Activism, Feminism

Some post for Weetabix – it’s pretty, pink and Barbie-based

21 March, 2013

Dear Weetabix

You *may* get some intriguing post tomorrow. It is a creative response to your most recent, most uncreative latest advert. Yep, the one in which the superhero lad plots to save the day while the young girl busies herself prettifying her pink bedroom and re-arranging her dolls.

Yes, THAT one, with the gender stereotypes that belong to the era of your inception, 1932. Welcome, friends, to 2013 – here you will find that most parents HATE these limiting roles.

Here, not all little girls are doll-obsessed, and some of them want to grow up to change the world too. Pink is a colour that belongs to all children, and not every little boy wants to climb and fight.

When I see adverts like yours I despair. How is it possible this kind of repressed perspective is still out there? Let alone boldly stalking amongst us promoting Flakey Morsels of the Dawn to young children.

When I feel this gutted about the state of the world I have to act. I firstly tweeted, then I sent you an email. But all afternoon I have been feeling the need to do something more, to really try and make you see how sickening this stereotyping is.

So I popped a little something in the post for you.

Sexist Weetabix post

I am not sure how my protest- post will go down. For the ten minutes I spent writing the letter and packaging her up I thought it was a bit funny and clever, that postpeople along the way might think “Oooh, what sexist antics have Weetabix been up to?” I hoped it might just grab your attention and prompt a response from you.

And then, I have to admit, as soon as I saw her feet disappear into the mouth of the letterbox I suddenly wondered if you might think it sent by a Barbie-maiming psycho- that it might even contain Anthrax. (It doesn’t, promise.)

Barbie Mail Protest

I’m not a Barbie-maiming psycho, just an irate mum who is utterly sick and tired of having her young daughter put in these boxes by big companies. With the huge amounts of money you throw into marketing, you are EXTREMELY influential in how our children define themselves.

I may do all I can to help Ramona celebrate all colours, to find joy in millions of kinds of toys, but if she is bombarded every day by images that tell her girls should like one thing and boys another, my own nurturing counts for little.

We are massive fans of Weetabix in this household (only in non-porridge season, OBVIOUSLY!) but until this ad is placed on the Shameful Shelf of Relics where it belongs we will not be buying your slightly-tasteless-but-still-somehow-delectable breakfast.

Barbie Mail Weetabix Gender Protest

I look forward to your response.

Yours Sincerely,

Lucy, and Ramona, and also every cereal-munching child in the world who deserves better.

PS- If any readers want to contact Weetabix and share their own disappointment you can do that here.

PPS I’d hate for you to miss a post… enter your email to get them pinged into your inbox. I won’t be spamalot, promise!


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50 Comments

  • Reply Anna Simmonds 21 March, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Haha, this is fantastic! As someone who loved my toy cars as a little girl and would regularly let Barbies befall horrible Godzilla-related fates, I love your response.

    I wonder if they’ll reply? :)
    Anna Simmonds recently posted…I craft because I am (a woman)My Profile

  • Reply Raych 21 March, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Lol!i haven’t seen the advert,but look forward to it!We had a sales assistent offer a balloon to my youngest today,but told him he could choose from yellow or blue-the pink one was for girls!!!As if people still think like this!it’s rather worrying really.Xx

  • Reply Liz Burton 21 March, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    You crease me up!

    I’ve not seen the advert but no doubt will be as outraged as you when I do.

    Now, please, please hide behind the post box, throw your voice and shout “help, help” until the postie comes to empty it.
    Liz Burton recently posted…New Toy Ranges from SchleichMy Profile

  • Reply eehbahmum 21 March, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Yuk, yuk, yuk
    here’s a linky to all the people involved
    http://www.campaignbrief.co.uk/2013/03/bbh-london-use-sibling-rivalry.html
    you might want to send the guys at BBH something…like a calendar – it would appear they’re so far ahead of the curve they’ve actually gone back in time.
    eehbahmum recently posted…Top Ten Days Out in London For Crawling BabiesMy Profile

