So, the other night, Jimmy Kimmel aired a segment which compiled viewers' video responses to his latest challenge for parents to pull holiday-related trickery on their children, after his "film your kids' reaction after telling them you ate all their Halloween candy" segment went viral last month. This challenge was to wrap up some random garbage and give it to kids as an early Christmas present.
I find this entire thing really troubling, because pranks are a form of bullying even between peers, and a prank played by someone in a position of power, especially a parent pranking a child, is bullying that can fundamentally undermine trust.
So I normally wouldn't even give this any attention, except that I thought it was very interesting (where "interesting" = "fucked up") how many parents interpreted "give your kid a crap gift" as "give your son a girl's item," and what effect that had on the boys who received them. Yikes.
Post-feminist world, etc.
Jimmy Kimmel: Last week, I issued a challenge: I asked the parents of America to pull a little holiday trick on their children—we did this on Halloween with candy, and it got a lot of response to it, so we did it again, this time for Christmas—I asked parents to tell their kids they were going to let them open one present a few weeks early, but instead of a good present, I said, "Put something the kids won't like in the box," and then upload the video of that to YouTube, labeled "Hey, Jimmy Kimmel, I gave my kids a terrible present," and a lot of people did do this, and, um, they did give their kids terrible presents, and a lot of the kids, surprisingly, reacted poorly to that.[Via.]
Clip of two little white boys opening presents; one unwraps a half-drunk bottle of juice and whines, "I don't like this!"
Clip of a white girl opening a present; she unwraps an old, brown banana. "What is it?" asks Mom from behind the camera. "An old banana," the girl says. "Isn't that exciting?" Mom asks. "No," replies the girl. She holds it up, sqooshes it, eats it.
Clip of two white girls who have just opened an onion and a battery. "Wow, a battery and an onion!" Dad says from behind the camera. The girl who opened the onion flops over and begins to cry. "What's wrong?" asks Dad. The other little girl says, "We don't want a onion!" Dad asks the crying girl, "Did you smell your onion? Here, smell it." She cries. "No, I smelled it!"
Clip of a white and/or Latin@ boy and girl opening presents; he unwraps a hotdog and she unwraps a carton of eggs. The little girl starts cracking an egg to see if there's anything inside.
Clip of three white children, a boy and two girls, opening presents. The little boy holds up a pink activity book. Deeply aggrieved, he complains, "I got a girl activity book with stickers!" Angry now, he adds: "I'M NOT A GIRL!" His sister, who got some "boy" gift, says, "And I'm not a boy!" Their sister adds: "I'm not a boy, either!" The boy begins to cry: "This is the worst present ever."
Clip of a white girl and a white boy; the girl has just unwrapped a half-eaten sandwich. She has an exchange with Mom, behind the camera, about how she likes Mom's cooking, so Mom thought she'd like the sandwich. The little girl replies she meant when Mom cooks things like "Hot Pockets." The boy offers to eat the sandwich.
Clip of a little boy of color opening a Hello Kitty sweater. "You stinking parents!" he shouts, throwing it down. He charges Dad behind the camera. "Take it back!" he shouts. "I want a refund." Later in the video, he is seen tantruming, extremely upset, about having received a girls' sweater.
Clip of a white boy unwrapping a half-eaten sandwich. "It's a half-eaten sandwich!" exclaims Mom from behind the camera. "Isn't that what you asked for?!" The little boy replies, "No, I asked for toys!" and throws the sandwich across the room.
Clip of three black children, a girl and two boys, opening presents. From behind the camera, Mom says, "What did you get, Jason? Some black beans, cheese, and a Waffle House hat!" To the little girl, she says, "What's in there?" The little girl pulls out a potato. "Oh, you got a Mister Potato Head!" exclaims Mom. The other son cries and accuses Mom of giving them the terrible gifts.
Clip of four white children, a girl and three boys, opening presents. One boy opens a hammer. Another exclaims, "I got ponies?!" Then, later: "I got ponies. Why do I want ponies? They're for girls." The girl adds, "And I got a stupid book." Mom says, "We thought really hard about what to get you this year." The boy who opened the hammer retorts, "Well, you didn't do a very good job!" The boy who got the ponies complains, "This is the worst Christmas I ever had."
Clip of three children of color, a girl and two boys, opening presents, which are of course terrible. Mom explains, "Well, Jimmy Kimmel told me to do it." Yells one of the boys from the other side of the room, "Well, tell him to suck my balls!"
The audience laughs and cheers. Jimmy Kimmel says: "Noted."