UPDATE: Huffington Post has picked up the story! Yay!
Synergy! 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 only 10 female character balloons in its entire history. That’s only 8%. (Tell us about it.)
So now Hardy Girls Healthy Women and SPARK have launched a social media petition asking Macy’s CEO, Terry J. Lundgren, to commit to building an equal number of female characters balloons into the parade line-up. We are delighted to join with them in spreading the word. Click the Petition tab, sign it, and text PETITION to 61827.
We also thought it would be interesting to do a quick straw poll on which female character balloons people would like to see. The petition lists 10 possibilities, which we’ve included in our poll below. We’ve also added in 8 more possibilities with an eye towards the kind of thing we know Macy’s is looking for. Our own experience (see EVE’s Great American Heroines balloon project) has taught us that Macy’s balloons are almost always animated characters from major studios with big merchandise tie-ins. That’s because the fee to be in the Macy’s parade is astronomical. The popular characters we chose for the poll even include a couple of Disney princesses—and yes, I know a lot of people think Disney princesses are just about the worst possible role models for girls. They’re not all bad, though: many feminists of my acquaintance grew up loving Belle and are now happily introducing their daughters to Princess Tiana. And realistically, Disney has more money to put behind female characters than just about anybody.
You can select as many in the poll as you like (pictures of all are at the bottom), and tell us in the comments if you’d like to see others.
ADDENDUM: 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.
Dora the Explorer
Susan B. Anthony
Rosie the Riveter
Great ideas! Actually Dora is already a balloon — one of the 10 female balloons:
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.
Seems a shame that in both lists there are no Native American or Latina female characters chosen. I know Disney has a franchise with Pocahontas, but there are others to consider as well. Such a rich varied heritage that has been marginalized so often that we subconsciously neglect it, benignly perhaps. Probably due to some deep sense of guilt for the centuries of shameful mistreatment they all have suffered, yet only some endured.
Dora the Explorer is a Latina, and she’s already a balloon. So at least there’s one! Disney’s version of Pocahontas is very controversial, particularly with Pocahontas’s living relatives among the Powhatan Indian groups.