I live quite close to a KFC. I have only eaten there about 2-3 times, mostly out of extreme duress (massive blizzard, etc.). While Kentucky Fried Chicken is not my personal fast food destination, they certainly do have a lively variety of ads featuring some interesting casting choices for the old Colonel: Norm MacDonald, Rob Lowe, wrestler Dolph Ziggler, and even Goodfellas star Ray Liotta (whose career I privately wept over after seeing said commercial).
I’m not sure if KFC’s latest choice for Colonel Sanders, singer Reba McEntire, is enough to really get me to walk through the door of said chicken establishment, but it was cute & I did take time to watch the ad. However…I’m really wondering if these companies are starting to make a cynical play for “gender parity” and so on based partially on a unspoken desire to troll online cranks and thus generate extra publicity.
To say it another way: are companies like KFC purposely “courting” these reactionary types by handing them something to react to? Then the “backlash” gets reported by the media (the cavalcade of grotesque insane prejudiced tweets reproduced to gawk at), the company brands themselves (or “rebrands” themselves) as a beacon of progressive values, and “everybody” wins.
Checking Twitter, I can see that there were indeed grotesque insane prejudiced tweets responding to casting a woman as Colonel Sanders, of the “they are destroying our world” variety; blaming the trans community, feminists, and so on. Reading these tweets, I start to wonder if some of these people are also strictly trolling; and that nothing of any real sentiment is out there online whatsoever.
At any rate: Reba McEntire in a Colonel Sanders suit is not how being trans works; nor do I see the move as some giant leap for female equality. As a KFC spokesperson remarked:
We’ve always maintained that anyone, male or female, who embodies the spirit of the colonel is qualified to play the iconic role…We were looking for a country music legend who shares the values of the Colonel…
And those values are millions of dead—and perhaps tasty, depending on your personal preferences—chickens and making lots of money.