M &Ms, Goldfish, cereal boxes, and the Minority Feisty

I know you probably think I’ve gone over the deep end with all the vitriol I’ve expressed towards M & Ms for presenting its female characters as a high heeled, kissy-lipped minority.

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But the problem here is that this same old image and narrative is everywhere in kidworld. Whose kids eat Goldfish? Here’s our package:

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There it is again: Brooke, the Minority Feisty.

And kids cereal? Even Raj of “Big Bang Theory.” Raj said he’d done the research and there are no female cereal box characters at all.

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What happens to kids when they grow up saturated in a world where everywhere they look, girls go missing?

M & Ms sells sexism to kids

When tobacco companies used a cartoon camel to sell cigarettes to kids, the U.S. government stepped in to stop the manipulation.

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When M & Ms uses extreme gender stereotypes to sell sexism to kids, it’s supposed to be funny. Here’s the back cover of the 2013 swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated.

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If M & Ms used a marketing campaign based on racial stereotypes, would we think it was funny? Apparently not. There’s an uproar about SI using people of color from all around the world as fashion props. That’s offensive and gross and so is this: Ms. Green getting stalked ha ha ha.

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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. Stalking hurts females: 4 out of 5 victims are women. Obviously, M & Ms still thinks a dangerous situation is a joke.

Here’s Ms. Green “working the polls.”

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Here is Ms. Green at Party City, where my daughter and I went shopping for her birthday celebration.

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When I went on M & Ms Facebook page to complain, I saw this picture of Red.

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Wow. Talk about gender stereotypes. Not even “Mr.” Red?

Please Tweet: “M & Ms Stop selling sexism to kids #NotBuyingIt”

Please go to M & Ms Facebook page and ask them to stop selling sexual stereotypes to children.

SI swimsuit issue has new pic for M & Ms Hall of Shame

Here she is, sexy Ms. Green, as seen on the back cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2013 swimsuit issue.

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Jezebel describes the image:

It’s a lot like the front cover, which features Kate Upton standing in freezing Antartica in nothing but undies and an unzipped winter coat (fun fact: this almost killed her), only instead of a busty lady, the ad features a sexy M&M peeling off her shell.

Here’s Ms. Green on last year’s back cover of SI:

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Here’s another image promoted with SI:

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Here’s the winner of the M & Ms Hall of Shame, the S & M M & M “working the polls.”

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Here’s Ms. Green getting stalked, ha ha ha.

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Here’s Ms. Green at Party City where my daughter and I went shopping for her birthday party.

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Ms. Green is one of two female M & Ms alongside 4 male M & Ms. The male M & Ms wear sneakers and act goofy. The females M & Ms wear heels and act sexy.

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This male-female ratio is the same old Minority Feisty pattern we see all over kids media but the sexualization of Ms. Green is extreme, even for the run-of-the mill sexism in kid world.

Please go to M&Ms Facebook page and ask them to stop sexualizing female M & Ms. Ms. Green is everywhere. Our kids deserve more than to see females depicted in this stereotyped and degrading way.

Look what Ms. Green has to say on M & Ms’ Facebook page today

So after I posted about sexualizing M & M’s, (I cannot even believe I have to write that, but alas, I do) I got some comments about Ms. Brown being a feminist. She’s wearing glasses, is a business executive, and Tweets empowering messages about women.

Here’s the problem: Besides the glasses and gloves, all Ms. Brown is wearing is her pumps. The main difference between male M & Ms and female M & Ms appears to be shoes. Many kids who are looking at these pictures can’t read. Put Ms. Brown in sneakers so she can walk and run like the others, and then we can talk about her backstory.

But, because I am 43 years old and can read and use a computer, I went to M & Ms FB page today to read up on Ms. Brown. Here is the first things I saw:

The boys tell me a big basketball tournament started this week. Any team wearing green has my heart! ;) – Ms. Green

Spoken like a true cheerleader.

