Pampers has removed Sesame Street characters from their diapers after receiving complaints. What could any parent find wrong with Elmo, Cookie Monster, or Big Bird gracing their little one’s bottom though? Customers were quite vocal, it seems, and the company listened, removing the well-loved children’s characters over a concern that they were too masculine. The familiar Sesame Street characters have been replaced instead with generic animals and shapes.
So everyone should be happy now, right? Well… not exactly, as confusion mounted when the Pampers some people bought still showed the Sesame Street characters on the outside packaging, but not on the diapers themselves.
Many parents wondered if they had bought legitimate Pampers brand diapers at all because of the confusion.
When New York mother Susie Wong-Benjamin said she called to ask about the new designs, she explained the details she received, telling the New York Post: “The Pampers rep said… parents who have daughters thought that the Sesame Street characters are too masculine.”
The company, however, didn’t reference concerns over masculinity and instead said they were updating the designs based on parents’ feedback.
A spokeswoman noted: “We talk to thousands of parents every year to understand how our diapers are best meeting their babies’ needs and any new trends they might be interested in. We learned there was a growing desire from Moms and Dads for modern, fresh graphics.”
The new look didn’t leave everyone so pleased, as one person wrote on Twitter: “@Pampers Sesame Street and gender concerns, lol, just make diapers ok.”
Others shared their confusion over the packaging that showed the popular kids’ show characters, but discovered something entirely different inside, as one person wrote: “What happened to the fun Sesame Street swaddlers?? We need some fun color back to distract from diaper time! Help a new mom out.”
Laura Dressman, a spokesperson for Procter & Gamble tried to clear up the stories swirling about the diapers, telling People.com in a statement: “The story speculating on our decision to make graphic changes based on gender is inaccurate. As a proud partner of Sesame Street for over 15 years, we love featuring Sesame Street’s iconic characters on our Pampers Baby Dry diapers.”
She added that the company has “always included a range of Sesame’s characters — male and female (although we know from research that children love the characters equally). This includes Elmo, Zoe, Cookie, Rosita, Big Bid, and Oscar among others.”
Further, Dressman noted, “As part of our ongoing research with parents, we have heard a growing desire for variety within the Pampers diaper lines, so we recently introduced new colorful graphics on our Swaddlers and Cruisers diapers. This allows us to offer new designs across our entire portfolio, including the beloved Sesame Street characters. Along with new designs, parents can continue to trust in the same Pampers protection they’ve come to love.”
Among the many comments that people left on social media over the diaper graphic change was one person who believed that parents who complained should “back off with all this nonsense!,” adding, “Does anyone seriously consider Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster to be masculine gender??? Everything isn’t about gender!!”