  • Reply Bek @ WeAreWildThings 21 March, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    If you want a replacement Doves Farm do some very similar ‘whole-wheat cereal biscuits’ (we switched a while back and Kit hasn’t noticed the difference!). :)
    Bek @ WeAreWildThings recently posted…The Gruffalo’s ChildMy Profile

  • Reply Valerie 22 March, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Lou! You are fab. I have mentioned that I am REALLY struggling with this very issue right now, because my pink, sparkly, fairy, tiara, dress loving son is pushing hard to be what he wants to be. I WISH the world had caught up with your thinking already. I wonder what will happen? I haven’t seen the ad and I wont be seeking it out, but from your descriptive I wholeheartedly concur.
    Val
    xxx
    Valerie recently posted…Oh SpringMy Profile

  • Reply Michele 21 March, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I love this! Good for you!

    My son is four and my husband and I have done our best to raise him with as many gender neutral toys as possible; with the idea that there is no such thing as a “boy toy” or a “girl toy.” He has cars and dolls. He loves Hello Kitty and Spider Man and often HK and Spidey have adventures together!

    It is tough to break the gender stereotypes and, in some respects, I think it is harder for boys. If a girl plays with cars, she is a cute “tom boy.” If a boy plays with dolls he is a “sissy” or “momma’s boy” or other such term with very negative connotations.

    I’m glad there are other parents out there fighting the good fight.

    (Hi. I’m new to your blog–I googled “no shampoo” a few days ago and your blog was one of the first on the list. I’m enjoying your posts.)

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 22 March, 2013 at 9:53 am

      I really agree, I think it is hard on them both but at least girls would only get negative feedback from peers- boys who like “girls” stuff will find themselves bombarded by adults too I’m afraid.
      Good on you for doing all you can :)
      Lucy recently posted…Some post for Weetabix – it’s pretty, pink and Barbie-basedMy Profile

  • Reply Jo T 21 March, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    That is NOT what I bought that Barrie for.

    Brilliant Lu and Ramona. Proud again.

  • Reply Amy Timms 21 March, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Awesome!

  • Reply Heather 21 March, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    *CHEERS* Well done you. I’m extremely tempted to get hold of a Barbie of my own and send a similar message. Well done you.

  • Reply Heather 21 March, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Obviously I am so tired that “we’ll done you” seems such a great phrase I feel compelled to repeat it. Bedtime methinks…

  • Reply Sarah 21 March, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    This is fabulous :) The advert is vile. I kept expecting someone to pop up and say *joke* but sadly they didn’t. Even when they showed the girl writing – it had to be in a pink diary and about a boy (and how old is she?? surely too young to be “hearting” boys) – have sent them an email via their website – link can we found on twitter if you search “weetabix”

  • Reply Thalia Kehoe Rowden 21 March, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
    Thalia Kehoe Rowden recently posted…Education and Schooling #7: Malala’s PerspectiveMy Profile

  • Reply Allie Jane Young 22 March, 2013 at 6:12 am

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get those men in suits and designers told!!!!!! Mind you that is the best thing for a barbie doll!!!!!

  • Reply Sarah 22 March, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Well said, Lucy; I completely agree with you. And I love your postal protest, too. Hurrah!

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 25 March, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Thanks Sarah :) Hope I hear back from them :)

      • Reply Sarah 25 March, 2013 at 1:27 pm

        I’ve emailed them (via their website), now. Hope they think twice next time.
        Sarah recently posted…Book News: Mine!My Profile

        • Lucy
          Reply Lucy 27 March, 2013 at 12:41 pm

          GOOD ON YOU!

  • Reply Jen aka The Mad House 22 March, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I have to say I am with Michelle on this. My boys both had pink prams and dollys when they were younger and the amount of people that commented that I was turning them in to “sissies” was unbelievable!

    Unfortunately children figure the colour and gender stereotyping very early and even though I raised by boys not to mind, Maxi aged eight had a fit in Disney as he got a princess cup and people had been calling him a girl cause of his long hair. A lot of it is down to parents saying things to their children.

