The Sexualization of Green

I enjoy most M&M commercials. They’re often cute and clever and nothing says fun like anthropomorphized chocolate candies. But lately, I’ve become annoyed at the very obvious differences between Green, the only female-gendered M&M (to my knowledge), and, say, Yellow or Red.

Yellow and Red are often shown chumming around. Yellow’s rather oafish and a bit slow. Red’s snarky and sarcastic. Their interaction is probably stereotypical in its own right – see the hypothermia commercial, which is about the only one where their gender is essential, and even then it’s not about sex. Countless other classic commericals, though, are simply cute and funny: Ice cream treats and what are you eating? are decent examples of the comedic duo Yellow and Red are supposed to be and the Addams Family commercial is classic – I am always impressed with how much that one looks like Uncle Fester. I’m sure if M&Ms are available in your country, you can think of countless other harmless, fun commercials – the “this is the day” campaign is catchy and always a favorite.

Now we’ll take a look at some commercials in which Green’s the star. Take the cat-calling commercial , which highlights the phenomenon of a woman being “appreciated” on the street. It’s saved a little bit by having a woman also ogle Green, and Green’s sassy comeback, but ultimately the ad makers had to use Green here, because everyone knows people will not whistle and make inappropriate remarks at a male-gendered M&M. Take the Megan Mullally commerical as another example – the only intances of sexualization involve Megan herself (and not in an overt way, more in a showtunes kind of way) and Green, who is described as a “chocolate beauty queen”.

The one that really got me peeved was the most recent ad for M&M Premiums, in which Green struts around as if she’s in a soft porn, with a sexy woman reading the voice over. Again, when the message is that eating chocolate is a sensual affair, the go-to gal is Green. The guys, meanwhile, are the ones filming her and their reaction is … well, I don’t know what to say about it.

Green also gets sexualized internationally. I stumbled across a few examples on YouTube: Green Eye Candy, Green Naked (this one isn’t sexy, per se),  and an, uh, interesting music vid in which Green is the object of objectification for Yellow and Red.

The differences aren’t subtle here. Even the music played in Green’s commercials cues the audience to think chocolate = sex, whereas the other M&M commercials suggest playfulness and fun. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Green is gendered female and is used in a surprisingly blatant way (for chocolate candy, anyway).

I don’t know if I can ever look at M&Ms the same way again.

Comments

  1. Richard Crawford says

    I first saw this particular Green M&M commercial over the weekend while visiting my sister-in-law in Seattle. It was definitely disturbing, made even more so by the fact that it was aired immediately after one of Dove’s self esteem ads. I really didn’t want to think about what sort of mixed messages my 7-year-old niece would have gotten if she’d seen those two ads run in sequence. (Fortunately she was in bed at the time.)

  2. says

    I have an art book which is full of lovely pictures of male nudes by John Singer Sargent, which were lost for many years because his family hid them because they felt they were embarrassing. Some of them are preliminary studies for some of his public art, but many of them are just sketches, life drawing class style.

    The commentary in the book is however unreliable: the author claims that they were considered suspect orientationwise because there was no tradition of drawing/painting male nudes at the turn of the century. This is patently incorrect, as anyone with the slightest background in art, or in Gilded Age pop culture can attest. (My high school has both male and female nudes over the main doorway – it was put up in 1920.)

    The problem isn’t that there are male nudes in these studies, it’s that they’re almost all posed in ways that typically only female models are depicted. They loll about like odalisques, they stand “coyly,” they are shown in passive poses, instead of in the typically-he-manly stances of male nudes by artists of the day, shown fighting or preparing to fight or in the aftermath of the fight, or doing other vigorous manly things like reaping or climbing or forging but not sprawling exposed and pretty, not in closeups on their hips and buttocks and groins or nipples, with faces and hands and feet hidden.

    But the author of the commentary could not bring himself to acknowledge that this was the difference between other existing male figure studies of the era, and Sargent’s – could barely bring himself to acknowledge that there was eroticizing going on, even while that was the whole subject of the book, let alone to acknowledge that there has always been this double standard in the treatment of male and female nudes.

