Value meals? Join the #MomsNotLovinIt revolution

#MomsNotLovinIt takes on McDonald's predatory marketing to kids of color  and in public schools

Issues related to both education and exploitation of children are usually at the heart of my ethical and political preoccupations, and I have written often on both my concerns about exploitative marketing toward children (most specifically in the gendered markets that dominate the "girl aisle" and the invasive marketing of McDonald's into our classrooms) and the need for parents, students and educators to form a united coalition to protect the integrity and quality of education.  So I was excited to learn of some upcoming events designed to address these issues and bring more concerned people together in support of moving forward to protect our children and stand up for fair practices in advertising as well as promote healthy living.

Our friends at Corporate Accountability International have planned social media events connected to their Value [the] Meal campaign in an attempt to draw attention to - and combat - the manipulative and predatory marketing practices that the McDonald's corporation routinely engages in to advertise explicitly to children.  To this end, they've announced a series of "Tweetchats"  on Mondays in July to address various issues with McDonald's deceptive and unscrupulous practices.   To participate, follow @StopCorpAbuse on Twitter and join in the conversation on the hashtag  #MomsNotLovinIt on the scheduled dates!

Here's the schedule of topics for the Tweetchats:
  • July 8: McDonald's targeted marketing to youth in communities of color, hosted by LaDonna Redmond, of the Campaign for Food Justice Now, a food justice activist who took on nutrition in Chicago public schools before moving to the Minneapolis area, where she continues her efforts. 
  • July 15: McDonald's predatory marketing in schools (something with which I've had personal experience).  That Tweetchat will be hosted by Leah Segedie of Mamavation, who also has recent experience with McDonald's marketing to her young child at school.  
  • July 22: Other tactics McDonald's uses to skirt parental authority and market directly to kids, hosted by Anna Lappé
    and Food MythBusters!

Throughout these events, they've got a great lineup of folks participating, including Michele Simon of Eat Drink Politics and MomsRising, so please join in and help spread the word.  The first step toward meaningful action is to educate ourselves and come together on the issues that matter to all of us!
I know that our inclination is to think "McDonald's can market however they want. It's up to parents to choose what their kids do or don't eat," but whenever this discussion comes up, it never ceases to amaze me how resistant people are to addressing the perverse tactics of marketers. I think we are brainwashed by the capitalist machine to think of ourselves as "free to choose" and therefore impervious to unscrupulous campaigns, when all of the evidence proves otherwise. Why is it ok with us that McDonald's (and many other companies) have targeted campaigns that attempt to manipulate children and trick them into thinking unhealthy food is healthy? Or that they use age-inappropriate movies (and toys associated with them) to push their products? Or that they market to kids at all - when the parents are the ones buying the food? Why is it ok to disproportionately target kids of color? We ignore the severity of this issue at our peril, and whatever personal choices we make about what to eat (or not), we cannot deny the impact of these incredibly pervasive, successful and proven marketing strategies. I invite all of you to open your minds to this issue and join in the conversation.  The least we can do is know what we're up against. 

Tired of @McDonalds peddling junk food to kids? Join @StopCorpAbuse for the first #MomsNotLovinIt chat on July 8 @ 8:30pm EST

Read more about how McDonald's explicitly targets children of color in this must-read article by Naa Oyo A. Kwate, Ph.D., "McDonald's Exploitative Roots Go Deep." 
You can also take action by signing Corporate Accountability International's petition: Tell McDonald's: Stop Marketing Junk Food to Our Kids. Health care professionals can click here to sign on to a similar open letter of petition.

Special thanks to Corporate Accountability International's Lillyanne Daigle for reaching out to MoD with details on these important events, and to our good friends at Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood for connecting us by cross-posting my piece on the McDonald's math-vertisement I found in my daughter's kindergarten workbook.

No comments:

Post a Comment