Quite the controversial tweet from Burger King on International Women’s Day.
Yes, they were aiming to promote their scholarship program to help female Burger King employees pursue culinary careers.
As they explained in a follow up apology tweet, what they’d actually wanted to do was to highlight the fact that only 20% of professional chefs in UK kitchens are women.
Frankly, that would have made a better tweet.
Sometimes aiming for the shock value for a social media post wildly backfires. I suspect that Burger King were hoping to perhaps recreate the viral effect of Weetabix’s recent tweet, which has so far garnered 38.4K retweets, 68.4K quote tweets, and 134.7K likes (along with some amazing “you ok hun?” style responses from other huge brands).
And the reason this “controversial” tweet did so well? Because it was ridiculous. As far as I know, there isn’t any historical conflict centred around Weetabix and Heinz beans. There’s nothing to trivialise there.
But “women belong in the kitchen”? That’s a whole other kettle of fish (see what I did there? Culinary puns galore).
This is an explosive statement, with some seriously negative connotations.
The whole point of IWD is to promote female enterprise and rights. It’s rooted in battling sexism, discrimination, domestic violence, rape culture, medical negligence… the list goes on.
Yes, I’m a feminist killjoy. Sorry not sorry.
Putting on my feminist killjoy hat here, none of the above are things that should be trivialised. You can’t pull out the old “just a joke, get out of jail free” card here, because these are things that should never be joked about.
“20% of professional chefs in UK kitchens are women” is a fact. It’s stark and concerning in and of itself. Burger King could have talked about gender bias in hiring and work practices. They could have made a mission statement about what they’re doing specifically to change this figure.
If they really wanted to do something “cute” (I’m having flashbacks to Harriet Harman’s pink campaign bus here) they could have done a campaign around Burger King looking for Queens – anything that says, “we want you”, rather than breaking out a statement that is still used today to put women down.
It was a complete swing and a miss from the King this time.
It’s 2021. We can do better than this, surely?