Marks & Spencer has shaken off the “sexist” Advent calendar Where’s Wally

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Graphic designer Matthew Crowley, 29, of Loughton, Essex, works with several supermarket brands and called M&S ‘decision to include just one female character “heard.”

Graphic designer Matthew Crowley has criticized the M&S calendar Where’s Wally for lack of diversity

A Where is Wally the Advent calendar has been labeled “outrageous” because it contains only one female figure.

The calendar was purchased from Marks & Spencer and Matthew Crowley condemned the retail giant for withdrawing from the product.

It displays a crowded ski scene, and each window contains a challenge to find specific people, such as “Find a man on ski jumps” or “Find a hug tree.”

But the 29-year-old graphic designer counted 23 men, five subjects, three animals but only one woman – a character from a book called Wenda.

However, many other figures depicted are not named characters from the series, and Matthew of Louton, Essex, said the “imbalance” was very striking and not at all in line with modern society.

He added: “It would be interesting to see if it was just a complete blind accident or if they were targeting this Advent calendar, which is intentionally male,” he told the Mirror.

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The 31 windows contained only one female character
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image:

Matthew Crowley)







Matthew said the “outrageous” Wenda was the only woman
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image:

Matthew Crowley)

“Obviously we are well aware of the idea that a snowman is usually a man, but you could dress him up as a woman or you could add women to the numbers to make him more representative to the public.

“As a kid, I read Where’s Wally. I remember from memory that there was more variety in the books. “

Matthew’s calendar was bought by his girlfriend’s mother, but he forgot about it until Wednesday, when he was tidying up the last Christmas decorations.

He then opened each window at once and said the shortage of women might not be so obvious if he opened it every day all December.

“The fact that M&S ​​has given priority to more men and even more items than women is unheard of,” he said.







Matthew bought the calendar from M&S in Loughton, Essex
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image:

LightRocket via Getty Images)

“In all the discussions and conversations about equality, one would think that a retail giant like M&S would be aware of the image they create.

“Thousands of young and impressionable boys and girls will open this calendar and find that society is once again putting men first.”

He went on to say, “Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t hope Wally will step down as the main character, I would like to address the imbalance of 23 men and one woman.”

Matthew said bias should be emphasized, “be it ignorance or consciousness”.

“Without calling for the small subconscious messages that giant corporations send to the public, the equality debate will be superfluous.

“If society continues as it does with men who maintain a strongly prevalent mindset, more and more tragic events will unfold than many have in 2021.”

As a graphic designer, Matthew works closely with many of the major supermarket brands.

He said: “I deal with packaging, I market and we represent the UK demographic group at all the points we need to make. We need to think all the time about who uses and who benefits from these products and make sure the brand fits line.

“I don’t know how M&S works or if they get outside agencies to work with things like this, but I would expect there to be a team of four or five designers before it then goes to press, which is then a broader team.

“This is still ahead of M&S brand manager and Where’s Wally stakeholders, whom I would assume would sign this licensed product.”

Asked what he hopes to gain from his appeal, Matthew replied: “I hope they will just apologize for the mistake and then work to improve for next year. That’s all that needs to happen.

“But without people calling such things, we will just continue in this distorted world we live in.”

A M&S spokesman said: “We are grateful for the customer feedback and will provide it to our product group so we can consider it before next Christmas.”

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