Thursday, January 6, 2011

McDonald's Sexism Fail

I take my three children (one girl, two boys) to McDonald's about twice a month, usually while on road trips to visit family. (I get them apple slices, 2% milk, and all white meat chicken nuggets, but nutrition isn't the topic at hand.) When I go to McDonald's, (It doesn't matter if it's a corporate or franchise McDonald's, or in what city), I'm invariably asked the same question:

"Would you like a girl toy or boy toy?"


This kills me, and it kills my daughter, especially when I specify that I want three Bakugans or three cars or three whatever, and they still pass out a 'girl' toy after they see my daughter in the car. Tonight was the last straw. I can't take my kids to a place that's going to blatantly gender-shame them.

I mean, would it REALLY be so hard for them so say 'Would you like a Bakugan or a Hello Kitty toy?' instead? Really?

/endrant

UPDATE: Response from McDonald's rep Meredith:

"I read your posting and I understand- maybe you could just say which toys your children would prefer-hope that helps"

Really? You understand? I think not, because your response essentially boils down to 'We're going to continue to be blatantly sexist. Deal with it.'.













UPDATE 2: The Twitter rep is giving out more excuses about how hard it would be for the crew members to remember which lines they have. They get a series of toys every two weeks, max. Usually, it's a month or more.

Regardless, if my kids can remember what lines they have, the crew members can remember, especially after they're given out three dozen in the first day. They need to stop gender-shaming these kids. I mean, its 2011, not 1911.

"and with the changing toys, the crew people won't have to remember which promotion is running. Just my thoughts tho!"
 












UPDATE 3: So Consumerist picked up the story, after which McDonald's corporate contacted me to apologize and offer replacement toys. I accepted the apology right away. The replacement toys never came. Two weeks after that, someone who works as a Secret Shopper contacted me to let me know that McDonald's had just began a large-scale operation to determine what's actually happening at the window, in regards to toys. Maybe, eventually, this will change. (Also, pooh on those who scoffed at my attempt to get even a small thing to change. :D)

10 comments:

  1. I don't get it all. I have 2 boys and 2 girls. Every one of them would rather have the toy for their sex than the toy for the opposite sex. Do you really want your girls playing with cars and your boys playing with dolls? I don't get it all.

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  2. Do you really expect the employees to REMEMBER THE NAMES of the toys that CHANGE EVERY WEEK?

    the employees say "girl/boy" toy because it's faster and more efficient.

    you should start teaching your child the fact that it's okay to like things of the opposite sex instead of hiding it from them.

    If they feel any sort of shame (it's more like you're the one with the shame) deal with it and teach them right. don't ignore it and blame others.

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  3. Do you really want your girls playing with cars and your boys playing with dolls? I don't get it all.

    Would that really be horrible? What is instead of putting our kids in gender, color-coded boxes immediately we acknowledged that most people don't fit a gender binary. Maybe my girl likes transformers? Maybe my son likes Hello Kitty. Maybe your son would like Hello Kitty if we didn't spend all our time brainwashing kids with appropriate gender behaviors.

    I don't see why it would be so hard to just have toys for kids. I hear back in the day (you know, as late as the 1960w) toys were just toys. Toy makers decided to color code everything to make more money.

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  4. You may want to re-title this article as, "Parent fails to recognize that boys & girls may be different fail."

    I once read a very insightful piece about boys. Ok, so you as a parent have never given your child a toy gun or sword. They will make them up all on their own out of sticks, their finger, chopsticks, a sandwich, whatever is handy. I've seen it first hand in my own son.

    Likewise, the majority of girls naturally gravitate toward other toys as well.

    Hint: boys & girls are different, despite with the feminist movement would tell you.

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  5. The fact that they're asking your kids which toy they want isn't the problem, it's a symptom. The problem is McDonalds buying into the idea that TOYS should be gender-specific. That boys just "naturally" like cars and shit, and girls "naturally" like dolls and Disney princesses. I don't mind them having multiple choices, but the exaggerated difference between the marketing styles stifles kids' creativity and ideas.

    @Jason: I challenge you to find me one kid who gravitates towards "boy" toys --who hasn't ALREADY been exposed to the idea of gender-specific toys from other boys and at school. Because that's the only way we can prove if it's nature or nurture.

    Maybe I'm just messed up. Maybe I only had a collection of toy cars when I was a kid because I was secretly a giant dyke.

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  6. I'm honestly surprised by the negative comments here. I just read this and I 100% agree that it's stupid to pigeon hole the kids. WHY are girls only allowed to play with 'girl' toys, and boys only allowed to play with 'boy' toys. Can't we all choose what we want individually? I do realize that girls and boys tend to steer towards specific toys, but that isn't true for everyone and this kind of stuff really hurts our kids who don't want to conform.

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  7. Ok, so you as a parent have never given your child a toy gun or sword.

    Are you commenting on the correct blog? This post doesn't have anything to do with weapons, and my children have not only engaged in sword play, but have actually gone hunting.

    My daughter is a better shot than my son, by the way.

    Likewise, the majority of girls naturally gravitate toward other toys as well.

    Prove it.

    Hint: boys & girls are different, despite with the feminist movement would tell you.

    The 'feminist movement' didn't tell you anything. The fact is that many girls enjoy playing with what McDonald's considers 'boy toys' and many boys enjoy playing with what McDonald's considers 'girl toys'. I've witnessed this first-hand with my own children.

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  8. @yllw - I posted this comment before but I guess I didn't press post? Anyway, McDonald's toys don't change every week. They change every month, and sometimes less. It would be very simple to remember what toys come out each month, and to use those names (robot, cat) instead of genders (boy, girl).

    In short, I understand that it's hard to not be a bigoted asshole, but it's worth the effort.

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  9. Wow, commenters' sexism fail.

    I agree with @theconfirmedbachelor: it's pretty telling that McDonald's keeps insisting on distributing such heavily gendered toys in the first place. (Perhaps merely having "toys" would be too disturbingly radical for such a fine, wholesome corporation? THINK OF THE CHILDREN, after all.)

    I'm eager to see their continuing response to your blog.

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  10. "Hint: boys & girls are different, despite with the feminist movement would tell you."

    actually, biologically and psychologically, they're quite similar. did you ever think that maybe the perceived differences are due to different treatment? little girls get praise for being "sweet" and "nice". little boys get praise for not being "sissies". is it any wonder that boys like toy weapons and girls like to nurture dolls? when the boys grow up and have kids, there's nothing "sissy" about daddy cuddling his baby, so why should it be any different for kids?

    and girls like boy toys too. when i was a kid, i would have killed for a transformer, but i never asked for one. why? because i was aware that, as a girl, i was supposed to play with barbies. so i played "horrific car accident" with my barbies, and went to my friend nicholas' house to have epic battles with ninja turtles. too bad i didn't learn to just ask for what i wanted.

    so that's the thing. attaching gender labels to toys confuses kids about what they actually want to play with. does your little girl want a pink princess doll? great, get it! does your little boy want a pink princess doll? great, get it! does your little girl want an action figure with a tiny gun? great! ...i think you get my drift.

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