    It’s funny, because whenever I’ve drawn a role-reversal putting a male figure into a stereotypically feminine pose/costume, I get all these comments telling me that I’m cheating, that I’m making the male characters softer and less masculine, even when I can demonstrate that I’m not, with overlays. (Likewise, showing male characters as accurately 3-dimensional has gotten me accusations of exaggeration and copying Tom of Finland, never mind that you can disprove that just by looking at bikers or rockers in their tight jeans!) It’s just that we are so used to seeing women sexualized – and never portrayed in a non-eroticized (and that in a highly-restricted mode, no less) way, that any equivalent sexualizing of a man reads as “feminine”…

  3. MJ says

    I don’t see a lot of commercials, thanks to my aging ReplayTV unit (the last DVR with automatic commercial skip–the company got sued over that, got sold, and is now owned by DirecTV). However, I always thought that the sexualization of Green was because of the old urban legend that the green ones are aphrodisiacs. [NOTE: Snopes backs me up on that: http://www.snopes.com/risque/aphrodisiacs/mandms.asp

    I don’t know why they decided that the best way to get that across was to make her female, but it’s probably because all they have to work with on an animated M&M are facial features and clothes: the exaggerated lips and eyelashes and high heels are enough to say sexy, whereas adding exaggerated male features (say, pumped-up pecs and facial hair) to an M&M would be even MORE disturbing than that ad campaign already is… although I suppose they could have done it with a mustache and sunglasses and a sort of vague accent. Who knows what advertisers think is sexy, anyway?

  4. sbg says

    It was definitely disturbing, made even more so by the fact that it was aired immediately after one of Dove’s self esteem ads. I really didn’t want to think about what sort of mixed messages my 7-year-old niece would have gotten if she’d seen those two ads run in sequence.

    You’re beautiful as you are, but you’d be even more beautiful if you acted/dressed sexily.

  5. sbg says

    However, I always thought that the sexualization of Green was because of the old urban legend that the green ones are aphrodisiacs.

    I’ve never heard that before in my life. It would help explain things, but the ads still perplex me greatly.

    I don’t know why they decided that the best way to get that across was to make her female, but it’s probably because all they have to work with on an animated M&M are facial features and clothes: the exaggerated lips and eyelashes and high heels are enough to say sexy, whereas adding exaggerated male features (say, pumped-up pecs and facial hair) to an M&M would be even MORE disturbing than that ad campaign already is…

    I’m not ready to let it go with the “but what else could they do?” defense. Honestly, I don’t know why, if this is an urban legend kind of thing, they felt they had to address something so obscure at all. (I can’t be the only one clueless about it.) It’s chocolate.

    Though if you look at other chocolate ads, when the company is going for a sensual experience it’s almost always with a female actor and a female voice over.

  6. Genevieve says

    Sexualized anthropomophized cartoon food is creepy, period. This commercial wins extra points on the creepy scale for its sexism, but by far the creepiest commercial in the genre is the Chips Ahoy one where the (male) cookie sings the “if you want my body and you think I’m sexy” song to a human woman. People should not be sexually attracted to food. Think of a less creepy marketing strategy. Ugh.

  7. Scarlett says

    Sexualisation of cartoons, food and childreen, even in the most can’t-take-it-seriously way disturbs me more than serious adult stuff BECAUSE the producers then hide behind the excuse of ‘you’re not MEANT to take it seriously’. Whereas in reality I think stuff like that is what gets people started down that road, thinking it’s OK to sexualize women because they’ve been exposed to it in cartoons and commercials when they were young.

    I watched Alien yesterday. In a Polish voiceover. I could figure out enough to remember that Ripley rocked.

  8. sbg says

    Sexualized anthropomophized cartoon food is creepy, period. This commercial wins extra points on the creepy scale for its sexism, but by far the creepiest commercial in the genre is the Chips Ahoy one where the (male) cookie sings the “if you want my body and you think I’m sexy” song to a human woman. People should not be sexually attracted to food. Think of a less creepy marketing strategy. Ugh.

