The fast food chain Carl’s Jr. should drop its ads featuring scantily-clad models on the grounds that the ads both objectify women and harm men, says a social media campaign asking people to avoid the chain. “They are just pushing the boundaries, and they are doing it blatantly,” Lexie Kite, co-founder of Beauty Redefined, said of the fast food company. “They are only getting more and more sexually objectifying. We know as well as anybody how much harm this does to men, to boys, to girls, to women, to relationships. It's time to speak up.” The ads, which have run since 2005, show scantily-clad supermodels and television stars posing in provocative poses while eating food from Carl’s Jr. and from Hardee’s. Beauty Redefined is asking people to oppose the commercials. Those who use social media are encouraged to voice their opposition in messages and photos that use the hashtags “#CutTheCarls” and “#MoreThanMeat”. Kite told the Associated Press that the campaign is “about people being able to use their voices to stand up (against) something that is really harmful.” Some Carl’s Jr. franchise owners have said they too object to the content of the ads, which are approved by the Carl’s Jr. brand owner, CKE Restaurants Inc. “Many franchisees of CKE have asked the corporation to tone down the sexual side of their advertising,” Carl’s Jr. franchisee Russ Clark said in a Sept. 4 letter to the California newspaper the Appeal Democrat. The Parents Television Council, which aims to enforce decency standards and stem harmful and negative messages targeted to children, has also criticized the ad campaigns. CKE told the Associated Press that the ads are aimed at hungry young men, rather than children. “The women in our award-winning ads are intelligent, talented and beautiful professional actresses and models,” the company said. “We have only the greatest respect for women and their contributions to society at all levels in business, at home and in the community.” Lexie Kite and her twin sister Lindsay both have doctorates in media and body image from the University of Utah. The 28-year-olds founded Beauty Redefined to help women and girls reject “harmful messages about their bodies.” The Beauty Redefined website contended that Carl’s Jr.'s ads, as well as others, are selling “the common and dangerous lie that women are valuable for how sexy they appear to others.” These “sexually objectifying messages,” the site said, also “teach boys and men that women are passive objects to be looked at and acted upon.” The website charged that ads contribute to a way of thinking that encourages depression, eating disorders, shame, decreased cognitive functioning, and increased sexual dysfunction.
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