Hey Goldfish Snack Crackers, girls aren’t a minority

My daughter is home sick today. She’s lying on the couch, watching TV, and eating Parmesan Goldfish. An ad for Goldfish crackers came on. She thought that coincidence was pretty hilarious. She held up one of her crackers and said, “Hi!” to the Goldfish on TV. Then she looked at down at the package. “Who are mine?” she wanted to know.

They are: Xtreme, Gilbert, Brooke, and Finn.

I know what you’re thinking: Xtreme must be female, right? Or maybe Finn? Pepperidge Farm would never put 3 males and 1 female on a package. So, I went to Wikipedia. Check out these character descriptions:

  • Finn– A cheddar flavored goldfish that wears sunglasses (though not in the commercials).
  • Gilbert– A pretzel goldfish that tends to be a worrier.
  • Brooke– The beautiful and intelligent parmesan flavored goldfish and the only female member of the goldfish club until both Candace and Coral showed up.
  • Xtreme– A flavor-blasted fish who enjoys doing crazy stunts. His real (and embarrassing) name is Fumbleton.
  • Swimmington Von Stuffington III Esquire– Xtreme’s snobby older brother.
  • IQ– A honey graham fish who wears eyeglasses lives in the vacuum and befriends Gilbert and helps him escape out of the vacuum.
  • Candace– A pink fish who wears a red bow on her head and has a small blue star on her tail fin. She has a crush on Gilbert. Candace is also the winner of the “Finn’s New Friend” contest.
  • Coral– A chocolate graham and fun-spirited fish with a Southern accent who currently befriends the club. She is possibly somewhat of a tomboy.

When I created this blog, I wrote that I was going to rate kids media and toys. I never considered blogging about sexism in food. Reese’s Puffs, Special K, M & Ms, and Goldfish have, unfortunately, changed my mind.

My daughter and I made up different names and stories for the Goldfish, of course. But don’t start telling me it’s a free country, and we can just make up anything we like. I’m a creative person, and I struggle with this. Give me something to work with here, Pepperidge Farm! I’m also, like most moms, busy. Can’t I just read the damn names off the bag?

It would be so much easier to foster creativity in kids (and the adults that they will become) if we weren’t mired with the same old, same old ridiculous, gender-stereotyped narratives at every turn.

15 thoughts on “Hey Goldfish Snack Crackers, girls aren’t a minority

  1. My daughter is enjoying a box of goldfish and she is wondering why the goldfish are given a gender, why the female gendered goldfish wear makeup and have eyelashes? Do boys not wear makeup and have eyelashes? Why are food items gendered?!

  2. I literally cannot imagine what it must be like to care so damned much about the gender of made-up personalities for identical-looking fish-shaped, cheese-flavored crackers of slightly different flavors.

  3. What I find most disconcerting about the female goldfish is how much their characterisation seems to be based on gender stereotypes, whereas Xtreme is the only male one that could be considered to fall into that category. Even Coral, who isn’t beautiful like Brooke or pink like Candace, is a tomboy, and thus still defined by her gender.

    I also find it telling that Brooke is described as ‘beautiful and intelligent’, as though they’re trying to make up for not having any other female fish by making her a Mary Sue.

    I look forward to the future when this is revealed to be the idiocy that it is.

    • Hi Nicola,

      I know! Could you fucking believe those descriptions? She;s beautiful, she’s pink, she has a red bow and a star, she has a crush on that one, she’s a tomboy. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?


    • Really? If they had the female fish with these brief, generic descriptions like a “worrier” or “wearing sunglasses” and the males with more descriptors and more developed backgrounds like “handsome and intelligent with a crush on the female and winner of these contests etc” you’d have a problem with it as well, I’m sure.

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