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Literal McFeminism: Clickbait Corporatism in a Consumer Culture by Joseph Kaminski

However, this purely reads as nothing more than a cheap marketing tactic. As stated by the official McDonald’s Facebook account, “[The ‘M’ is upside down] to celebrate and commemorate the women that have made our brand what it is today”. So, in short, it truly is a symbolic gesture that relates back to... vague thoughts at best. The corporation then published a blog that focused on eight women that “made McDonald’s possible”. When asked how this exactly helps women by a Facebook commenter, they replied that they were “recognizing and celebrating all the women of McDonald’s, present and past, who have made great contribution to us and their local communities”. If that was truly the case, maybe McDonald’s should have supported International Women’s Day by paying a living wage and giving their employees enough hours and materials to support their families. To my knowledge, McDonald’s did not donate to a battered woman’s shelter or sign a check over to Planned Parenthood. Actions speak louder than empty words, but expanding the borders for overall profit rules all in this consumer culture.

Many companies chose to take the easy route this International Women’s Day. Freeform, a television broadcasting network, “celebrated” the occasion by censoring every female character as they said the word “sorry” in their programs. This was immediately hailed as a fantastic achievement and progressive in nature, as the concept of female apologizing was treated as an ‘epidemic’ by the corporation behind the stunt. This is the truest definition of McFeminism: an unnecessary and rather backwards attempt to vitalize a movement and day of recognition just to gain good faith and favor in a consumer base.

Bleeping out apologies for a full day doesn’t have any meaning or merit despite what their advertising may have suggested. As a television network, Freeform had the ability to spend the day broadcasting fantastic films directed, produced, and inspired by women of all paths. Instead, they chose to bleep out the word “sorry” without context. Swapping an iconic logo upside down for a few clicks on a blog doesn’t empower or encourage anything beyond the Hail Corporate mentality that is already hijacking the increasingly powerful women’s rights movements.

And although I may be neutering these companies for their lack of effort, I must admit that their advertising concepts mostly worked among the masses. In our consumer culture, many people have embraced the out-of-touch “maybe this will work” attempts of relevance that the big players in the economy have instilled into their corporatized entities. As long as the typical buyer chooses McFeminism over Feminism, then establishments will continue to shy away from actually attempting to put recognition onto the real matters. When the general public finally decides to see through the generic, bland attempts to gain PR, then maybe we’ll actually see the progressive nature expand through our currently corporatized culture.

Until then, mock McDonald’s for what the ‘W’ in their one-day stunt really stands for: Wage theft.

Disclaimer: all referenced name brands and logos belong to their respective copyright owners.

Joseph Kaminski is a social historian with interests in political revolutions, economic recessions, and individualism. He collects old books and is a freelance editor working on several external projects. He publishes articles focused on history, sociology, and politics on his website JosephKaminski.org, and you can follow him on Twitter @publishingminds.

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