Candy controversy: Is representation being shoved down our throats?

A new addition to the M&Ms spokecandies cast causes outrage.


Izabella Manning

An edited GIF depicts talk show host Tucker Carlson crying over the green and purple M&Ms. (Click me!)

by Izabella Manning and Nick Killway

For the first time in over a decade, Mars, Incorporated has released a new M&M spokescandy, Purple

Purple made her debut in a commercial in which she sang her own song, “I’m Just Gonna Be Me.” The song that Purple sings is not anything new. The message of the song, being yourself, is something that Disney sitcoms have been preaching to young children for decades. Despite this, extreme conservatives have decided that Purple is the result of Mars being influenced by leftist media, and that Purple and her song are the epitome of “wokeness.”

However, Purple’s encouragement to be yourself is not the end of Mars’ supposed “leftist ideology.” Purple has also been accused of being transgender.

Enraged One America News Network host Dan Ball ranted, “I think [Purple]’s a female character, but I’m pretty sure they haven’t said. Maybe it’s transgender.”

Most other allegations come from angry Twitter users. Many of these allegations complain about the “liberal agenda” being pushed in the media, and how the creation of Purple is just another example of forced representation.

The truth is, left-leaning politics has nothing to do with M&Ms. Moreover, the social or societal progress some in this country have been pushing for is certainly not in the form of a “woke” M&M. In recent times, it has become a common occurrence for any inkling of representation to be claimed as forced from those on the extreme right. For instance, another recent example was the discussion surrounding Halle Bailey being cast as Ariel in the live action “Little Mermaid.” No, in fact, minorities simply existing in the media is not forced.

All of this hub-bub is also simply ignoring the fact that there is no real evidence that Purple is trans. Nothing in the statement from Mars introducing her on the M&M’s website says anything about the M&M being trans.

Most of the reasoning seems to be based on the fact that Purple is peanut shaped. Blue and Yellow (both male) are also peanut shaped, and Green and Brown (both female) are circular. But this reasoning fails to acknowledge that male M&Ms Red and Orange are also circular.

The point is strenuous effort is needed to find any evidence that Purple may be trans, so if she happened to be, it would not, as right-leaning media claims, be forced. In fact, it would be the exact opposite of forced; it would be natural.

So what if Purple is trans? The likely truth is she is just an M&M, and the thought never even crossed her creators’ minds. But so what if that is not the case? What is truely wrong with the notion of Purple being trans? It should not affect anyone’s ability to enjoy the crunchy, chocolatey candy the same way they have for decades.

Many conservatives say they do not want representation being shoved in their faces. In what way is this harmless purple M&M doing that? Maybe the real truth is that for some seeing the slightest diversity evokes such extreme discomfort that it feels like it is being forced or shoved in their faces.

Ironically, this is not even the first time M&Ms has raised controversy over its supposed pushing of the “woke agenda.” Around January 2022, the M&Ms spokescandies were redesigned. The changes were minor–the arms and legs were changed to paler versions of their color, the graphics were updated to a higher quality and some of the spokescandies’ shoes were altered.

Unfortunately, the ruckus surrounding the introduction of the purple M&M shrinks in comparison to the absolute pandemonium that followed the M&Ms design changes.

The majority of the displeasure regarding the M&Ms redesign centers Green, and more specifically, her shoe change. Originally, Green wore high-heeled boots with small M&M silver charms on the toe. In her redesign, she is wearing an ordinary pair of sneakers. That was the extent of the design changes.

Yet, for some reason, many people decided to interpret this as a political statement regarding feminism and gender inclusivity. This change was interpreted as an attempt to boil down Green’s femininity and push her towards androgyny. Some have gone as far as to say that the M&Ms redesign was propaganda intended to convert citizens to nonbinary gender identities.

The before and after of Green’s design shows the replacement of the “sexy boots.” (Mars)

Many peoples’ reactions to the Green M&Ms shoe change were laughable. However, there is one that takes the cake–a news segment from Fox news host Tucker Carlson.

Carlson started by saying, “The green M&M is no longer wearing sexy boots.” His characterization of referring to a fictional piece of candy’s footwear as “sexy” is already concerning. He then proceeded to go on a sarcastic rant: “Candy in sexy shoes is highly offensive. Leading women do not wear sexy boots. Leading women wear frumpy shoes, the frumpier the better. That’s the rule.” These statements bizzarely demonstrate Carlson’s seeming attraction to the fictional candy.

Were the M&M designs meant to be visually appealing? Yes. Was the creators’ goal for people to find them attractive? Probably not.

Carlson continued to complain. “M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous until the moment where you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them. That’s the goal,” said Carlson.

These are the words of a professional news host. Someone who went to school and earned a bachelor’s degree in history. After learning about the history and tragedies of the world, he is using his platform to single out an M&Ms shoes for being offensive.

The M&M’s spokescandies are just meant to be fun, sentient M&M designs that make someone want to buy Mars’ products. More importantly, these M&Ms are meant to appeal to kids, so it is highly unlikely that Mars designed these characters hoping people would “want to have a drink with them.”

American author Rob Long shared similar opinions to Carlson. He said, “M&Ms are kinda the progressives’ idea of the future of the human being. We’re all kinda shiny and a different color, and we have no genitalia.”

The M&M’s spokescandies do not have genitalia, because if they did, then M&Ms commercials could not be aired on public television. They were not created to represent this fabricated idea of progressives’ idea for the future of humanity.

People need to calm down. The M&Ms spokescandies have no effect on the average citizen’s life. They are just candy; it does not matter.