    I thought the Chips Ahoy ads were awful when it was just the singing cookies in a convertible, each one getting snatched by a Big Giant Hand. Ad execs: First, let’s have the audience be amused and charmed by our singing cookies. Once people are lured in, lets murder those cookies!

    Yikes.

    But I have seen the Rod Stewart commerical and it leaves me feeling confused and queasy. Nabisco probably didn’t intend that, and yet…how is a woman getting ready to make sweet, sweet love with a cookie not disturbing?

  9. sbg says

    Whereas in reality I think stuff like that is what gets people started down that road, thinking it’s OK to sexualize women because they’ve been exposed to it in cartoons and commercials when they were young.

    They see it everywhere. It’s so ingrained in society, it appears to be normal and acceptable.

    I like Green. She’s sassy and smart. Why does she have to be the stereotypical sexpot, too?

  10. says

    I’d never heard the green aphrodisiac story, either. I would’ve expected the sexy female to be red because there’s such an association between red and sex (and women as a sex class, i.e., prostitutes with red lights and red dresses).

    It does explain their impulse, but I agree that it’s not a defense. When I think of sexy, I think of men because that’s my orientation. The fact that we all accept “sex = women” means we’re all seeing the entire culture through the eyes of the heterosexual white men – to the extent that when we look at ourselves, we generally do so as white men looking on.

  11. sbg says

    It does explain their impulse, but I agree that itâ??s not a defense. When I think of sexy, I think of men because thatâ??s my orientation. The fact that we all accept â??sex = womenâ?? means weâ??re all seeing the entire culture through the eyes of the heterosexual white men – to the extent that when we look at ourselves, we generally do so as white men looking on.

    For the life of me I can’t remember where, but recently I heard the old standard “women naked are beautiful, men naked are ew!” argument. That one always gets me, because for me it’s simply not true. As a heterosexual woman, I definitely see beauty in a nude male form (not just the manly poses, but also the sprawled and pretty – as bellatrys was kind enough to highlight). I also see beauty in a nude female form.

    It makes me wonder if most men simply cannot acknowledge another man’s beauty in any way that isn’t full of slap-your-teammate’s-tight-end machismo?

  12. MJ says

    Well, I didn’t really mean my comment as a defense of the ad campaign. Sorry if it read that way.

    You might have to be over a certain age to remember the green M&M legend. It was big when I was in high school in the mid-80s… and I’d bet that the people who conceptualized that campaign are about my age. My generation seems to be particularly prone to creating really stupid, ineffective ads.

  13. sbg says

    Well, I didn’t really mean my comment as a defense of the ad campaign. Sorry if it read that way.

    You didn’t. I was just imagining that was probably very much what the ad makers used as logic.

  14. MaggieCat says

    I would’ve expected the sexy female to be red because there’s such an association between red and sex (and women as a sex class, i.e., prostitutes with red lights and red dresses).

    The psychological effects of colours are a bit different when it comes to food. I’ve seen a couple of studies* where they specifically analyzed the effect of colour on appetite, and red is the one that triggers hunger the best and yellow was second IIRC. (It’s why you see red, yellow, and orange so often in fast food franchises.)

    So I’m guessing that when they decided to create the initial campaign back whenever, red was the obvious first choice and male default kicked in for the character. I remember the Red and Yellow commercials running for some time before Green showed up (and that story MJ mentioned was still kicking around when I was in h.s. in the mid ’90s, so it’s not totally dead) which I guess is when they decided they need A Girl. Clearly you don’t need more than one Girl since we’re all the same.

    (*Take all of that with a grain or pound of salt though since it isn’t just a soft science, it’s downright squishy.)

