Gender, Shopping, and Thanksgiving

Before I begin, I wanted to give a shout-out to Small Business Saturday.  Although I’m not encouraging you to buy anything for anyone, you might consider buying something from a small business this year.  Consider your local townies, OR nationally organized small businesses, such as Etsy.

Wouldn’t it be great if every day of this week could be a different shopping day?  Wednesday – buy local/organic food day, Thursday- Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, Used/Vintage Sunday, Fair Trade Monday.  Let’s make it happen people!


Back to Thanksgiving – Why’s it always gotta be a mom’s job to cook?  And clean?  And buy the damn presents?  Give some ladies a break.

Sociological Images posted an enlightening ad yesterday highlighting the gendering of Thanksgiving-themed cooking and cleaning in advertisements.  Check it out.  The text reads: “When you need a hand with holiday entertaining,” and shows a mom happily juggling her responsibilities as hostess, cook and cleaner.

Lisa Wade aptly pointed out, “But apparently those extra hands do not include kids and adult men (of course, those can’t be sold, so why would Bed, Bath, and Beyond bother).”


And this was just too coincidentally good to not re-post.

In her article, “Gender Inequality in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” Huffington Post writer Lilly Blau explains gender discrimination in the US’s most famous parade:

See, no women!

On November 10 of this year, Lynnette Long, president of Equal Visibility Everywhere–a not-for-profit charmingly acronymed EVE–published a blog on the astounding under-representation of female characters among the Macy’s parade balloons.

For a few key feminists, despite the holiday, it was a call to action.

In the 84-year, 129-character history of the parade, only 10 female characters have ever sailed down the avenues.

[Here are the 10 female character balloons Macy’s has already introduced: Olive Oyl, Raggedy Ann, Betty Boop, Sky Dancer, Petunia Pig, Cassie from Dragon Tales, JoJo the Clown, Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty, and Abby Cadabby.]

“Parade balloons are not a trivial issue,” said Long. “Every year millions of young girls eagerly attend Macy’s and other parades, only to look up and see nothing but male characters float by.”

Long concluded with a latent call for action: “Hopefully, one day, the parade skies of the United States will be filled with an equal number of male and female characters.”

EVE has created a petition to bring gender equality to the famous parade by 2012.  AND you can go to EVE’s website to vote for your favorite female balloons.  The leading lady is, of course, Purdue’s own Amelia Earhart.  I’m actually more partial to Miss Piggy and Wonder Woman.

So far EVE has flown the Amelia Earhart balloon in Indiana and Iowa – holla, Louisa!

1 Comment

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One response to “Gender, Shopping, and Thanksgiving

  1. loucakes

    aw thanks for the shout-out. i’ll be on the look-out for amelia earhart in the streets of iowa! i also am eager to learn more about EVE… i definitely believe that representational media informs our conceptual framework, so if we want dominant ideology to change, we have to change the representations around us. represent the change you wish to see in the world, so to speak.
    i’m also curious: has there ever been a float of a person of color?


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