Today, we had Captain Crunch with crunch berries for breakfast. (Not the healthiest choice, I know, blaming my husband who loved the “food” as a kid.) There are no female mascots on children’s cereal. That’s right, zero. You may not think that’s a big deal but it’s one more space in kidworld where girls go missing. Children spend hours studying these cereal boxes and playing the games on them. They’re like newspapers for children, and just like newspapers for adults, males dominate the stories. What if there were no male mascots on children’s cereal? Do you think anyone would notice that?
A while back, in an effort to help my kids learn not to take missing females for granted, as something expected and normal, we invented a new game: Find the Girls on the Cereal Box. It’s actually fun because it’s challenging, and you can have some great discussions about what makes a boy a boy and a girl a girl, according to cereal box creators.
Try it yourself. Here’s my 5 year old daughter with the back of a box of Captain Crunch.
The answer is: 4 girls and 9 boys including Captain Crunch on this box. The photo is not great, and details are key so don’t be too hard on yourself if you got it wrong.
Here’s a close up of the girls we found.
Girl #1 is a girl because her hair is pink, has long curls, and she has eyelashes.
Girl #2 also has…. pony tails and eyelashes! She’s our favorite because she’s winning the race. That’s pretty cool and almost makes it forgivable that there are more than twice as many boys than girls on this box. Almost. But see, that’s the thing: girls are allowed to win sometimes in kidworld as long as they are shown in the minority and their power is sufficiently circumscribed.
Girl #3 is the smallest and hardest to find, discovered by my keen-eyed 8 year old daughter. We know this girl is a girl because… you guessed it: eyelashes and ponytails.
Girl #4: pony tail and eyelashes.
Play with your kids. Please, share your photos here or on Reel Girl’s Facebook page.