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.