    I bring lots of pink in to this house of boys!
    Jen aka The Mad House recently posted…Spring clean the clutterMy Profile

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 25 March, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Yeah, parents can be unthinking too, eh? A friend was saying how she was at a chum’s house and their little girl came along in fancy dress and said “I’m a Doctor” and the MUM corrected her “Nope, you be a NURSE darling, you are a girl!” Oh, geez, I just about wept hearing that!

    • Reply Michele 25 March, 2013 at 12:47 pm

      I get the most grumbles from my family, of all thIngs! From the start of my pregnancy, my husband and I discussed the way we wanted to raise our child, boy or girl. One of the major things we were firm about was trying to be as gender neutral as possible. . . That and no guns or army or other such violent toys. When the boy popped out, my father and aunts and uncles were SHOCKED about our no gun rule. “Litle boys NEED to play with guns! They have to play ‘cops and robbers’ and ‘cowboys and indians!’ How can you deprive him of such things??”

      We live in the US. In Connecticut. In a town 10 minutes away from Newtown/Sandy Hook. After four years of fighting with my family, they finally understood, or at least agreed with, our stand against violent toys.

      Stereotypes stink and we’re doing everything we can to break out of the box

      • Lucy
        Reply Lucy 25 March, 2013 at 1:13 pm

        Oh my word. For real?

        The day after Sandy Hook we were in the park and a little boy was with his parents and grandparents, wielding a huge toy AK47 thing. I was just utterly gobsmacked.

        :(

  • Reply Mary 22 March, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    You’re right, that advert is detestable. It also makes kids in general look horrible and i hated the vile sibling rivalry it’s pushing too. We changed the ending so they shared it half and half – why couldn’t wetabix be a bit more creative in their thinking?

    We also HATE HATE HATE the stupid ad at the start of Peppa Pig, which our daughter watches at least ten times a day, due to the watching of endless reruns and the five-minute nature of the programme (a little girl playing with dolls and prancing around pretending to go to the ball). We try and wind it forward but somehow it still seems to make an impact. Compounded by the equally sexist mature of the one they used to show of little boys playing with dinosaurs.. WHEN were these ad-people born???

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 25 March, 2013 at 11:15 am

      Oh, haven’t seen that PP advert (don’t know how I have managed to miss it!!)
      It is just so incredibly lazy to lean on sterotypes like this.

  • Reply Lady Demelza 23 March, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Well, I totally agree with you and think you’re just WONDERFUL – as usual. But I also found the final scene of that ad a bit of worry for different reasons. The girl agrees that the boy has won their argument, but takes the weetabix anyway because ‘the biggest is always the winner.’ This is an attitude that we see wreaking havoc and causing suffering to disadvantaged people everywhere. It’s easily just as bad as the gender war issue.
    There’s a good chance that that little boy could grow up to be bigger, taller and physically stronger than his older sister. Then, is she going to accept that he can win every argument and take anything he wants for the rest of their adult lives?
    Lady Demelza recently posted…on the Unbearable Pain of Being AliveMy Profile

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 25 March, 2013 at 11:14 am

      YES AND YES! What an appalling, damaging perspective. Yet another implicit value that out children will be picking up on.

  • Reply Daeminimon 23 March, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Rach S pointed me in your direction after a posted a ranty Facebook status about this horrid advert. After spending a lot of time reinforcing “soft hands” with my son, I was devastated to see an advert where a boy could be quite frankly violent towards the horribly stereotyped girls, and towards the dog!
    Yup, my son quite likes Spider-Man (thanks, nursery…), but he equally loves Peppa Pig, Hello Kitty and all things sparkly, and that a company would make an advert like this in 2013 saddens me to no end.
    Thanks for a great blog, I’ll be following from now on!

    • Lucy
      Reply Lucy 25 March, 2013 at 11:11 am

      You are so right, there is SO much unthinkingness in this advert. Seriously. Have they never heard of a parent focus group? Mad. Love your blog too. x

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  • Reply Libs 5 May, 2013 at 9:09 am

    YES!

    This ad had me screaming at the telly.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

    Bring on the barbie maiming psychos

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