  15. Lucy says

    Great post and comments. It seems to me that the general convention of chocolate advertising, as sbg says in comment #5, is to portray it as a sexy, sensual experience for women. The “genius” of such ads is that they can easily appeal to men, too, because they usually feature a woman writhing around or licking her lips or generally functioning as a sex object. So women can enjoy chocolate, and men can enjoy women enjoying chocolate, and even eat it themselves, safe in their masculinity. I guess M&Ms just make this more obvious by adding the blokey due of Yellow & Red, hetero buddies, to appeal to men, and Green to appeal to the women. And also to men. M&Ms get to have it both ways, because Green is the woman who takes pleasure in chocolate (especially in that Premiums ad), while Yellow and Red (and the viewing audience) get to take pleasure in her. And yet, women viewers also enjoy the antics of Yellow and Red, but I get the feeling we’re not supposed to. Women are supposed to relate to chocolate as a sensual, pleasurable, sex-replacement experience, but only because men want us to, so that they can watch. Meanwhile, for men, chocolate can be a bit girly unless you’ve got a wisecracking buddy or need to consume it for extra calories for EXTREME SPORTS (as the Mars Bar ads from my Australian childhood always suggested).

  16. says

    For the life of me I can’t remember where, but recently I heard the old standard “women naked are beautiful, men naked are ew!” argument.

    sbg, I HATE that attitude too. (I ran into it recently looking for articles on sculpture, too.) It is (mostly) recent, too, because throughout history male artists have been producing male nudes in all media for an overwhelmingly-male audience of art patrons. Twentieth-century-American male angst over being thought gay has wrecked a lot of culture.)

    But honestly, how do these men ever expect to get laid, if they keep telling us how hideous and unsexy they are? And no, that’s not a joke: part of the reason I’m not very heterosexual is that 1) I was told this over and over and over again, that only women were sexy, that men were Not Beautiful and only female bodies were, as well as 2) that it was wrong for women to feel sexual desire for men, that only “nymphomaniacs” wanted men – normal women wanted “love” and babies and a secure home. I was taught to scrutinized women for sexual displays – in the name of chastising and avoiding “immodesty” – and not to look at men as sexual objects at all.

    Well, guess what, from adolescence the only men I personally have been attracted to, in art or IRL, are the ones who are most bishie. The first complete and overwhelming experience of knee-melting lust I ever had – was for a contralto in a local production of Sondheim – and I don’t even like Sondheim’s music! Of course when you’re raised a conservative Catholic, “I find girls more desirable than boys” is not something you can admit to yourself even – fun times indeed.

    The constant male denunciations of body hair don’t help: yes, they mean it’s only gross on women, but when you hear over and over again for decades that leg and armpit and arm and facial hair is “ew, gross!” it’s REALLY hard not to look at a hairy guy and think, “ew, gross!” I can get over it if there are enough other attractive features, but I can’t help thinking “Dude, razors are CHEAP!”

    Likewise, short hair on guys. Keep drilling into a kid from day one that only long flowing tossable hair is “sexy” on every tv ad (and likewise that short hair is ugly and unsexy) and that’s what she’s going to find sexy, surprise, surprise…

  17. says

    MJ, I remember hearing that drivel that green M&Ms were aphrodisiacs in high school in the early 80s too. Nobody knew where it came from. It was just another one of those things that made me think that kids from the Northeast were really, really dumb, and even more gullible than kids in the Southwest from which I had recently moved.

    Also, does anyone know the origin of the meme of the genderizing and the sexualizing of chocolate? You know, that women LUUUURVE chocolate and crave it even more than we crave shoes, because it stimulates “female sex hormones” somehow?

    IOW, utter gender-essentialist pseudoscientific illogical bullshit. It didn’t exist afaik until the mid-90s, and then it was everywhere, accepted as evolutionary gospel, with much male snickering, from Time magazine to Usenet. And plenty of women bought into it mindlessly, blithering that “I crave chocolate because I’m single and deprived,” or “I crave chocolate because I’m a woman,” not “I crave chocolate because humans have loved chocolate and sweets for millennia” just the way that many artists of my acquaintance blamed their personal fecklessness on being “right brained” and therefore more creative but incapable of remembering to take out the trash or not leave their keys in the car or any of a thousand absent minded behaviors that non artists indulge in every day. (Logic: it’s always a good thing…)

    Apparently I was the only one who remembered reading about how much WWII soldiers craved and hoarded their chocolate bars, and how until a few months earlier, nobody thought of chocolate as a gendered pleasure (men are more VISUAL! women more SENSUAL! unless we need it to work the other way round for our argument of the hour) and males seemed to eat just as much of it as females, just as beer wasn’t gendered male until afaik the late ’90s, but I could never pinpoint the origin of these memes to any single book or campaign, they were just everywhere like mold or ants.

