women’s day stunt criticized as hollow gesture

McDonald’s has flipped its golden arches to become a W, “in celebration of women everywhere, and for the first time in our brand history” – to which many have responded, “try again”.

For its own commemoration of International Women’s Day, McDonald’s overturned its logo on Twitter, Instagram and its other digital channels; supplied 100 restaurants in the US with special branded garb; and – at one franchise in California – went so far as to install a new sign.

Muhammad Haris Tufail (@mhtufail_)

A @McDonalds in Lynwood, California has flipped its arches upside down in honour of #InternationalWomensDay on March 8th..!! 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/BTQfDq4Ipq

March 8, 2018

McDonald’s global chief diversity officer, Wendy Lewis, said in a statement to Business Insider that the stunt was “in honour of the extraordinary accomplishments of women everywhere, and especially in our restaurants”.

But her vow that the company was “committed to their success” was called into question by social media users who called on McDonald’s to pay its employees a living wage.

bogwolf (@truebe)

McDonalds: In celebration of women we are flipping the arches upside down.

Or you could give your employees better benefits.

McD: Look it’s a W!

Maybe a living wage? Better family leave? A career path forward in the face of automation?

McD: The W stands for women.

March 7, 2018

Thorne Melcher 🌸 (@ExistentialEnso)

When I started using the term “McFeminism” to refer to the corporate-friendly, HRC fan sort of feminism, I didn’t expect McDonalds to actually become one of the biggest examples of the phenomenon 🤦🏻‍♀️

March 8, 2018

NOT A WOLF (@SICKOFWOLVES)

I THOUGHT THE UPSIDE DOWN MCDONALDS LOGO STOOD FOR WOLVES

OR LIVABLE WAGES

BUT YEAH THIS IS GOOD SURE FINE

March 7, 2018

In response to the campaign, the British leftwing group Momentum put out a video highlighting how McDonald’s low wages and zero-hours contracts meant some women workers faced poverty and homelessness. The videos, produced in collaboration with the Bakers’ Union, are in support of striking McDonald’s workers.

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Women of McDonald’s speak out

Posted by Momentum

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Women of McDonald’s speak out

Posted by Momentum

133,273 Views

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“This empty McFeminism has nothing to do with women’s liberation and everything to do with McDonald’s attempt to sanitise its image,” said Laura Parker, Momentum’s national coordinator. “If they actually cared about women, they’d pay their workers a living wage and stop forcing them onto zero hours contracts.

“It’s completely unacceptable that zero hours contracts at McDonald’s have left women workers without enough money to feed their children – and have even made some of them homeless.”

Meanwhile KFC Malaysia also made an attempt to mark the day, by changing its icon from Colonel Sanders to Claudia Sanders, the founder’s second wife.

A representative of KFC’s marketing agency, Stanley Clement from IPG Mediabrands’ Society and Universal McCann, described the origin of the change thusly: “The team was looking at ways to support this, and discovered the story of Claudia Sanders, the wife of Colonel Sanders”.

Marketing Week (@MarketingWeekEd)

Meet Claudia Sanders 👋

To mark #IWD2018 @kfc is introducing the world to Colonel Sanders’ wife 👇https://t.co/5NNf4KCHFv pic.twitter.com/hurligwamb

March 8, 2018

They may have missed part of the story however. In a biography of her father, Colonel Sanders’ daughter Margaret Sanders said her father originally hired Claudia to help her mother, his first wife, with housework, according to reporting from Buzzfeed.

“It was evident from the beginning that her presence would create turmoil,” his daughter Margaret wrote. “Neither promiscuous nor a whoremonger, Father nevertheless had a libido which required a healthy, willing partner,” she wrote. “He found one in young Claudia.” Claudia became Sanders’ second wife in 1949.