Are M&M's a threat to conservative manhood? | GARY COSBY JR.

Gary Cosby Jr.
Gary Cosby Jr.

I was scrolling through Instagram the other night and saw something that left me rolling on the floor in laughter. Apparently, certain conservative pundits have raised a stink over M&M candies now being too “woke.”

That's the funniest thing I think I’ve ever heard. After I settled down and had a moment to reflect, I decided instead that it was the saddest thing I’d ever heard, and, far worse, it is this kind of thing that is going to do long-term damage to conservatism.

The day we get so worked up about M&M candy and their make-believe candy spokespersons that we become outraged that a candy company is trying to expand their sales by target marketing a particular group of people is the day we need to dunk our collective heads in a bucket of cold water.

I freely confess that I have not paid any attention to pundits on the big networks in years, not from either side, but I do read from time to time what they have said on the air. Apparently, Tucker Carlson at Fox News, a man who makes his living by keeping viewers angry, got worked up about M&M’s animated candy spokespersons a year ago and renewed his attack this year when M&M introduced a campaign designed to reach women and support women’s causes with a portion of the revenues earned.

Another guy named Nick Adams, again, not someone I had heard of because I just don’t follow this stuff at all, jumped in there with both feet to blast M&M decrying that “Manhood is under attack like no other time in world history.” Over M&M's. M&M's, my friends, are now a threat to manhood? Lord help us.

M&M's candy is seen in Overland Park, Kan., Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. Candy maker Mars is giving a makeover to its six M&M's characters as a way to promote inclusivity. ( (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
M&M's candy is seen in Overland Park, Kan., Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. Candy maker Mars is giving a makeover to its six M&M's characters as a way to promote inclusivity. ( (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Maybe you can see why I laughed so hard. And, perhaps, you can also see why I became so sad and worried about conservatism. This is the kind of nonsense that makes future voters shake their heads and turn to look at Democrats to see if they make any sense.

Think about how this impacts young voters. I mean, have you ever heard of anything more ridiculous to get worked up about? How would your own teenagers react to you saying they can’t eat M&M's anymore because the candies are too woke? If I had said that to my kids, after they stopped rolling their eyes so hard I could feel it, they would have started laughing just like I did.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines being woke as: “Aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” A bit further down the list under the heading “disapproving” you see: “Politically liberal (as in matters of racial and social justice) especially in a way that is considered unreasonable or extreme.”

Apparently, certain conservatives apply the pejorative meaning of the word to people whom they think embrace too many equality issues for women and minorities or who threaten their manhood with M&M's.

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Let me explain something here. While I am not very good at marketing and sales, actually I am quite terrible at those things, I can tell you that companies are out there constantly trying to identify ways to raise their sales figures. If a company finds that a particular market segment can increase their sales, they will actively target those market segments because, and pay attention here, they are trying to make more money.

It is fair to ask if the M&M's makers are attempting to take advantage of the free publicity given them by the big voices of outrage on the political right. I think the answer is a definite yes. If you can tap into a source of free publicity that puts your product name in front of the nation, you just did two things: You increased your visibility and thereby your sales, and you did it without spending mega-dollars on an ad campaign.

The makers of M&M's win because M&M's is going to sell a ton of these candies to the market they are targeting thanks to Tucker Carlson and Nick Adams. If I was in the marketing department at M&M's, I would be thinking up other ways to offend the “big voice” guys so I could get even more free publicity. In fact, why not offend the left as well and have the M&M's come out toting guns and talking all … well, whatever is the opposite of woke.

By the way, I couldn’t care less if the M&M's candy spokespersons are woke or not. I’m going to eat M&M's when I want them because they are candy and I like candy. Boycotting products is not my thing. If you have a good product and it is a product I need, I will buy it. If your product stinks or I don’t need it, I’m not buying it and I don’t care what your imaginary little candy spokespersons say or do.

The bottom line for conservatives is this: Pick your fights. As an addendum, this is not a fight worth having. You will drive away voters with nonsense like fussing over the wokeness of M&M's.

Gary Cosby Jr. is the photo editor of The Tuscaloosa News. Readers can email him at

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Are M&M's a threat to conservative manhood? | GARY COSBY JR.