Here’s her next post:

Ms. Brown is sitting in her office reciting decimals in honor of Pi Day. Me, I’m off to shop! – Ms. Green

OK, so I guess Ms. Brown is the smart one and Ms. Green is the trivial, boy crazy one.

I’ve been trying to figure out why even though females are 51% of the population that female characters in the imaginary world– whether its movies, cereal boxes, snack food, or candy– are shown as a minority. Part of the reason is that if you only show one female, you only have to come up with one look and one narrative for her. It’s easy to stereotype her. If you have two females, its still fairly easy. Make a smart one and a pretty or boy crazy one.

If you scroll down, Ms. Brown, the business executive, the feminist, does have something to say, too. Here it is:

From Our Sponsor: For Working Women, Business Travel Is In the Bag

Nasty weather. Long lines. Agonizing delays. Yes, business travel is rife with obstacles, so the last thing a professional woman needs is for her own purse or bag to make life on the road any more adventurous.

Mrs. Brown M&M®(Photo: Courtesy of M&M'S®)

When it comes to preparing for an important flight, it’s not enough to pack light – you need to pack smart. Taking a savvy approach to your luggage and carry-ons can make any work trip easier to stomach. That’s why we turned to a true expert in living life from a bag, M&M’S® Ms. Brown, who recently stepped out of her corner office where she served as Chief Chocolate Officer for 70 years, for her tips to help businesswomen prepare for travel more effectively.

It’s OK to think small. A woman needs her toiletries, but Ms. Brown warns that over-stuffing a carry-on bag with bulky liquids, gels or aerosols is a surefire way to have a problem. “You always see travelers tossing large bottles of face wash, moisturizer or even toothpaste in the trash at security checkpoints,” says Ms. Brown. “That’s bad for your wallet – and even worse for your hygiene!” Ms. Brown opts to pour her favorite products in travel-size containers (roughly 3-ounces or less) and stores them together in a 1-quart ziplock bag in her carry-on. “If you just can’t survive without a big bottle of fancy shampoo or conditioner, you’ll need to keep them in checked luggage,” Ms. Brown says, quickly adding, “Of course, that’s not a problem I run into personally.”

Don’t just save your receipts, store them. Business travelers rack up expenses, and organizing mounting piles of receipts on the go is no easy task. “Your purse is not a cash register drawer, it shouldn’t be overflowing with loose receipts,” says Ms. Brown. Her solution: Store receipts in one standard mailing envelope in your purse or carry-on bag. “That way you don’t lose receipts – or any friends in your company’s accounting department when you hand over incomplete expense reports,” Ms. Brown says.

Ease the (hunger) pain of travel. “I like to work in the airport or on long flights, but it’s hard to concentrate when your stomach’s growling,” Ms. Brown cautions with a chuckle. Her answer for hunger? Bringing finger foods on flights. She advises keeping small, portable snacks in your carry-on to satisfy cravings on the road. “I usually recommend the delicious milk chocolate of M&M’S®,” says Ms. Brown. “Of course, I’m a tad biased.”

The woman knows how to pack!

Lord, who has the job to develop these M & M personalities, looks, and back story? Are they hiring? Can you imagine how cool it would be to make some truly subversive, kick ass M & Ms?

Seriously, what would happen if half of the imaginary characters in kids movies and products were female? Even non-creative people would be forced to make some effort to move out of gender stereotyping.

Please go to M & Ms Facebook page and ask them to stop sexualizing food marketed to kids.

Gendering kids food: M & Ms keep females in minority and in high heels

Until last month, there was just one lone female M & M. The green one.

Then just before the Superbowl Time Magazine reported on the debut of another, bringing the female-male ratio to 1: 3:

“M&Ms already has characters based on the other colors in its candy rainbow (red, yellow, blue, orange and green), but until now the candy has gone largely male-centric. Green has been the lone female. Brown will join her, with high heels in full view.”

I suppose we grateful she’s not Mrs. Brown and that she’s wearing glasses. I hope with those pumps that it’s before Labor day.