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Lynette Long, Ph.D., President of EVE

UPDATE: Wednesday, November 24—see our new post with a petition to Macy’s and a poll on which female character balloons you’d like to see!


Holidash reports on the new balloons Macy’s will debut in this year’s parade:

The 84th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature two brand new balloons this year that are sure to delight kids of all ages — especially those in the tween set.

This Thanksgiving we’ll see character balloons from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Kung Fu Panda.”

…The Wimpy Kid balloon, a giant 3D version of Greg Heffley, the 2D middle schooler who stars in the wildly popular illustrated novels by Jeff Kinney, joins an elite group of children’s literary characters who have been made into Macy’s Day Parade balloons, including The Cat in The Hat, Curious George, Clifford and Arthur.

It’s a big holiday season for Po, better known as Kung Fu Panda, the superhero wanna be panda voiced by Jack Black in the 2008 Dreamworks animated film — he has his own 3D holiday TV special premiering this year on Nov. 24th, the day before Thanksgiving, as well as the debut of the Macy’s balloon on Thanksgiving day.

Macy’s will also showcase new balloons of Kaikai and Kiki, cartoon figures created by Japanese pop artist Takashi Murakami. And of special interest to us, Macy’s is also introducing a new balloon of a real live actual female human: Virginia O’Hanlon, the little girl whose letter prompted the famous reply, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

The new Virginia O'Hanlon balloon will be based on the animated film "Yes, Virginia"

The new Virginia O'Hanlon balloon will be based on the animated film "Yes, Virginia"

We’re glad to see this year’s new balloons feature both male and female characters. Last year all four of Macy’s new balloons were male: Sailor Mickey, Ronald McDonald, Spider-Man, and the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Macy’s has still had only 10 female balloons in its entire history.

Parade balloons are not a trivial issue. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade regularly has 2 million live viewers and 50 million television viewers. 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. While we applaud the inclusion of new female characters in this year’s balloon line-up, Macy’s still has a long way to go to achieve gender parity.

EVE’s Great American Heroines balloon project is committed to creating balloons that celebrate outstanding women in American history and culture. (Our first balloon is of Amelia Earhart, launched in October 2010.) We’re also encouraging parade planners to select and request more female characters from their balloon suppliers. Hopefully, one day, the parade skies of the United States will be filled with an equal number of male and female characters.

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7 Responses
  1. My $0.02: This Saturday in Shero News | Taylor Marsh – TaylorMarsh.com – News, Opinion and Weblog on Progressive Politics says:

    [...] to Shero news. From Lynette Long at Equal Visibility Everywhere: And of special interest to us, Macy’s is also introducing a new balloon of a real live actual [...]

  2. This Saturday in Shero News « The Confluence says:

    [...] to Shero news. From Lynette Long at Equal Visibility Everywhere: And of special interest to us, Macy’s is also introducing a new balloon of a real live actual [...]

  3. This Saturday in Shero News « Let Them Listen says:

    [...] to Shero news. From Lynette Long at Equal Visibility Everywhere: And of special interest to us, Macy’s is also introducing a new balloon of a real live actual [...]

  4. Hey Macy’s, Where are all the girl balloons? - Hardy Girls Healthy Women Blog says:

    [...] Check out this Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE) blog that highlights the problem: [...]

  5. Who do you want to see in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? : EVE | Equal Visibility Everywhere says:

    [...] The folks over at Hardy Girls Healthy Women saw Lynette’s recent blog post about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and were stunned to learn that Macy’s has had [...]

  6. Lily Blau: And You Thought You Had Thanksgiving Off: Gender Inequality in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade says:

    [...] 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. [...]

  7. Gender, Shopping, and Thanksgiving | Cultural Granola says:

    [...] 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 [...]