    It was used as a good way to put down women on Usenet, at least, and silence female posters by sexualizing the discussion. “You like chocolate because you’re horny, hur, hur, don’t deny it, I bet you’re blushing, snicker!”

  18. says

    Re: Men and male beauty. My take on why men are so neurotic about finding beauty in the male form is that we are socialized very strongly and from a very young age to avoid anything that might call our masculinity into question at all. Appreciating another man’s physique? That could only mean that you’re gay. And since “gay” and “fag” are two of the most potent epithets that boys can hurl at each other, and because we learn early on that we must stay competitive with each other and avoid ridicule, we get really neurotic about this and try to avoid it.

    It’s nonsense of course. I personally think we, as men, can appreciate the male form without being gay, but that’s not how I was socialized as a boy and I still get twinges every now and then.

    Any way, that’s my take on it.

  19. sbg says

    (and that story MJ mentioned was still kicking around when I was in h.s. in the mid ’90s, so it’s not totally dead) which I guess is when they decided they need A Girl. Clearly you don’t need more than one Girl since we’re all the same.

    Hey, it’s probably still around. I’ve just never heard it before, so it must not have been very prevalent where I grew up. Or someone mentioned it once and I thought that it was dumb and moved on. ;)

    Ah, yes. All girls are the same. I don’t know why I keep forgetting that.

  20. sbg says

    Lucy aptly said:

    The “genius” of such ads is that they can easily appeal to men, too, because they usually feature a woman writhing around or licking her lips or generally functioning as a sex object. So women can enjoy chocolate, and men can enjoy women enjoying chocolate, and even eat it themselves, safe in their masculinity.

    I saw a Dove chocolate ad last night that made me boggle. I have to admit I’ve been too naive to even factor in the male appeal there, but it makes total sense now.

    Because personally, I don’t need a woman’s husky voiceover or to see a woman writhing around (often bare shouldered or implied naked with Dove, it seems) to buy chocolate. All I need to know is that it’s quality and tastes good.

  21. sbg says

    Bellatrys said:

    1) I was told this over and over and over again, that only women were sexy, that men were Not Beautiful and only female bodies were, as well as 2) that it was wrong for women to feel sexual desire for men, that only “nymphomaniacs” wanted men – normal women wanted “love” and babies and a secure home. I was taught to scrutinized women for sexual displays – in the name of chastising and avoiding “immodesty” – and not to look at men as sexual objects at all.

    Aha, I had you pegged as raised Catholic before I read the next paragraph. The ideology was too familiar. I remember my parents being so concerned about my younger sister, due to her “promiscuous” nature. She clearly needed saving for having an active and healthy sex life pre-marriage.

    I don’t think my parents ever even acknowledged any of my brothers’ sexual exploits.

  22. says

    Richard, yeah, I think that’s very true.

    Re: Bellatrys and SBG. What you guys are talking about – Bellatyrs’ conditioning to view women as lovely things that exist for sex and men as big ugly turds (and they say feminists hate men???), and SBG’s family concerns about the “promiscuous” sister paired with “Sons having sex? What? Didn’t notice, don’t care” – exemplifies beautifully how well the concept of women as the sex class is codified into our culture. That’s not terribly insightful of me – it just hit me as such a great example. Even though my family was Protestant, I so totally know what you’re both talking about. And it’s not just Christianity, of course. It’s not even just religion. A vagina is something to be used, and a penis is something that uses. A woman is supposed to inspire men to fuck, not to want to fuck, and not to mind being fucked even by someone repulsive. [This is why Nice Guys(tm) run around the web spouting venom at us bitchez for not sucking them off when there are more attractive, and therefore obviously evil, guys around. We're allowed to be discriminating as long as it's for the purpose of retaining our sale value as virgins, but once the seal's broken, we're supposed to ignore the sexually attractive guys (who can get virgins because they're so hot) and focus on servicing the unappealing who consider themselves NiceGuys and believe they are all entitled to sex with women no matter what they bring to the table.]

