Chick-Fil-a Protest Marks Rise of ‘Eat-In’ Movement
n the 20th century India’s Mahatma Gandhi famously used the hunger strike as political protest. In America today we demonstrate by eating fast food.
Call it an “eat-in,” call it a “buycott”: By whatever name, it’s a tactic that’s growing in popularity. As Wednesday’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day indicates, it’s a form of protest Americans find increasingly easy to swallow.
“This is a convenient way to protest or to make a statement,” said Jean Kinsey, director emeritus at The Food Industry Center at University of Minnesota. And unlike a boycott, “It’s more of a proactive statement. The proactive element might be more attractive to some people.”
Americans have been wearing their political feelings on their napkin increasingly often.
Last month protesters in New York City brought giant cups to the “Million Big Gulp March” to express opposition to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed ban on soda fountain drinks larger than 16 ounces. This week, lawmakers from Iowa and Texas called for “Meat Monday” in response to a USDA promotion of “Meatless Mondays” that the agency has since withdrawn.
But by far the largest such food-related “buycott” was Chick-fil-A’s, sparked by President Dan Cathy’s remarks to a religious publication about his support for the “Biblical definition” of marriage. Gay rights groups called for a boycott, and Cathy’s supporters pledged to bring business to Chick-fil-A en masse.