San Francisco is a city well known for its progressive stance on *** rights and populous LGBT community. It's a place where ***** culture is not only accepted, but celebrated all year long. So naturally the city takes its annual *** pride parade pretty seriously. It's something all San Franciscan's"”both *** and straight"”get excited about. Because who doesn't like a big, loud, city-wide party?
Well, this year, Burger King decided they want to get in on the action. To show support for San Fran's yearly pride parade, which took place last Sunday, the franchise decided to add `The Proud Whopper' to the menu of their Market Street store"”located along the parade route"”and made the novelty sandwich available throughout the course of this past week.
Served in a rainbow foil, the burger stood for tolerance. "We are all the same inside" reads the metaphoric wrapper"”because, you see, the `Proud Whopper' was the same as any other Whopper...the only difference was its packaging.
Yes, the surprising display of solidarity with the *** rights movement was indisputably commendable, and meant a great deal to many LGBT individuals who saw it as a small but important step towards acceptance of their orientation in mainstream culture"”and yes, it was, if nothing else, a fun, festive addition to a fun, festive time of year in San Fran. "It shows how we, as a brand, believe in self-expression," said the fast food joint's senior vice president of global brand management, Fernando Machado, of `The Proud Whopper's' significance.
However, the manner in which the chain went about its advocacy of equal rights was so tentative, it actually seemed contradictory the very spirit of the movement BK claims to support.
The pride parade is about overcoming adversity and standing up for your beliefs; it's about having the courage to be yourself"”bravely and unapologetically. And while Burger King gave it a shot by introducing `The Proud Whopper,' its tentative approach to this act of advocacy lacked courage"”the company hinted at its ideological views"”but did so neither loudly, nor proudly.
First, Burger King added `The Proud Whopper' to the menu of just one of its million U.S stores, even though plenty of other cities held official *** pride parades and festivities all throughout June. In fact, New York City"”a major LGBT hub, where the pride parade is also a huge annual event"”held its yearly march last weekend as well. But for some reason Burger King hesitated to make `The Proud Whopper' available in even the Big Apple, choosing to confine the controversial sandwich to the safety of San Francisco"”where it would be guaranteed acceptance.
Also, `The Proud Whopper' might have been the seasonal menu item with the shortest availability duration of any limited-time items in fast food history"”having been served for just five days.
If Burger King really wanted to make a powerful statement about equality and weren't afraid to openly support LGBT rights, their involvement in pride celebrations would have been less cowardly. BK would have served `The Proud Whopper,' at stores nationwide without worrying about what customers in more conservative areas would think of them. BK would have had it on their menu throughout all of June (the official month of *** pride), without fear of word of their LGBT sympathies reaching the Bible belt if `The Proud Whopper' stuck around any longer than five days.
But Burger King decided to play it safe. The franchise may have dipped its toes in to test the waters of *** rights activism, but its lack of commitment and follow through prove that the company isn't quite ready to openly come out as an LGBT ally.
On the other hand, BK is huge corporation"”and a publically traded company, nonetheless"”so maybe having the balls to at least admit they're a little equality-curious isn't such a bad start.