Come as you are: The social experiences of sexual identity and mental health

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. Re: “It says to them that in a society that can often be hostile, here is a place where you need not be anything but yourself. In creating this ad, McDonald’s clearly feels it can set itself apart in projecting this message.”

    Although you are absolutely correct in their marketing intentions, I think this an underdeveloped conclusion of the reality. In a debate like the one addressed in the blog post, the only relevant social function of corporations such as McDonald’s is alienation and atomization of their consumers. As a food service company, they take people out of local food systems and culture. Although not directly impacting sexuality, the intense and complex relationships that are sacrificed by this “fast food” culture offer nothing to those experiencing any sort of identity or social violence issues. In fact, this reduction of food relationships to consumers and commodities takes us away from more intimate identification with those who are involved in a healthy food system – farmers, chefs, small restaurant proprietors. We are left to interact with self-perpetuating stereotypes like the “gay waiter” while the reality is that there are (or would be) probably be just as many “gay farmers” under more participatory and equitable economic structures.

    There is also the problem that McDonald’s doublespeak of “come as you are” is an underhanded way of saying “we’ll serve anyone here, even handsome closeted homosexuals”. I’m sure this advertising series won’t include anything about homeless or other stigmatized individuals coming ‘as they are’ because they not so openly welcome depending on different reasons. Someone who sees the gay commercial can pretend that McDonald’s is an enlightened, non-discriminating safe space where they might feel good about their choice to be like everyone else who is left to dine there. The only progress here perhaps is that alternative sexualities are not left to the primary gay “safe” spaces typically involving alcohol – homosexual Alcoholics Anonymous nights, gay bars/clubs – that offer a place to be open while not being publicly “out”.

    Therefore a more honest ad from McDonald’s might be…

    “Feeling sexually unique in a capitalist world but hate the self-destructive scene gays are typically relegated to? Now you can enjoy closeted sexuality and have an escape from the deliberate effect alcoholism has taken on your social culture by openly seeking out a future of diabetes and obesity. Don’t worry, we won’t tell your parents! Just come as your are as long as your bring your wallet.”

  2. Keri Iyall Smith says:

    While McDonald’s does need to alienate its consumers–most overtly from whole food–as Chris notes, they also need to appeal to an audience that is as broad as possible both globally and locally.

    This is definitely an interesting angle that McDonald’s chose to take in France, a country where McDonald’s is particularly contentious for the reasons Chris mentioned. I wonder how French adolescents responded to this advertisement? Thanks for bringing some interesting media to the blog!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *