My four year old daughter loves Cheerios, and last night, my husband brought home a new box. Excited for breakfast this morning, we got it out. Here’s what we saw on the front: Shrek, Puss In Boots, and Donkey, 3 male characters from “Shrek.”
“Shrek,” a movie starring a male and titled for the male, has two sequels. Where is Fiona, Shrek’s co-star (though I admit that moniker is stretching it) on this package? Puss In Boots got his own eponymous spin off movie. Perhaps that’s why he made it on the DVD/ package? “Puss In Boots” is a buddy movie starring Puss’s frenemy, Humpty Dumpty. Kitty Softpaws is a great Minority Feisty in that film, but where is her own movie, titled for her? Have you ever heard of her? Do your kids remember who she is?
Besides “Shrek,” there are 3 other Cheerios collectible DVDs where we can “catch up with all our favorite DreamWorks characters.”
Unlike other cereal brands that have their own mascots, a cast of no less than 100% male characters, Cheerios borrows its crew from DreamWorks. But, apparently, these favorites don’t privilege females either, to say the least. “How to Train Your Dragon” pictures a boy and his male dragon, the two stars. We do see a girl riding bitch. Then, there’s “Kung Fu Panda” starring…Kung Fu Panda! And finally, Madagascar showing 6 male characters: the zebra, lion, and 4 penguins. Where is the hippo, the Minority Feisty in that movie?
Hippo does show up in the “fame game” on the reverse side of the box.
See, there she is down on the left. There are 8 characters and she is the only female. The game your kids play is “match each character to what they are famous for.” While characters are known for “Training the Furious Five” or “Being the Dragon Warrior,” what’s the hippo known for? “Loving a Giraffe.” No joke. Incidentally, my six year old daughter told me that hippo’s feelings are not reciprocated; giraffe never wants to dance with her.
See that little box to the right with the Croods character? He’s one the males from that movie too.
I write this a lot, but if this Cheerios box were one of many images kids see, it would not be a big deal. But again and again, kids see females go missing. It’s totally normal in their world. They don’t think anything of it and neither do we. But females are half of the population, so why are they presented as a tiny minority in kidworld practically everywhere outside of the Pink Ghetto? It’s an annihilation that acclimates a whole new generation to expect and accept a world where females go missing. Hey, Cheerios, can you make at least half of the characters on your box female? There’s no reason for the imaginary world to be sexist.