Current Issue: Volume 3, Issue 3/4Updated November 12, 2013
In August 2012, thousands of Americans traveled to their local Chick-fil-A restaurants to participate in the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and the National Same Sex Kiss Day, two demonstrations designed to show support and opposition, respectively, to the company’s public endorsement of the “biblical definition of the family unit.” This essay draws upon Richard B. Gregg’s theory of the ego-function to analyze the important persuasive functions the protests served for the participants involved. An analysis of the messages shared among members in the groups’ respective Facebook pages shows that the participants promoted a message of victimage, virtuousness, importance, strength, and unity. The participants in both groups disputed their opponents’ claims that they were “haters” or “bigots,” and instead portrayed themselves as righteous advocates for equality or freedom. The protests, then, not only functioned to show support for or anger at Dan Cathy and Chick-fil-A. They also empowered the participants and enhanced the legitimacy and importance of their respective causes. Keywords: Culture Wars, Ego-Function, Gay Rights, Protest Rhetoric, Same-Sex Marriage.