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When cruising down the local grocer’s cereal aisle, you’re met with the smiling cartoon faces that accompanied you through childhood. You stroll by the big animated grins that stared out from their respective boxes as you consumed their sugary goodness, your footed-pajama-clad feet still unable to reach the ground.

The gang’s all here: Cap’n Crunch; Count Chocula; Toucan Sam; the Lucky Charms leprechaun; Sonny, the Cocoa Puffs bird; Snap, Crackle & Pop, and even that floppy-eared bastard Trix Rabbit. The nostalgia is running thick in your veins. You feel good, so good, you may even be absentmindedly humming along to the instrumental version of the Michael Bolton song pumping out the store’s speakers. Screech. Stop. Bring that shopping cart to a halt.

Behind those open-mouth grins and gay demeanors is an exclusive world of vagina-hating, penis-worshipping pixilated sugar fiends. It’s the boys’ club in the cereal aisle. No girls allowed. Even the Fruity Pebbles box features only the penis-packing members of the Flintstones cast. 

Sure, there are products predominantly featuring women among the supermarket aisles – There’s Sarah Lee, Aunt Jemima, Betty Crocker, Mrs. Butterworth, Marie Callender, the Chiquita Banana chick. But a testosterone force field keeps them from venturing between the cereal shelves, where even the oatmeal is made by a man, whose masculinity remains intact despite his wearing of a powdered wig.

Is Big Cereal trying to hide something, trying to pass some message onto our youngest of generations? Does General Mills have some underlying agenda for male world domination? Or is Big Cereal’s target audience comprised mostly of video-game playing stoners with as much experience relating to women as Matthew McConaughey has at shirt shopping?

Or does it go beyond this? Perhaps the origins of male cereal mascot domination can be traced to an elicit tryst involving the Cap’n himself and Little Debbie. As far as conspiracy theories go, this one initially sounds like a stretch, but when you consider all the factors, it is completely plausible. Take into consideration the Cap’n’s overwhelming pirate nature coupled with his unofficial presidency of the cereal aisle. The Cap’n develops a desire for the young girl. His lust grows as he admires her ginger ringlets spilling from beneath her bonnet. Tension rises in Cereal Land. Fred Flintstone, a father himself, banishes female mascots from the realm of cereal in an effort to keep them safe from the Cap’n’s pirate ways. It was with a heavy heart that Fred cast away the women, but he feared the worst – seeing young Debbie’s likeness on the back of a carton of milk intended to mix with his sweet pebbles of fruit. He couldn’t live with that, and decreed the cereal aisle a vagina-free zone.

Or perhaps the lack of estrogen among the breakfast mascots can be traced to an ill-conceived engagement long ago, in which the Sugar Smacks bear was to make the Sunbeam Bread gal his young bride. Moments before the pair were to exchange their cartoony nuptials, his carb-loving sweetheart left, seduced away by the carb-toting Keebler Elves. The Elves had less than pure intentions, using their overwhelming sex appeal to retaliate against the sugary Snap, Crackle & Pop, with whom their gang opposition, a rivalry kin to the Hatfields and the McCoys, still runs deep. The collapse of the holy union and Sugar Bear’s heart lead to complete anarchy among the not-so-nutritional breakfasts, eventually ending with the women stomping off at the prompting of the Gorton’s fisherman, who assured them there were bigger and better things in the world than immature sugar addicts.

Regardless of what allowed the cereal mascot industry to remain a workplace reminiscent of the 1950s, remember this: The pain you feel when Crunch Berries assault the roof of your mouth is trivial compared to the emotional damage being caused by blatant sexism in your local grocer’s cereal aisle.

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