After seeing the public outcry over the Aunt Jemima logo being racist, I realized the image of Betty Crocker is sexist. It needs to be removed from all General Mills products, if you use the same logic.
It’s sexist to presume that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and that only women do the family cooking.
Washburn-Crosby started marketing flour labeled “Betty Crocker” in 1921. There was never a real woman named Betty Crocker, just as there was never a real woman named Aunt Jemima when that product debuted in 1889. The name Betty was selected because it was an all-American name, and Crocker was the last name of the company’s director. The company was acquired by General Mills in 1928.
The first portrait of Betty Crocker was commissioned in 1936. New York artist Neysa McNein blended the features of several members of the Home Service Department to create a motherly image, as described on The Betty Crocker Portraits website. The images of Betty Crocker were updated and modernized in 1955, 1965, 1969, 1972, 1980, 1986, and finally in 1996 for the 75th anniversary of the founding of Betty Crocker.
The facial features of that 1996 image is a computerized composite of 75 women found in a nationwide search for women of diverse backgrounds and ages. The image embodies the spirit of Betty Crocker: “enjoys cooking and baking; committed to family and friends; resourceful and creative in handling everyday tasks; and involved in her community.” How sexist can they be?
NPR reported that less than seven percent of chefs in American restaurants are women. With such a huge disparity in gender roles in restaurants, and with more men cooking at home, why haven’t food product companies kept up with the times?
So if the Betty Crocker logo is sexist and needs to reflect changing times, what about changing the company logo to Bobby Crocker?
Aunt Jemima, the Quaker Oats Company purchased by PepsiCo in 2001, is removing the Aunt Jemima image from product packaging and changing the name of its products following an outpouring of public pressure. The statement on its website says, “This step is in line with PepsiCo’s journey toward racial equality, and the evolution will help carry the 130-year-old brand into the future. These initiatives comprise a holistic effort for PepsiCo to walk the talk of a leading corporation and help address the need for systemic change.”
The call to change the Aunt Jemima image and name was fueled in part by a TikTok video by the singer Kirby in which she threw out the contents of her Aunt Jemima pancake mix box. Apparently Kirby had no problem using the product prior to that, since the box she poured into her sink was almost empty anyway.
Kirby is the same black singer who uses the “N” word in her videos. She also remade the video “Da Lick,” where she sets up a black friend to be robbed at gunpoint by her other black friends. Isn’t Kirby perpetuating a stereotype about black thugs? What a hypocrite!
Logos and brand names routinely change with the times. Now other products are looking at changing their logos, including Uncle Ben’s rice, Land ‘O Lakes butter, Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup, Cream of Wheat cereal, and Eskimo Pie ice cream.
Companies have even gone out of business following pressure from the public.
Case in point – Sambo’s Restaurant, founded in 1957. Its name is a portmanteau, combining parts of the names of the two owners, Sam Battistone, Sr. and Newell Bohnett. The restaurant chain soon found itself inadvertently associated with the story “Little Black Sambo.” Bowing to public pressure in the late 1970s, many of the restaurants changed their names.
But that wasn’t good enough for some people. Sambo’s subsequently filed for bankruptcy. Once the largest restaurant chain in America with over 1,100 locations in 47 states, only the original Sambo’s location in Santa Barbara remains. It’s now owned by Chad Stevens, grandson of one of the original owners. Stevens recently announced he would change the name of the last surviving Sambo’s restaurant.
Who gets to decide what is offensive? Who gets to decide what is racist or sexist or any other “ist” one can think of?
What will you do when someone decides that your favorite product or restaurant or music or shoes or team logo or historic figure or flag is offensive?
German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) wrote of the Nazi purging of selected groups:
“They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up.”
If you allow the rabid radical cancel culture to destroy our country and society, who will be left to speak up when they come for you?
Image from: bettycrocker.com