Goodbye Land O'Lakes Butter Lady. You Won't Be Missed.
There's been a fairly significant push to do away with caricatures of Native Americans in logos and mascots over the past couple decades, with some measures being taken better than others. For example, The MLB team in Cleveland won't change their team name but have incrementally removed the big red racist Chief Wahoo from their uniforms. However, the NFL team in Washington continues to use a nasty slur for their name -- that many outlets won't even say when discussing the team's annual on-field failures -- along with a depiction of a Native American man for a logo.
And yet, we've just been letting the Land O'Lakes butter lady, named Mia, sit quietly on their packaging for decades. So here we are in April 2020, and Land O'Lakes has released a statement noting that Mia will be leaving our grocery store shelves. Instead, the packaging will focus on the actually-very-nice fact that the company is a farming co-op and, eventually, will feature some of those farmers.
Despite the fact that Mia's modern (but not the original) design was by a Native American artist named Patrick DesJarlait from a reservation within Minnesota, it just isn't necessary to sell dairy. Over the years, there's been criticism of Mia, the butter lady, from just about every possible angle. The fact that Mia is also a woman has left her open to exploitation and mockery in a number of bizarre/sexual ways.
Obviously, Big Mouth is a bit of a perverted show, but they didn't just invent the idea of wanting to bang the butter lady (that said, please don't ask us to do an in-depth dive into butter erotica). Some the desperately horny noticed that by cutting the butter box in a certain way, they could make her knees look like boobs in saddest Rule 34 imaginable. Just a bit of speculation, but this might have contributed to the kneeless version of Mia that's been around for the past couple of years.
Making all this worse is that Mia is another name in a long line of "Native American Princess" characters. It's a trope that's evolved somewhat over time, but there's not a tremendous amount of difference between Peter Pan falling head over heels for Tiger Lily and using the warm, soft smile of a young Native American woman to sell you butter.
There's been criticism from the Native American community at large about mascots like Mia over the years. After all the horrible things that white people have done to Native Americans, it's really not fair to turn around and use their images/likenesses to lend a product some type of bullshit mystical aura or to imprint on a consumer of some type of marketed natural-ness.
It's about time Mia, and her counterparts throughout logo-dom, to go into retirement. If this wildly upsets you, perhaps take some time to explore the other sexy mascots out there to thirst after -- might we suggest Tony the Tiger?
Top Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr