Did you know that over the 84-year history of the Macy's Day Parade only TEN of their giant helium balloons have depicted GIRLS or WOMEN? 2010 continues in the same fashion with the addition of character balloons from the popular book "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and movie "Kung Fu Panda." Two more cool and exciting boy balloons.
Check out this Equal Visibility Everywhere (EVE) blog that highlights the problem: http://equalvisibilityeverywhere.org/blog/the-macys-thanksgiving-day-parade/
The paltry selection of female characters includes, this year, Virginia (Based on the true story of Virginia O'Hanlon of "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus" fame). In years past we've seen: Hello Kitty, Abby Cadabby (2007), Dora the Explorer, JoJo (2005), Cassie from Dragon Tales (2000), Blue's Clues (1999), Betty Boop (1985), Raggedy Ann (1984), and Olive Oyl (1982).
But 10 in 84 years? Ten out of 129 total? Under 8%?!
Children need to see entertainment where females are visible and valued as much as males. In popular movies and on TV boys greatly outnumber girls. We know from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media http://www.seejane.org/, for example, that 28%, fewer than 1/3, of speaking characters (real and animated) in 101 top G-rated films from 1990 to 2005 were female. Such disparity conveys a message to all children about who is important and who isn't. We also know that when girls and women do exist in the media, they tend to be hypersexualized and valued for their appearance over their strength of character and capabilities.
The official Macy's Parade site tells us: "Every year, Macy's exciting holiday tradition is seen by more than 3.5 million people who line the streets in New York and another 50 million who tune into NBC to watch the giant balloons, one-of-a-kind floats, the nations best marching bands, hundreds of cheering clowns and a host of celebrities." Don't little girls, like little boys, deserve to see themselves reflected in the holidays? Shouldn't little boys see those girls too? Why aren't we all kicking off the holiday season with a celebration that includes a rich array of cool and exciting female as well as male characters?
More female characters do not mean more sexy characters. We know Macy's can find fantastic girls and women whose actions and accomplishments celebrate the power of girls in the 21st century!
SIGN THIS PETITION to tell Macy's you want half of all their parade balloons to be heroines for girls to look up to and cartoon characters that reflect their gender. Then send it to at least five of your friends to sign and send to five of their friends.