  23. sbg says

    Richard Crawford said:

    It’s nonsense of course. I personally think we, as men, can appreciate the male form without being gay, but that’s not how I was socialized as a boy and I still get twinges every now and then.

    Your take on it is pretty accurate, I’d imagine. I just think it’s a damn shame we as a society can’t seem to progress beyond this. :(

  24. says

    Aha, I had you pegged as raised Catholic before I read the next paragraph. The ideology was too familiar.

    What’s funny, sbg – in a twisted way, of course – is that neither side of my family actually was Catholic, culturally or doctrinally, until my parents decided to “rebel” by becoming authoritarian “traditionalist” Catholics, the way other people in the ’60s and ’70s became Buddhists or Hare Krishnas. My mother’s family were respectively atheist and genteel agnostic from an Episcopalian tradition – Christmas & Easter and maybe now and then, but nothing doctrinal, nothing at all hardcore about it. My father’s family were atheists who hadn’t darkened a church door since the Depression, coming from on the one hand an old Anabaptist heritage and the German freethinker tradition colliding in my grandfather’s family, and on the other, an Irish-Catholic childhood so fiercely rejected by my grandmother so early that I have come to suspect (there are a lot of contributing points of evidence supporting this) clerical abuse and family silence. They didn’t grow up in the pre-Vatican II Church that they embraced and valorized, and thus didn’t understand why people (like my grandmother) rejected it, even those who did so less violently than she.

    But in keeping with Jennifer’s point, they adopted the language of the pre-Vatican II “Morals For Youth” books because they fit so well with the mainstream, secular culture of America: my father raised by two atheist rebels (my grandmother was a rowdy hard-drinking chain-smoking and handsome woman in her younger years who had to be bailed sometimes for drunk & disorderly out by her kids, frex) nevertheless fully internalized the woman-as-temptress ethic that Hollywood of the ’60s so well portrayed, and my mother was happy to buy into the notion that by being “modest” and hiding in her home she could escape any harassment and it would be due to her superior virtue, unlike those foolish godless sluts out there in their miniskirts.

    When I was harassed in high school, despite being as covered up as an Amish girl, she brushed it off uninterested, telling me “All guys do that.” I started studying books on self-defense in the library basement and carrying illegal knives, and realized that I couldn’t talk to her about a damn thing and that she had become totally out of touch with reality, and the chinks of my rift with her brand of religious politics were laid – because if they were wrong about one thing (in this case, that only women who “Asked for it” by their immodest dress would be harassed) then what else?

    My father could never understand, despite all his telling us that All Men Only Want Sex and no man really cares about a woman’s personality, and warning us that we were in immanent danger of stranger rape whenever we went out by ourselves after dark, why my sisters and I began to dress more and more “like dykes” in his words – why we wore such baggy, dowdy or outre hippy/goth clothes, clompy boots, unfashionable messy short haircuts, hunched our shoulders to hide our breasts… “What’s wrong with you girls? Why can’t you be more ladylike?” right after going after one of us for our long skirts perhaps hugging a little too close to our hips…

    Oh, and this is interesting, from a while back – The Modesty Survey is a good sampling of the kinds of neuroses this madonna/whore mindset will lead to, and and the young men who put it together are Evangelical Protestants, not Catholics, from the West Coast.

  25. says

    It’s nonsense of course. I personally think we, as men, can appreciate the male form without being gay, but that’s not how I was socialized as a boy and I still get twinges every now and then.

