Trump's pick for Labor Secretary knows effective advertising. Andrew Puzder is the head of Hardee's and Carl's Jr. and is behind the commercials featuring bikini-clad celebrities and models who wash cars while eating hamburgers. This, according to Julia Horowitz, disqualifies him from being Labor Secretary:
“I don't think there's anything wrong with a beautiful woman in a bikini, eating a burger and washing a Bentley or a pickup truck or being in a hot tub,” Puzder said in an interview with CNNMoney in 2015. “I think there's probably nothing more American.”
A racy spot featuring a bikini-clad Paris Hilton washing a car while eating a Carl's Jr. burger hit screens in 2005. Since then, oversexed ads have been the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. calling card. Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton and Emily Ratajkowski have all made appearances. Many commercials—such as a 2015 Super Bowl ad featuring a seemingly nude Charlotte McKinney—have been criticized as sexist, objectifying and offensive.
Puzder doesn't see the issue.
Are the ads modest? No. Are they sexist and exploitative? Well, that depends on whom is being exploited. For Horowitz's argument to work we must first insult the women involved in the ads. Her argument presupposes that the women participating are dumb bimbos who have no idea they're being used as eye candy by this CEO. So if we believe the women in the ads are too stupid to realize they're in a bikini while eating hamburgers and washing cars for a certain audience, then we can believe that their stupidity is ripe for exploitation. I don't believe that, nor would the women in the ads believe it of themselves, I'd imagine. Just because a woman is attractive and in a bikini doesn't mean she's stupid, that's simply Horowitz forming a sexist stereotype. The underlying premise of her argument is that men are smarter than women, especially attractive women, thus they are exploiting these women. I'm not sure that Horowitz understands how exploitation works, at least in this case. Were not the women in the ads paid? Were they unaware that they filmed a commercial? The audience for whom this commercial was made are the ones being exploited, exploited by a company, to part with their dollars. The women in the ads are smart, self made (you could make the argument about Paris Hilton being a heiress, but the socialite has made an empire for herself beyond her family's wealth), and hugely successful. Stupidity does not reap the rewards earned by smart business sense. They filmed a 30 or 60 second commercial in about a half-day or day, and earned mad cash for this multi-million dollar ad buy which aired nation-wide, further cementing and advertising their individual brands.
Speaking of modesty, I find it interesting that women who invented and celebrated “slut walks” and “free the nipple” campaigns, are concerned` about women choosing to participate in a nationwide ad for a burger joint. The third wave feminists have helped create a “sex sells” society by pushing consequence-free sex as a measure of empowerment now complain about the result of their lobbying. How “feminist” of them.
Puzder isn't sexist, he's a capitalist. You'd think that feminists would take credit for helping to create the society that enabled this sort of advertising.