Opinion: The “de-yassification” of the Green M&M was needed

By Farah Bassyouni Jan 28, 2022
Tucker Carlson (shown above) said “M&Ms will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous until you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them”(Daily News) Image from Wiki Commons
Tucker Carlson (shown above) said “M&Ms will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous until you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them”(Daily News)
Image from Wiki Commons

Have you ever been attracted to a piece of anthropomorphic candy? Yeah, me neither. In a world where capitalism reigns supreme, we now have to argue about whether candy should be sexualized or not. On January 20, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mars Wrigley announced that the company was updating their M&M characters to focus more on their personalities rather than an implicit gender. To do this, the Green M&M retired her gogo boots for more generic sneakers and the Brown M&M swapped her stiletto heels for more of a kitten block heel. 

Since then, the changes have caused quite a stir. The most memorable reaction has been from FOX News host, Tucker Carlson. Carlson went live on television to publicly slam the company’s decision and said that “M&Ms will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous until you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them”(Daily News).  Personally, I don’t get why anyone would want to have a drink with a made-up candy character, but that’s just me. The “de-yassifying” —“yassifying” refers to the glamorization of a person or object— of the green M&M has caused even more people to speak up, saying that the changes either heighten or weaken her femininity. 

Looking back on the company’s past marketing strategies, the Green M&M has always been sexualized. Since her premiere, M&Ms has used her sexuality excessively to market their candy. She has appeared on Sports Illustrated as a swimsuit model, been seen lounging on plush beds surrounded by rose petals and has even been “nude” on beaches and stripteased in front of the other characters. These suggestive commercials only add to the fact that the M&M company has never cared about using her sexuality to empower women, and merely changing her shoes won’t start that now. 

This move to make female characters seem more neutral with their counterparts has been recurrent throughout the past year. The most notable character that has been neutralized was Lola Bunny from the popular cartoon, “Looney Tunes”. In  2021, the remake of “Space Jam” showcased a reimagined Lola Bunny that had a much dampened sex appeal compared to how she was portrayed in the original film. Just like we’re seeing with the Green M&M, fans were outraged to see one of their favorite characters lose the overly-sexual appearance. 

In my opinion, everyone deserves to be seen in the media, but if you’re really going to argue that a piece of candy should keep her high heels and take her top off on sandy white beaches, I think that you’re arguing for the wrong reasons. Yes, characters should be able to be feminine and still be respected, but at the end of the day, they are just pieces of chocolate. The Green M&M is a powerful woman whether she wears boots or sneakers and at this point, everyone just needs to leave her alone.

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