It’s 2015. In the United States, marriage equality exists for all people of all races of all sexual preferences. We’re changing the way we represent body image with endless campaigns and voices speaking up and pushing for the truth buried beneath a heavily edited image. We are nearing our seventh year of having our first black president. Hilary Clinton is a top presidential candidate for 2016. We’re trying. We’re always trying as a community to push the envelope and make things match up to our expectations of living in a country that cherishes being the land of the free and the home of the brave. But then a simple video reminds us that we still have so much unfinished business left to tackle.
Marketing company Anomaly and RSA Films teamed up to create a video they thought would simply garner some “cute” responses. They wanted to know what kids thought of a woman taking on the role of Santa Claus. You know, the holly jolly plump older caucasian gentleman with a white beard, a soft red suit, and a matching sack slung over his shoulder. Now, if you’re thinking… well, that’s a tricky question because marketers have created an image for children’s favorite holiday cheer that just so happens to be a man, then I get it. But these children’s answers weren’t one of perplexity, but one of downright bigotry.
If you haven’t gotten the gist, let me just lay it right on out there for you. Every single child said “no.” Or at least every kid they decided to showcase in the video.
Some of the responses? They were cringeworthy.
“It would be too heavy for a lady,” one little boy replied.
Another simply said, “For one, she would get lost in the sky.”
“She’d have to go to the gym,” another child responded as the video cuts over to a Gif of Emma Watson shaking her head. Watson is a beloved celebrity feminist whose 2014 speech to the United Nations was a breakthrough moment for the mainstreaming of the movement. Even Malala Yousafzai, the 18-year-old human rights and education powerhouse from Pakistan, told the British beauty she changed her mind about not describing herself as a feminist.
But then things turned to practicality. “I reckon the lady Santa will be much better ’cause she can fit down the chimneys quicklier,” a boy said. And another said she would be better at bossing around the elves.
If your head and neck are feeling a bit sore from all the shaking its doing in sheer disbelief, let me allow you to take a break.
A little boy and a little girl begin discussing their thoughts on a lady Claus:
“Santa’s stronger than the girl Santa,” the girl said.
“How do you know?” the boy asked. “Maybe the girl Santa might be like one of the strongest ladies in the world.” Then he says what we’ve all been wanting to say this entire time: “Girls aren’t any different than boys.”
The brief video makes me think…
There’s still a gender pay gap. We’re still fighting to “free the nipple.” Planned Parenthood was recently defunded. We’re still being shamed for breastfeeding in public. Sex trafficking of women and children is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the entire world, with the US Department of State estimating that between 14,500 to 17,500 people are trafficked in the United States every year. Women are still not guaranteed paid leave after giving birth.
Then there’s the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which seeks to end discrimination against women and create equality in everything including health care, education, political involvement, employment, and marriage. While the United States is a signatory to CEDAW, two-thirds of the Senate are required to ratify the treaty. Unfortunately, it’s never even made it to the Senate floor for a vote.
So, how do we work to change our children’s views of women and how they are represented in the world? Through our words, our actions, and a change in marketing techniques, we can make a difference. Let’s wrap this up already, because we all know a woman would make a fine Santa Claus.
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