Carmen Miranda, whose real name is Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha, is famous all around the world for her fruit hats, her songs and samba dancing. ... She moved to the United Stated in 1939 and quickly became a globally-recognised star, known by the nickname of Chiquita Banana Girl.
No other brand of fruit has the recognizability of Chiquita Banana.
Why the Miss Chiquita Banana Mascot Has Been Branded as Racist
A half-woman, half-banana mascot named Miss Chiquita was initially designed to represent the fruit. Historical media reveals representations of race and gender stereotypes throughout Chiquita advertising.
Chiquita's mascot was redesigned as a human woman in 1987.
Both versions of Miss Chiquita depict the her as an exotic, flirtatious character. Advertisements from both the 1940s and today show these characteristics on full display. In print advertisements, such as the ones displayed here, the mascot wears frilled dresses, red lipstick and fruit-adorned hats.
Chiquita Banana Lady History
These features appropriate the stereotypical Latin American female image. In video advertisements, race and gender are even more prominant. The animated short included here, Chiquita Banana and the Cannibals, promotes not only a Latin American stereotype, but also a stereotype of the indigenous peoples of the region.
The cannibal character, already portrayed as uncivilized, appears more like a monkey than a human being. In this more recent advertisement from the 1990s, Miss Chiquita, now a human, displays similar expressions and gestures. The human Miss Chiquita dances sensually atop a pedestal, singing the classic Chiquita Banana song. Unlike the 1940s short, Miss Chiquita speaks with a Spanish accent. Though the red dress has become blue and the banana character has become a human, Miss Chiquita has continued to rely on cultural and gendered stereotyping to represent the banana brand.
Who is Chiquita Banana lady? Department of Historical Studies, University of Toronto Mississauga.