Blogger and activist Casey Hinds of kyhealthykids.com is gaining recognition for her Twitter campaign against McDonald’s using the hashtag #MomsNotLovinIt. Hinds compared McDonalds to Joe Camel, and is attacking the McDonalds corporation for targeting children. There’s little doubt that the McDonald’s Happy Meal is marketed toward kids; it is, after all, a kid’s meal. The Lexington Herald-Leader describes Hinds as an “advocate for healthy food for kids,” but what does going after McDonald’s have to do with advocating healthy food?
First, let’s get something straight: I don’t think McDonald’s is good food. I don’t think it’s good for adults. I don’t think it’s good for children. And given the choice between a kale salad and a Big Mac, I will choose the leafy greens every day. But, that’s just the thing: no one is forcing you, or your children, to eat McDonald’s. So, what’s the big deal?
According to Hinds, Ronald McDonald is just as bad as the Joe “Old Joe” Camel cigarette advertisements. The infamous Mangini v. R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company trial, which was settled out of court and voluntarily ended Joe Camel’s advertising run, established that cartoons, when used in advertising, targeted children. For tobacco, a controlled substance approved for adults age 18 or older, advertising to minors was a big no-no. But, when it comes to McDonald’s, although a less than healthy choice, the product being advertised is not a controlled substance: it’s junk food.
The #MomsNotLovinIt trend needs to end for several reasons.
1. It’s judgmental. There are so many types of moms, but, if you’re the kind of mom who’s feeding your child, you’re probably one of the good ones. Because there are moms out there who don’t feed their children. There are moms out there who beat their children and post videos about it on the Internet. There are moms out there who give their children bottles full of vodka. So, yes, even if you are feeding your child McDonald’s, you are, most likely, a good mom. Because last time I checked the food you eat has nothing to do with your morality or ethics. Fat people have souls, too.
2. It’s sexist. So, single dads can’t hate McDonald’s, too? Gay fathers need to love Ronald McDonald? Please. It’s 2014. It’s #NotJustMoms who raise children.
3. It’s irresponsible. Since when did Ronald McDonald become your family’s meal planner? Seriously. You’re in charge of your children’s diets. Not the television. Not the billboards. Not the Happy Meal toys. You. Go to the grocery store. The end.
4. It’s fat shaming. Not everyone who is overweight eats McDonald’s, but Hinds’s outlook seems to assume as much. #SomeFattiesHateMcDonalds
5. It’s tacky. Hinds probably thinks her Twitter trend is cute. It’s not. It’s telling the entire world, “Hey, I’m one of those moms who can’t keep Ronald McDonald away from my kids because I’m too busy blogging about McDonald’s being evil.”
6. It’s not for the kids. Yes, Hinds is a blogger. She knows that getting people upset at Ronald McDonald by using her hashtag will earn her recognition and revenue.
Ronald McDonald is not Joe Camel, and I don’t want McDonald to be, either. I don’t want a few parents who are unable to make good, healthy decisions for their children to “ruin it for the rest of us”. I wish it didn’t have to be put that way, but it’s true: most responsible parents realize McDonald’s is not part of a regular, balanced diet. McDonald’s, for a lot of kids, is a treat. It’s something they only get during long road trips when other healthy options are few and far between. It’s something they have occasionally, when it’s been a really busy, stressful week. It’s not something that is ruining their health, and if it is, let’s focus on educating those parents about how to make healthy food choices for their kids. Because ultimately it does not matter if McDonald’s is advertised toward children or not: what matters is if the child’s parent or guardian is purchasing McDonald’s on a regular basis. Period.
Stacey Sasselli says
Great read as usual!
Mrs. Bottlesoup says
Thanks, Stacey! Glad you’re enjoying my blog 🙂
I enjoyed reading this. You’re so right. Good article. Keep up the good work!
Great list, Mrs. Bottlesoup. For many McD’s moms (like so many of my friends) it’s a once-in-a-while stop because there is not enough time in the day to prepare fresh, organic meals ALL THE TIME. Kudos on another insightful post. I really enjoy your entries!
Mrs. Bottlesoup says
Thank you so much, Erin! 🙂
Michael P****r says
My goodness, what tripe! Clearly, your viewpoint started before this topic arose, and you just fitted it into your mold.
This hashtag campaign is not fat shaming. Just isn’t. All it says is that those who use it — including me, a not-single but a stay-at-home Dad — don’t love McDonald’s, for all the ill it does for those who eat McD food.
Sexist? Hashtags, subsets of a 140-character universe, hardly allow for covering every base. No one is precluded or excluded from using it. Just silly, vapid, vacant, thinking. Or, I should have said, “thinking.”
