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Commentary: Controversial Burger King Tweet

Photo from Burger King Twitter Account

This past Tuesday, March 8th, was International Women’s Day. Many people celebrated women and their accomplishments while also fighting for the future of gender equality. As a woman, that is pretty cool. Although, we still have a long way to go before there is equitable and just gender equality, any day to celebrate women is a good day in my book. Many companies and individuals used social media as an outlet to support and celebrate women on this day. One of these companies was Burger King who had good intentions, but a poor outcome.
Burger King wanted to hype up their employees, but just happened to miss the mark. The company tweeted “Women belong in the kitchen.” This quote was meant to empower women to become chefs or to support Burger King’s women employees who are working in the kitchen, but they used a saying that has been signified as sexist.
Personally, I love hanging out in the kitchen, stress baking cookies or making a delicious dinner though would be offended if someone told me I belonged in a kitchen. So, as someone who believes we should have more women in the kitchen, becoming chefs and bakers, and working in kitchens in general how do we rephrase the saying women belong in the kitchen? How do we rephrase other sexist sayings and re-signify their meaning?
This tweet got me thinking, what are other phrases that could have double meanings? Listed below are some phrases (and for all *legal* reasons, this is for fun).
“Women belong in the house”. This can be seen the same as the Burger King tweet or as a sign to elect women to the House of Representatives to make decisions and support citizens.
“Women belong in the home” Well, it is a pandemic! My goodness, everyone should be working from home including women!
“Smile!” This is a word used way too often when directed at females but there can be sometimes when it is more empowering. When women are accomplishing their personal or professional goals might be asked to smile for a photo or maybe have some fans, who knows?!
“Nevertheless she persisted” This quote by Senator Mitch McConnell was meant to comment on the remarks that Senator Elizabeth Warren made earlier in a session. This has now become a phenomenon for women as they have used this saying to inspire each other and let their voices be heard.
“Don’t be so bossy” This quote recommends that women take the subservient position and not use their leadership in a team position. Though, it is actually complimenting the woman for being assertive and showing leader qualities!
As people, we can change the meanings and signifiers of certain phrases and words, just as they were historically created to have sexist meanings. It is our job to be aware of these phrases and words that we still might use in our everyday lives and to combat the implicit bias that comes with it.

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