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.
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.