Pamela Redmond Satran, from nameberry, wrote to me that she was at a grocery store in Virginia when she heard a little girl begging for “Princess Yogurt.” Her mother said there was no such thing, but guess what? Yoplait makes pink, strawberry Disney Princess yogurt cups for kids!
So here you have two products that seem initially benign, even healthy, but in truth NEITHER of them is. Consider the nutritional info on yoplait. Yoplait lists a variety of percentages on its site–calcium, protein etc. Sounds good, right? Sounds like Disney saying princesses are a “developmentally appropriate way for girls to expand their imaginations.” But again: look beneath the surface and you’ll find out that the second ingredient is sugar. A 4 oz cup of yoplait princess yogurt has about the same amount of sugar as a 4 oz serving of Dryer’s Grand Vanilla Bean ice cream. Hey, does that make ice cream into health food?
But this reminds me again of the parallels between the food movement and the movement for healthier media/toys/clothing/environment for girls. We talk about kids consuming the media. We talk about kids consuming food. And think about where we were with food 10 years ago. Who knew what transfat was? Who cared where their produce came from? But a couple of books–Omnivore’s Dilemma, Fast Food Nation–started a national conversation about what we feed ourselves and our children, how the corporate control of agriculture and the food supply had gone too far. Look at how the impact! Sure, not everywhere, not everyone. But Congress is revamping the school lunch program. New York City requires nutrition labels on chain restaurant food. McDonald’s offers (some) healthier choices. That’s because parents got…FED UP! And it shows the power we can have, as well as (not to sound self-serving but…) the power of books to start conversation that spark change.
Now if I could make trumpets blare on my blog I would. Wait, I can!