SPARK, a “girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media,” has crunched the numbers on the different types of Google Doodles that the company has published each year since 2010, and the results are kind of depressing. The cute little drawings take over the Google logo on google.com to celebrate everything from holidays to event anniversaries to the birthdays of important historical figures. But two groups they’re not really celebrating all that often? Women and people of color.
The report, which looked at global doodles–those that appeared worldwide–and total doodles, a figure that combined global doodles and those that only ran in a handful of countries–found that 80% of doodles were of men and 20% were of women. Meanwhile, only 22% of doodles depicted people of color.
We need to talk about why the numbers have been skewed for so long, and what it says about how we view history—whose achievements are important, whose achievements we celebrate, and whose achievements are erased. Google Doodles may seem lighthearted, especially when accompanied by quirky games and animation, but in reality they have emerged as a new manifestation of who we value as a society, a sign of who “matters.” Just like statues, stamps, and national holidays, you know that if someone is featured on Google’s homepage, they’ve done something important.