As I shuffled through Martin’s with my girlfriend stocking up on the usual essentials for the week I came across the pasta aisle. It has always been a necessary evil to stock up on pasta, especially on those nights when I remember the only thing I know how to cook is spaghetti with textured vegetable protein sauce (which is delicious, by the way). But as I stared at the brands and their ridiculous price differences, I noticed an obvious change. The Barilla pasta was as cheap as Martin’s Brand. Naturally, my initial thought was to snatch up as many boxes as my arms could carry, but I felt there was a sinister statement being made here.
Earlier this week, Guido Barilla, the CEO of Barilla pasta stated in a radio interview “I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don’t agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role.” Double ouch. Not only is he stating he is not a fan of incorporating an inclusive and global family structure, but he also makes it pretty clean where a woman’s role needs to be (hint: in a kitchen). I can’t help but wonder if his refusal to include LGB couples (much less T) stems from his refusal that traditional family roles must always be in place, and if a man isn’t bringing home the pasta, or the woman isn’t boiling it, then the world must be ready for anarchy!
Needless to say, I did not buy the cheap Barilla pasta at the store. I actually lost my appetite for pasta altogether. How can a corporation make me feel so sick to my stomach that I would prefer to live off of peanut butter sandwiches and rice than feel comfortable purchasing products that which I like and need for the week? The article later states that Barilla apologized for the statement, but quite frankly, what’s done is done.
It stems back to when Chic-Fil-A went public about where they were donating their money (anti-gay groups), and everyone started boycotting them and their waffle fries. It really amazed me how some of my friends were willing to give it up, even though there was a location right on campus. When I went home to North Carolina, I witnessed a horror on Chic-Fil-A appreciation day and saw a line of cars so long outside the building in support of the company I wanted to cry. Sometimes, no matter what a company chooses to do, people will still buy their products. And sometimes, when you are living in the South, people will buy the products in spite of the injustice it represents. It still brings a chill down my spine to think of it.
Happily, I know that my boycott will not be in vain, as Buitoni has responded via Facebook with an inclusive image of love and support for the community!
I know that pasta seems like a silly thing to boycott, but strength in a boycott can incorporate change into a larger corporation. If enough people choose to boycott a product, the product will have to either disappear or have a new voice behind it. So what do you all think? Should we be boycotting Barilla pasta, or is one person’s personal beliefs not worth the trouble? By buying the products are we condoning an anti-gay (and anti-feminist) sentiment? Or are we simply buying pasta?