March 15, 2011 by EVE · Comments Off
There was a terrific write-up about EVE in the Topeka Capital-Journal last weekend. Most of the article is about our Amelia Earhart statue project, but the reporter also devoted some space to our balloons:
The Kansas statue is the second Earhart-related project for EVE. The organization has launched a line of giant parade balloons featuring famous American women — with Earhart leading the way.
The balloon, which depicts Earhart in her red Lockheed Vega, made its debut at the Circle City Parade on Oct. 2 in Indianapolis. Scoggins said the balloon, which has a 45-foot wing span, may make an appearance July 4 at the National Independence Day Parade in Washington.
The balloon likely will not make a stop in Earhart’s hometown. Pregont said she was unsure if Atchison has “the capability to get it down our streets.”
“But any publicity with Amelia Earhart is great for Atchison,” she added.
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. …continue reading
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"
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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