KFC Casts First Female Colonel Sanders, and Some Men Are Actually Mad

kfc_reba
Reba McEntire as Colonel Sanders for KFC. KFC

Women truly can do anything—even sell fried chicken.

On Thursday, KFC announced a new advertising campaign featuring country music star Reba McEntire as Colonel Sanders, the first woman to ever take on the role of the company's mustached and goateed founder.

There was no attempt to make a womanly version of the Southern colonel for McEntire. In a new commercial, the 62-year-old singer and actress wears the white-haired wig and facial hair with pride while she belts out a tongue-and-cheek song.

"I'm Colonel Sanders, the same as always," McEntire croons, while the non-Sanders McEntire sits in the audience. "I swear I'm not a famous woman!"

It's clearly light-hearted, and McEntire follows other celebrities who have donned the Colonel's white suit in KFC ads over the years—including Rob Lowe, Rob Riggle, Jim Gaffigan, Billy Zane and Darroll Hammond. But McEntire is the first woman cast by the fast-food company to shill buckets of its 11-original-herbs-and-spices chicken.

Is this, perhaps, KFC's way of getting behind the recent Time's Up push for better treatment of women in the entertainment industry? A spokesperson for the chain told Newsweek, no, the decision was not intended as a political move.

"We've always maintained that anyone, male or female, who embodies the spirit of the colonel is qualified to play the iconic role," the spokesperson said. "We were looking for a country music legend who shares the values of the Colonel, a showperson through and through, and a lover of fried chicken with plenty of Southern charm to boot. Reba was the perfect choice."

As you'd expect, the gender-swap got a strong reaction on social media. Some women were genuinely pleased to see more representation in the fried chicken business.

Others found humor in the "feminist" fried-chicken milestone. "Now, we're breaking the glass ceiling," one user wrote.

"We didn't get the 1st female President, But we DID get the 1st female Colonel Sanders," commented another.

Reba McEntire, as KFC's first female "Colonel Sanders"

Now, we're breaking the glass ceiling.

— Kathy 🦃 (@kathyyoho) January 26, 2018

We didn't get the 1st female President,
But we DID get the 1st female Colonel Sanders.
America shattered the glass ceiling after all... pic.twitter.com/bKlKIvrBwk

— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) January 26, 2018

Then, unsurprisingly, there was the small but vocal group of users who vehemently opposed the casting.

Some argued a female chicken-loving Colonel just wasn't historically accurate enough. "Was Colonel Sanders a woman?" one user wondered. "Were there any female colonels when KFC was founded?"

Others felt McEntire in a fake mustache sends a dangerous message to young boys about what it means to be a man. "As 'cute' as this is, it's also just another step in the progressive erosion of male gender masculinity," wrote another Twitter user.

As "cute" as this is, it's also just another step in the progressive erosion of male gender masculinity. > Country singer Reba McEntire is KFC's newest Col. Sanders https://t.co/AMsN9rD1DZ #GenderAgnostic

— Willy D. Knows... (@AskWillyD) January 26, 2018

Still others felt that while it's OK to swap genders for fictional characters, it's wrong to do so with a real person like the Colonel. (Harland David Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel in 1935, then again in 1950. He died in 1980.)

A few even threatened to boycott.

@kfc While filling a male role with a female wouldn't normally bother me, in our current political climate it reeks of male bashing feminism and mentally regressive progressivism. My family of 5 will pass on KFC until you reawaken to gender distinction.

— Mightymouse1111 (@mightymouse1111) January 26, 2018

The complaints kept coming, loudly and angrily.

Reba Mcentire is now the official mascot or rather the official Colonel Sanders. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Can't you differentiate between a man and a woman anymore or have you people rotted your brains to complete and utter shit now?

— Phil Bhojwanay (@PhilBhojwanay) January 26, 2018

Reba McEntire as Colonel Sanders...when will the insanity stop. 🛑🛑

— Texas racing (@TxGoneRiding) January 26, 2018

A lady Colonel Sanders? This is absolutely ridiculous! This is blasphemous! I am outraged! What's next... pic.twitter.com/ZRmlTYzWQe

— matt soup-ing-grr (@MatthewTheAmazo) January 26, 2018

Feminists are literally happy about Colonel Sanders being played by a woman. Which was a real life old man... That's actually hilarious to me. It's an old man 😂😂

— Philly D (@improta21) January 26, 2018

Why have a Female Colonel Sanders? He was a Real person... Not some made up character lol. If you wanted a female in the commercial okay, But make her Colonel Sanders? LMAO I don't understand the logic here

— 🐍YoungMitch💜💛2️⃣4️⃣💜💛 #LongLiveMitchell (@fxckyourlifee) January 26, 2018

I don’t get it, is Colonel Sanders supposed to be a Time Lord or something?

— Josh Crowley {FILE MISSING: Blue_Checkmark.png} (@jdcrowley) January 26, 2018

The first female Colonel Sanders may not be the beacon of feminism the Women's March asked for, but perhaps it's the one this country deserves right now.

As for McEntire's thoughts on the matter? "I thought the transformation was really funny," she told the Associated Press. "I got a big kick out of it."