    What I find funny, Richard, is that this seems to have only really gotten started after WWII. Buildings all over big cities and small in this country built up to the 20s and 30s have muscular unclothed men all over them – I have some wonderful bookmarks of the Art Deco style that are full of pictures of reliefs and mosaics and sculptures that would send John Ashcroft away shrieking for MOAR BLOO CURTINZ!!! but they don’t make them big enough to cover the whole facades of skyscrapers in NYC. And there’s this crazy ad out on the net somewhere for towels from WWII that has a painting – supposedly based on a real life incident – of naked GIs doing fan dances with palm leaves in a kind of rockette’s review as they bathe on a Pacific island…

    Nowdays you get all this “AAAH MY EYES!” privilegeboy screaming at the sight of a male chara even half as naked as any female character, which of course garners no sympathy from *me* but then everyone knows I’m a cast-iron bastard…

  26. says

    This is why Nice Guys(tm) run around the web spouting venom at us bitchez for not sucking them off when there are more attractive, and therefore obviously evil, guys around. We’re allowed to be discriminating as long as it’s for the purpose of retaining our sale value as virgins, but once the seal’s broken, we’re supposed to ignore the sexually attractive guys (who can get virgins because they’re so hot) and focus on servicing the unappealing who consider themselves NiceGuys and believe they are all entitled to sex with women no matter what they bring to the table.

    Jennifer, there is a horrifying logic to this. It does explain the ferocious resentment of both the “Jerks” – the more attractive, outgoing, popular men – and the “Girls” who keep going out with those more attractive men; if women are property, like cookies, then Fate is unfairly allocating too many to some and not enough to other people.

  27. JupiterPluvius says

    H’m. I’d never encountered anyone over about 12 who grew up in the US and hadn’t heard the “Green M&Ms make you horny!” joke/meme/urban legend/whatever before.

    Mars exploited the joke before it had the anthropomorphized characters, too. They’ve sold all-green bags of M&Ms in the past around Valentine’s Day, for instance, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen references to it in print advertising back in the 90s.

    So the green M&M is sexy because of the legend, I think. The question is, why does the “sexy” M&M have to be a) a woman, and b) such a Mae West-by-way-of-Bette Midler caricature?

  28. says

    Oh, don’t get me started on Evangelicals. People worry about the Taliban, and I’m like, “…yeah, have you talked to some Evangelicals about their plans for when they take over the US? Might want to do that sometime.”

  29. sbg says

    Mars exploited the joke before it had the anthropomorphized characters, too. They’ve sold all-green bags of M&Ms in the past around Valentine’s Day, for instance, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen references to it in print advertising back in the 90s.

    LOL, you can imagine my confusion about this, if I saw it. I’d never make the connection. AFAIK, I’ve only ever seen the red, white and pink bags of Valentine M&M’s. ;)

    So the green M&M is sexy because of the legend, I think. The question is, why does the “sexy” M&M have to be a) a woman, and b) such a Mae West-by-way-of-Bette Midler caricature?

    Exactly. :)

  30. Patrick says

    Jennifer:

    Oh, don’t get me started on Evangelicals. People worry about the Taliban, and I’m like, “…yeah, have you talked to some Evangelicals about their plans for when they take over the US? Might want to do that sometime.”

    You and me both. Evangelicals are one of the primary reasons I avoid talking about religion with anyone I don’t know well.

  31. Hayclearing says

    Never having heard this urban legend before, when I first saw that commercial many years ago I assumed “Is it true what they say about the green ones?” was some kind of generic catcall-slur.

    Which suddenly astonishes me, because WHY, EVER would ANY company approve marketing which can even CONCEIVABLY be interpreted that way?

    Talk about skeezy.

  32. sbg says

    Now I’m having flashbacks – I remember that ad now, and thinking “what the hell is that supposed to mean?”

    And I couldn’t agree more, Hayclearing. I don’t think it matters that the essence of green is based on a stupid urban legend … or maybe it matters too much. I’d be willing to bet when the brainiac behind the idea conceived it, there was no question the gender of green had to be female.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.