Happy Meal Toys
“Is it for a boy or a girl?”
Hello! Just wanting to get some answers from you guys regarding your happy meals.I am the mother of a beautiful 2yo…
Imogen Louise has made a complaint on the McDonalds Facebook page about being asked whether the Happy Meal she was buying was for a girl or a boy. The post has over three thousand comments, many of them strongly disagreeing with her.
It seems like an innocent enough question and McDonalds has been doing this for years. Asking parents whether or not the Happy Meal is for a boy or a girl and assigning them a toy based on their gender.
Gender Stereotyping Children
My daughter, was much like Imogene’s, would also often opt for the toy designated “for boys”. She preferred trucks, trains, cars, and superheroes compared to toys generally allocated to girls like dolls, ponies, Barbies etc.
Whenever we’ve been to McDonalds to get a Happy Meal for the kids I’ve asked for “two boys toys”, which occasionally results in a confused second glance at my daughter! Sometimes we’ve still ended up with a girls toy in the box, which we’ve swapped back with no drama.
So, it seems pretty obvious to me that children should just be given the opportunity to choose which toy they’d actually prefer, without assigning them one based on their gender.
And that goes for everywhere – not just McDonald’s.
The Inevitable Backlash
People are so deeply uncomfortable with the idea of not gender stereotyping children. It seems to make them irate to suggest that there’s no such thing as “boys toys” and “girls toys”.
The comments responding to Imogene Louise’s Facebook are unfortunately predictable. They call her a “nutter”, “pathetic”, “snarky”, “dumb”, “precious” and “too PC”. They’ve said things like “I feel sorry for your kids”, “You must be bored”, and ironically several have suggested that she needs to be a better mother and cook a proper meal for her child.
And there are so many comments telling her that it’s not a big deal, that she’s overreacting and to get over it – and yet it’s obviously a big deal to them or they wouldn’t have commented.
I don’t understand why people are so fiercely defensive of maintaining gender stereotypes.
It’s Not That Hard
“ Is it too hard to simply ask “would you prefer A or B?” “
That it. Problem solved. Discussion over. “Would you like a Batman or a My Little Pony?” How is that harder than asking “Is it for a boy or a girl?”
This doesn’t have to be a big deal. The solution is painfully simple. But the fact that it seems so hard and that it makes people so angry suggests that gender stereotyping children is a much bigger issue than just Happy Meal toys.
But that doesn’t mean that McDonalds can’t help by making one small step towards showing people that toys are for children, regardless of their gender.
Feel free to let me know what you think be commenting below!