McDonald's Still Just Missing the Point of Non-Gendered Toys

Categories: Parenting

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Jef With One F
As I mentioned a little bit back when I was talking about my daughter playing with autistic children, I've spent a fair amount of time at McDonald's. It's cheap food, there's an air conditioned playground, the wi fi is free, and it allows my daughter to run around having fun with other kids in a secure environment while I work. The clown is good people in my book.

However, our lunch break always includes a Happy Meal, and Happy Meals come with toys. Even if the toy isn't that great, my daughter likes the present, but the gendering of toys is really starting to get on my nerves. Maybe she wants the race car more than the My Little Pony. It depends on her mood. I'm fine with McDonald's having options, but this divvying up of girls toys and boys toys is getting ever more ridiculous in this day and age.

That's why I was so happy when Happy Meal toys became all Spider-Man-based in honor of the new movie. In part it's because Peter Parker is my daughter's favorite superhero. She's watched three different animated series from beginning to end, and she was "Spider-Man as a Girl" for Halloween.

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More than that, I was glad that Spidey wasn't regulated to just boys. Girls got Spider-Man masks and carrying cases and whatever else was being offered. Finally, I got to see my little girl stand equal in this one tiny, but important to both of us, instance.

Look, I know this sounds like an incredibly silly first world problem, but hear me out. Every time I have to question a cashier about the toys my daughter is listening. She's processing "this is not for you" about a whole slew of background items. Guns are not for you. Kung fu is not for you. LEGO is not for you. That's for boys. Here are your approved playthings, now go be the little princess you're supposed to be.

There's nothing wrong with being a princess, and she frequently is, but there is everything wrong with being forced to be one. When you have a little girl you have to be very, very vigilant about this sort of thing because it builds and builds and builds a wall of expectations and limited choices that has to be taken down one damned brick at a time later on.

So Spider-Man was making my meals truly happy until last week.

"Chicken nugget Happy Meal with apple slices, and apple juice please," I ordered through the drive thru. It was the end of a very long day and I was way too tired to cook.

"Girl or boy?" asked the talkbox.

"Isn't it just Spider-Man either way?" I asked.

"Yes, but there's pink or blue." My head hit the steering wheel.

This story continues on the next page.


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22 comments
Konstantin Gelman
Konstantin Gelman

We need to stop making boy and girl clothing too!!! Please.....move along.

Erika Pfaab
Erika Pfaab

How strange that you're so concerned with the plastic junk toy and not at all with the chemical shit storm which mcdonalds calls "food" that you are feeding your small child. Ridiculous.

Danny Joe Brune
Danny Joe Brune

I agree they should not be eating it. Yes, there is gender specific toys. I hope there always will be. Boys and girls are 2 different genders. And if 1 person out of a 100 gets their feelings hurt, sorry. Why should the other 99 have to have change for the 1%. I am all for treating people the same, gender, race whatever. I sure hate to burst someone's bubble, but there are male and female people. Always will be. At some point the "political correct" thinking needs to have some common sense behind it.

Jose Limon
Jose Limon

I have to agree it isn't McDonalds job to teach our kids about gender roles.... Although, Maybe they should just have one little toy and not ask or ask "blue or pink?". Either way, The best way to get to McDonalds is to not give them your business. I'd be more worried about the crap the food has in it than the cheap toy that it comes with.

Joey
Joey

I would worry less about the toy and more about feeding my kid McDonalds frequently.

conatonc
conatonc

I also have a daughter who generally chooses the "boy" option, and the worst in recent memory was when they had Adventure Time toys but excluded the show's major female characters because that whole set was for the boys.

Laura Wichmann
Laura Wichmann

Idk maybe but who cares they're toys that come with food your little kid shouldn't be eating anyway.

jasonq
jasonq

"I was glad that Spidey wasn't regulated to just boys."

The word you're looking for is "relegated".

eudemonist
eudemonist

"...priss it up"?  Why do you perpetuate the stereotype of pink as "prissy", Jef?  Pink is totally a neutral color.  I'm so offended I may go write an editorial and post it to my Tumblr.

tianna6
tianna6

The gender police have arrived! Jef, you nailed it. Gender identification is not as clear as the previous poster would imply. Our culture identifies girl/boy when other non-western cultures have many designations. We should not be shoving what we perceive as their black or white gender down their throats.

ptarmigan61
ptarmigan61

Women buy makeup because (by and large) men have dictated that it is expected. We judge them on the basis of appearance, and as a result, they also do it to each other, so they've been conditioned into doing the patriarchy's job for it.

My son is 11 and his favorite color has always been pink. He's a hockey player and a chess player and loves video games. He's analytical and not terribly empathic. In most ways, he fits the stereotype of a boy. I love the fact that his favorite color is pink and he hasn't allowed the teasing of peers (and it's happened) to change his mind about that. If he stops liking pink, I'll be sad because it will feel like another small victory for hegemonic masculinity.

gypsyfaerie
gypsyfaerie

@lennyschafer that was a ridiculous comment. "Women spend a fortune on fashion on makeup specifically to distinguish themselves from men in superficial apperance?" Fail. You are a joke, Jef is a genius. This is the real world, get your head out of your ass and realize it.

lennyschafer
lennyschafer

Only a studied ignorance would think that the main difference in girls and boys are their "pee hole."  Perhaps one might take note that adult women and adult men dress by gender. Most have gender identifiable first names. Women, collectively, spend a fortune on fashion and makeup specifically to distinguish themselves from men in superficial appearance. Arguing against gender specific toys is a joke.The real world is happy with the differences.

jwigz
jwigz

You are correct that boy and girl are two different genders. I am unsure what that has to do with blue vs pink. Not all girls prefer pink and not all boys prefer blue. This is not a boy vs. girl thing. Much like the fact that some boys like dolls and some girls like G.I. Joe toys, again, this is not a gendered thing. I am not offended, but I do agree that it does not make sense to ask if it is a boy or girl, since many girls (including me, when I was young) would much rather have the "boy" toy and many boys would rather the "girl" toy. This tells most intelligent people that the toy is not a boy or girl toy, but simply, a toy. It would make more sense to ask, would you prefer the doll or the car, etc. Again, I am not overly offended by the distinction, but your simplification of gender simply does not make sense. 


JefWithOneF
JefWithOneF topcommenter

@jasonq  No, the second amendment clearly calls for a well regulated Spider-Man. 

jasonq
jasonq

@lennyschafer Or not so happy. Glad you like the box you were given to live in, but not everyone does.

juliezarate
juliezarate

@lennyschafer  they'll have a lifetime to be miserable, just let kids be kids and like what they wanna like.

eudemonist
eudemonist

@lennyschafer @ptarmigan61Dude, don't you know women don't have agency?  Any actions they take are because they have been duped and brainwashed by the oppressive Patriarchy.  Just because a woman says she wants something, enjoys it, and even _believes_ she likes it, it's really only because she has been groomed throughout her life by the shitlords that make up our slave society.


Take sex, for example:  you think some women enjoy it, even seek it, don't you?  That's because you haven't checked your privilege.  Here, enlighten yourself:  http://witchwind.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/piv-is-always-rape-ok/

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