The McDonald’s Golden Arches


The McDonalds logo is one of the most recognizable symbols in America. It is right up there with the American flag, the Christian cross, and the Presidential seal. Everyone reading this knows what I’m talking about. Two golden arches that represent hot food now for a good value to some; fattening, greasy “food”  to others; or a symbol of the dangers of globalization to a few.

History of McDonald’s Golden Arches

The first McDonald's

The origin of the arches goes back to 1962. Dick and Mac McDonald had arch shaped signs on the sides of their walk-up hamburger stand. From the side, those arches looked like the letter “M”. The arches were incorporated into the building design of new McDonald’s restaurants up until 1968. The McDonald’s name was added to the logo in that same year. Since that time, the logo has changed very little. The name is sometimes paired with the golden arches and sometimes not. Either way, it is easily recognizable as fast food for 99 out of 100 first world inhabitants.

What the Arches Represent to Middle Class Americans

Kids love fries.

They’re two golden arcs that inspire happiness in children. Just around the time that kids first learn about the gates to heaven in Sunday school, they’re also introduced to McDonald’s through television and by eating there. There is definitely a connection that people draw between the golden gates to heaven and the golden arches of McDonalds. I’m not saying McdDonald’s is heaven, but the emotional association between the two is strongly positive, especially in children. Kids don’t know anything about cholesterol, trans fats, or saturated fat. They just know what tastes good and what’s fun. Friends, toys, a playground, sometimes video games, and all the delicious food a kid can eat. Sounds like heaven for kids to me.

The arches represent value and efficiency to teens and young-adults. These are people without much money for sit-down restaurants or are out with friends and don’t want to go somewhere nice. The arches represent a landmark to them. They scour the horizon looking for a lone tower capped with red and gold. The arches mean staying out a little longer, it means fun and forgetting about the consequences. “I’m young, I’ll have time to worry about health when I’m older,” they say.

McDonalds Breakfast

To the late 20s through 40s crew, the arches remind one of a disgusting grease-filled despot of zit-faced low-class workers, dirty floors, and processed mystery meat burgers. They loathe the fact that their children love the place. They resent the marketing towards children that the McDonald’s corporation does so well. The one redeeming factor for this group is the convenience. If they’re late to work, have to drop off the kids at school, swing by the post office, and haven’t eaten breakfast then McDonald’s is a godsend. They forget about the grease and grime, this coffee is hot and the Egg McMuffin fills me up, plus the sugar from the over-sweetened orange juice and the frosted cinnamon roll won’t hit the kids until they’re safely at school.

For the 50 year olds and older, McDonald’s Golden Areches are either a beacon of the great power of globalization or a symbol of the terrible danger of globalization. Supporters of a globalized America, see McDonalds as a great success story. It brings the glorious American culture and democracy all over the world. McDonald’s has restaurants in 125 countries from Japan to Iraq to Portugal. From Russia to China to South Africa. From Canada to the southern tip of Chile.

All non-grey countries have a McDonalds

McDonalds has a bigger empire than Alexander the Great. To the pro-globalists, this means that globalization works. It is profitable and good for America.The golden arches are a symbol of American dominance in the emerging global market.

To the anti-globalists, the arches represent many things:

  • Corporate greed: In 2009 McDonald’s served 60,000,000 people a day for a yearly profit of $1.2 Billion. Disgusting excess to anti-globalists.
  • Global warming and pollution: Cows are one of the top contributor to both global warming and McDonald’s food. McDonald’s cups are made with Polystyrene which in can be toxic to people and takes 900 years to break down.

    Overweight child at McDonald's

  • Obesity: McDonald’s food is dangerously fattening as witnessed by the documentary Supersize Me (Watch in full)
  • Corporate irresponsibility: The McDonald’s corporate stance on their food is that it can be part of a healthy diet, which is false. (but more true as time goes on due to McDonald’s new menu choices)
  • Destruction of world cultures: American culture (or lack of true culture) is dominating the world and destroying precious native cultures.

The Golden Arches mean different things to different age groups. However, one thing is common throughout all age groups the Arches are unmistakably American. To everyone, they represent hard work, ingenuity, abundance, and freedom.

Obese child at McDonald’s

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