Ha ha ha. M & Ms is so hilarious. Doesn’t the picture on this package just crack you up?
It’s been a while since I blogged about the intensely sexist marketing of M & Ms candy. But then, someone posted about the new Coconut M & Ms on my Facebook page, and I was so disgusted by what I saw.
By now, we’re all familiar with Ms. Green, her high heeled white go-go boots and spidery eyelashes. Now she’s got a pink flower pasted on her head. And there is Yellow (Mr. Yellow?) above her, falling out of a tree while trying to catch his binoculars.
In this picture-narrative we also see John’s Berger’s classic analysis of historical sexism in art-life: Men watch; women watch themselves being watched.
It’s M & Ms, you say. Who gives a shit?
First of all, these cartoon images appeal to kids. Why sexualize them? Why sexualize candy? Secondly, the images promote gender stereotypes that are insidious, ubiquitous, and in this particular scene, actually dangerous.
The first anti-stalking law wasn’t passed until 1990 and the crime is still only slowly gaining recognition and credibility as a serious infraction. Obviously, M & Ms thinks it’s a joke. Do you think there could be a correlation between people not taking the crime seriously and that it’s women who are the victims in disproportionate numbers? (Source: National Center For Victims of Crime)
Parents, do you really want your daughters and sons to see a ‘sexy’ female getting stalked on an M & Ms package as if it’s funny? As if it’s normal?
And why does M & Ms persist in a sexist marketing strategy that continually degrades, humiliates, or stereotypes its female characters? If M & Ms promoted racial stereotypes, would that be okay?
Luckily, Coconut M & Ms is a limited edition. I wonder what they’ll come up with next. Any guesses?
Here’s a brief retrospective that may give you some ideas:
Miss Green as the S & M/ M & M:
The naked Ms. Green, coyly dangling her stripped off her skin, I mean shell, on the back cover of the 2012 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue:
To those of you who argue that sexualized M & Ms appear only in adult spaces (kind of like the cartoon camel that marketed cigarettes to kids?) the stalking M & Ms image is right there on the package.
(Sadly, today’s post reminds me that I need to create a “food” category on this blog.)
Most importantly, educate M & Ms: tell them that stalking isn’t funny, it’s dangerous. Cut and paste this info from the National Center For Victims of Crime:
While the impact of stalking is commonly minimized by society, the actions of stalkers can be extremely threatening and dangerous to their victims. Stalking can escalate to violence. Stalking victims frequently live in fear and terror. Often they are forced to alter their lives significantly in attempts to find safety and freedom from the harassing behavior of former spouses, ex-partners or strangers.