Yesterday, I blogged about how, except for the pink ghetto, female characters marketed to kids are usually shown as a minority. They are also sexualized. See the M & Ms below as a typical example. Ms. Brown, the new female M & M character, also shown in heels, is missing from this photo. You can see her here.
I wrote about how presenting females as a minority is dangerous because it normalizes invisible women. Adults stop noticing that girls have gone missing. So do kids.
Females are 51% of the population but we manage to make the illusion of a female minority real when it comes to power positions across America. At the top, women are stuck at 16%.
Where else are females a minority? In the imaginary world, a place where singing lions befriend warthogs, rats can cook, and toys come to life, where anything should be possible. So why is the animated world so sexist? Why do the female M & Ms have to be in the minority, wear high heels, and bat their eyelashes? Why is this OK with parents? What is this gender stereotyping teaching our kids?
A couple things happened after my blog yesterday.
I got even more than the usual amount of hate emails on SFGate: Who cares about M & Ms, I’m stupid, I’m ugly, I can’t write blah blah blah.
Then I saw on FB someone had blogged on About Face about the same sexualized M & Ms issue and was asked by her sister: who cares?
And finally, my daughter is turning three this week. When I went to Party City this morning, I was greeted at the door by a giant green M & M in go go boots. Every kid who walks in the store sees that. It is messed up. It’s no better than that cartoon Camel selling cigarettes to kids. Sexualizing girls is dangerous, and it needs to stop.
So, if you think the above picture is messed up, if you think female M & Ms should be allowed to wear sneakers and run around just like the males get to do, please go to M&Ms Facebook page. Ask M & Ms to stop sexualizing cartoon characters. It’s bad for kids.
Reel Girl rates M & Ms ***SSS*** for extreme gender stereotyping.