Yogurt In a Perfect World

I like yogurt.  I like Greek yogurt.  It’s good stuff, and it’s versatile.  It can be dessert or breakfast.  Here’s what I don’t like:  Dannon commercials.  I don’t like them so much, that I’m not buying Dannon products anymore.  At all.

Remember the 1970s?  No, maybe you don’t.  I know a lot of the folks who read this weren’t born yet, so you’re just going to have to take my word for this.  In the 1970’s, Dannon used to come in waxed cardboard containers with a waxed cardboard lid.  Much less waste, for one thing.  And the Dannon commercials?  Back then they weren’t filled with young, skinny people.  They were filled with old people.  Really old people.  Octogenarians and centenarians.  Dannon was all about how yogurt was good for you and it would help you live longer, like all these old people in (what was then) Soviet Georgia.  Yes, they were white folks (I mean, the Caucuses go through Georgia, I don’t think it gets any more caucasian than that), but at least they were old white people.  Really old white people.

But, it’s not the 1970’s anymore.  Dannon isn’t the only yogurt on the shelf.  So now there are all these different Dannon brands that assault us from the t.v. because, according to Jamie Lee Curtis,  we all need to be more regular (Bifidis Regularis?  Really?  That is not the real name of a bacterium), and according to the woman with the fake New York accent, we all need to eat fewer calories, and according to John Stamos, we all need to be eating Greek yogurt, but only Oikos Greek yogurt, and that brings me to my point.  I really do have one.

In the most recent Dannon Oikos commercial, two 30-something women are sitting in a cafe and they tell us that in a perfect world, all men would look like John Stamos.  Really?  ALL men?  ALL of them?  So, let me get this straight, Dannon, in a perfect world, ALL men would be white, 50 years old, trim, and fit?  Wow.  So, um, no ethnic minorities.  OK.  Well, I guess Dannon just became the official yogurt of white supremacists everywhere.

Now, I’m not saying Dannon intended to make this statement.  I don’t imagine writers sitting around discussing ways to make sure that we all get the message that yogurt is just for white people (although I’ve only ever seen white people in yogurt commercials), or the message that white people are superior.  What I do think is that this is yet another example of white privilege.  And if you think I’m the only one one who’s heard the message loud and clear that the standard of perfection (according to Dannon) is white men, I guarantee I am not.

If you’re white, it’s possible that you don’t notice when all the faces on t.v. or in a movie, or in a room are white, but if you’re not white, I’m probably preaching to the choir here.  And yes, I am white.  I know that I get the benefit of white privilege. That doesn’t make it right.

Hey, I think John Stamos is a good-looking guy.  I still can’t help seeing him as Blackie from General Hospital, but he still has a nice smile.  He isn’t my idea of masculine perfection, but even if he were, the idea that all men in the world should conform to that?  Ew.  Just…ew.

What would that commercial be like if those women told us that in a perfect world all men would look like…Denzel Washington?  Or Tim Kang?  Or Aasif Mandvi?

Miss America 2014 was just crowned, and the title went to Miss New York for the second year in a row.  However, this Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, is of Indian descent.  The judges have determined that she is the current ideal American young woman – skinny (well, that hasn’t changed), beautiful, and Indian.  And Twitter exploded.  People called her a foreigner.  (She’s from New York).  People called her a Muslim.  Well, there are Muslims in India, but that’s not the majority of Indians.  Being brown and from Asia doesn’t automatically make someone Muslim.  People called her a terrorist.  Seriously people?

So, here’s the thing.  In a country where there are still people flipping out because Miss America doesn’t look “American enough” (that is, white), where Twitter explodes every time someone with a latin-sounding name sings the national anthem at a ball game, why would Dannon choose to reinforce that stereotype that a perfect world is one in which all men are good-looking and white?

Nope, I just don’t buy it.  So, I just won’t buy it.  I know too many good people who don’t fit the mold of what the standard of beauty is supposed to be.  So I get my Greek yogurt from Greece.  It’s better anyway.  My world is perfect enough with the people who are in it now. And we can keep making it better.

That’s my mite.  It’s all I’ve got.


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