Update, April 27, 2020: Mia is gone, and some people really miss her. They have bravely taken to Twitter to voice their displeasure with Land O’Lakes:
Not everyone agreed with @nomorenightowl’s brave stance. Some enterprising users found evidence, based on an old post about holiday baking, that she hadn’t even been that devoted a Land O’Lakes user. The horror!
(You can’t hide much from Twitter users who have even more time on their hands than usual.)
Other users applauded the unintentional humor of the sentence “Land O Lakes can kiss this butter buyer’s ass.” Some wondered what it said about the state of America that people adopted marketing logos as part of their culture. And still others wondered if there was some Dril plagiarism going on. Alas, we will never know because @nomorenightowl has deleted her account.
Original post, April 17, 2020: As is clear from the image above, Mia, the Native American woman who has graced Land O’Lakes packaging for nearly a century, has been retired. It’s a great move for two reasons, the most obvious being that the original logo was kinda racist. There are plenty of (white) people who would argue that an illustration of a Native American woman holding a box of butter is not racist in and of itself; they might point out that it was originally designed to evoke the natural beauty of rural Minnesota (the land o’lakes) or possibly a character from local Native American folklore, and that it was later redesigned by an Ojibwe artist. But many modern Native Americans find images like the Land O’Lakes maiden offensive for a multitude of reasons.
“[The image goes] hand-in-hand with with human and sex trafficking of our women and girls… by depicting Native women as sex objects,” said North Dakota State Representative Ruth Buffalo in The Twin Cities Pioneer Press. Rep. Buffalo is a registered member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nations.
The other reason for dropping Mia from the box is just as important, especially in modern times. Land O’Lakes was founded in 1921 as a cooperative of Minnesota dairy farmers, and despite the past century of local agriculture’s shift to a vertically integrated industry, Land O’Lakes remains farmer-owned. The new packaging, as seen above, will celebrate the small farmers whose hard work makes the butter all know and love. Thanks to the redesign, I was compelled to check out the Land O’Lakes website for the first time in, well, ever, and discovered other ways the cooperative is trying to strengthen the connections between consumers and farmers, like a series of short documentaries called “On Her Farm” that profiles women in the dairy industry.