Irresponsible and/or tacky? I use the hashtag because I don’t think McD’s is a good influence, not only on me or my family, but on America and the world. My first obligation, IMO, is not to go there myself, and I don’t. But according to you, that’s my only recourse? You talk about McD’s being a meal planner (or not being one). But the complaint isn’t that McD is in charge of anything — it’s that it spends so much on marketing, and uses a clown mascot, meal toys, and other tactics to influence young children to nag their parents to take them to the Arches. The pediatric association says kids under 8 don’t have the ability to tell puffery from truth, which makes those who use such puffery against kids are akin to statutory rapists of the brain. I object to that. I think everyone should. Not just McD, but every company that does it. … As for your “tacky” charge, I agree with you that if Hinds, or other who use the tag, aren’t drawing the boundaries you say they’re not, that would indeed be tacky. But do you have even the slightest evidence that that’s true? Or are you just spitballin’?
It’s not for the kids? How can you know that? Have you looked into Hinds’s heart, her soul, and found that she’s just a money-grubbing phony? I’ve never been to her blog, so I don’t know if she even runs ads, but I’ve been blogging for 8 years and I haven’t made a dime off it yet. Very few soloists (not celebs, not writers for well-known outlets, etc.) ever build the sort of traffic one needs to make money. … IMO, if someone strikes a chord strongly enough to get that sort of traffic, they ought to turn that influence into a funding source — how else to make such a voice sustainable? But regardless, I doubt Hinds is there. … Even if you don’t like the opinion, doesn’t it take pretty large stones to assume the source of that opinion is a lout, instead of a believer? Shouldn’t you have at least a shred of evidence that that someone is a fraud before blithely accusing same? I sure think so.
Judgmental? Finally, we agree on something. Yes, it is judgmental, as in, those who use it have made a judgment, and now they’re communicating it through Twitter and other means. I am one of those: I have evaluated what McDonald’s is and does, and I have judged it a pernicious influence. Having judged it, I have judged that I should share that judgment with others, so that they also might judge, for themselves. … You, by the way, are judging Hinds, and the rest of us who use it, quite harshly, no? You’re being judgmental while scorning others for being judgmental. Impressive!
What can you possibly mean when you say you don’t want a few parents to “ruin it for the rest of us.” Ruin what? How is your access to McDonald’s — and that’s what you don’t want ruined, right, your access to a clown shop that solicits too-young minds to eat marginally unhealthy food that’s largely subsidized by American taxpayers? — ruined because other people point out that crap is crap? You can keep eating there, and keep taking your family there, as seldom or often as you want. Ruin what? Your denial that the money you pay at the drive through is supporting this multiply questionable enterprise? Hey, like you said, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to listen. Just stick your fingers in your ears and loudly hum that line that you deserve a break today.
Mrs. Bottlesoup says
Nice try, but I won’t be linking back to your website.
For the record, I wouldn’t feed my children McD’s. It’s junk food. But business is business, and the food service industry is not responsible for educating children about nutrition or raising children. Joe Camel is not the same as Ronald McDonald. And, as far as the political debate on subsidies go, I get it. But #MomsNotLovinIt is absolutely sexist. #NotLovinIt would have been a universal way to include all parents, regardless of sex or gender, and non-parents, while still getting the “I hate McDonald’s” message across.
And “ruined it for the rest of us”? I’m talking about judging parents who give their children fast food on occasion and being met with vicious attacks by the “better” moms/dads who don’t “give” their children McDonald’s. If someone wants to give their kids fast food, ice cream, or a piece of cake once in a while, it’s none of my business, and it’s certainly not the government’s responsibility to regulate it. Provide public education, sure. But bashing a corporation for its product and marketing is just nonsense. You don’t have to go to McDonald’s. I’m much more concerned with the health of free public school lunches provided to low-income children; most of it is just as bad as fast food, and those kids don’t have a choice.
Michael Prager says
It’s true I don’t have to go to McDonald’s, and I don’t. But that hashtag says nothing about government regulation, and neither did I. So you’re responding to something I didn’t say, and so far as I know, the hashtag hasn’t promoted. (‘Course, that’s impossible to track, by me anyway.)
I’m *also* concerned about school lunches, for low-income kids or not. I think those concerns go together.
Not nonsense to me. What IS nonsense is that thing about my website. What’s that got to do with anything? You made a post, I responded. Not everyone is click-baiting or link-backing (back-linking?); welcome to the world of ideas.
Mrs. Bottlesoup says
I apologize for assuming you were click-baiting.
When you brought up taxpayers and subsidies, my mind immediately went to regulation. Also, by comparing Joe Camel and Ronald McDonald, as Hinds does, a reasonable interpretation is that Hinds and the #MomsNotLovinIt brigade want Ronald McDonald removed from advertising. The article that triggered my fascination with the Hinds campaign is this: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/05/28/3263959/local-mom-gets-national-attention.html
If McDonalds is in schools, I’m absolutely against that. But as far as their marketing tactics and corporate chain locations? I’m not convinced they should have any accountability for children’s health.