Coffee cup culture war: waste of time

Michaela Reid, Editor in chief

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Conservative Christian backlash has struck again as the 2017 starbucks holiday design was released. The claim being that the women’s hands held together are promoting a “gay agenda” For the past 20 years, starbucks has created a holiday designed cup that some individuals don’t bother to notice while others go on a wild social media rampage about its cultural implications.

Similar criticisms to being too politically correct have risen before against Starbucks. The blank red canvas 2015 holiday cup spurred a boycott in a facebook video created by a conservative christian activist, Joshua Feuerstein. The video was viewed over 17 million times, according to the New York Times.

The 2017 design is pictured with several hands (some holding other hands while others are near starbucks drinks) as well as presents, ribbons, hearts and stars.There is definitely a christmas theme consisted of decadent ribbons laced around piles of presents as well as a christmas tree.

There are no complete figures of people, rather hands reaching around the cup to various holiday doodles thus “making the holidays their own.” Despite the the holiday doodles, a majority of the cup is white.

This done purposefully intending to have customers color in their own designs, thus their message of making the holidays as you see fit. This effort of personal interpretation leaving an impression of inclusion was executed in vain.

Conservative news sources exclaimed that starbucks was supporting a “gay agenda” through the two females hands that were held together. People agreed to disagree but ultimately it was a waste of energy.

Media representation has much larger fish to fry than an ambiguous relationship in female hand holding. Sanja Gould, a starbucks representative, stated, “We intentionally designed the cup so our customers can interpret it in their own way, adding their own color and illustrations,” according to The Times.    

Starbucks has a major cultural influence in our quick paced, materialistic society. Their ads can allow us to create prototypes as to what is a “normal” or “cool” identity to embody.

Whether it is racial, cultural, or gender representation, people tend to frame their mindsets and identity around what media from large companies funnel to us.

Advertisements have the potential, more than ever,  to reach their target market on an individual by individual basis. Our cookies and search history on our phones give them access to our little worlds and interests.

This makes the power of advertisement and its effects on our identities even stronger.

In the beginning of tv ads and paper ads, there was the perfect shopping prototype: the white middle aged female. At the time the common shopper combined with overt and systematic racism left the perfect target market for their message- a pure, smiling, white pioneer woman.

. The implications are often pushing white supremacy as well as a materialistic achieved happiness. If ads could talk they would say “ Obtain this preferred lifestyle by buying more things”, supporting a very outward-in attempt at happiness and social acceptance.

It has become a necessary, growing responsibility of major corporations to create a sense of inclusion in their ads because of the growing frequency at which we receive these messages. Not only that but they should be held accountable for the social backfire that comes with their choices concerning the matter.

The starbucks cup fiasco is honestly just making more money for starbucks when there are many larger battles to fight. The hands on the cup create an unclear relationship.

Individual interpretation is going to bring more varying responses to the ad than if the ad had a clear overt message. These disputes are a waste of energy when other areas of advertisement have a greater potential to be critiqued.

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Coffee cup culture war: waste of time