Friday, September 18, 2009

Some Girls Like Cars

This may be my first RANT in the history of this blog. Uncharacteristic of me, I know. But here goes nuthin' on behalf of my nine-year old daughter, Miss M.

McDonald's Restaurant (and I use the term loosely) has decided to offer HappyMeals of gender.  Yes - there's a "girl meal" and a "boy meal."  The sex of the meals is of course defined by the toy which is haphazardly thrown into the paper bag.  (BTW, what happened to the box?)

Today for example, the "boy" version included a matchbox car and the "girl" version included a Barbie comb and mirror.

As I ordered two meals and happened to have my son and daughter with me, the cashier loudly proclaimed that we were getting "one boy meal and one girl meal."

After some embarrasseed hesitation, Miss M. politely mentioned that she preferred cars over barbies.  The cashier gave an impatient sigh, then yelled back to the Micky Dee crew more loudly than was necessary, "MAKE THAT TWO BOY MEALS!!"

Do you feel my pain? 

We have a "you get what you get and you don't get upset" rule in my house.  So it wasn't about my daughter getting or not getting the toy she preferred.

What bugged me is that she left feeling like "that weird girl who likes boy's toys" again.

How hard would it be to have a "car meal" and a "Barbie meal"?  Why do these fast food chains find it it necessary to contribute to sex role stereotyping?

What if my son liked Barbies?  O.M.G. - the horror!   Ugh.

People are going to tell me I shouldn't buy their crappy food anyway.  I know, I know.

Anyway, I'm done.  But just had to get that off my chest.

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21 comments:

La Jenno said...

Wonderful rant, Charlene. I totally agree that they shouldn't just add more momentum to the stereotypes that society has placed on gender to "train" young people for their expected roles in said society. Women can do far more than just sit around and look pretty and men can do far more than just drive around recklessly. :)

Jenno

Tough Cookie Mommy said...

Charlene, as a teacher and a Mom, I can tell you that this is terrible. Children are supposed to be encouraged to pursue their individual interests regardless of preconceived gender stereotypes. I am disgusted with McDonald's.

Sarah said...

hey - they are mcdonald workers. what can you expect? actually we should shoot the guy/woman who invented barbie. :)

Charlene said...

LOL! And I found out by friend Carolin Bender that in fact gender-based Happy Meals have been going on for years. Yikes!

squirrelygirl said...

I don't blame you for ranting. With "girl" toys and "boy" toys that have "girl" colors and "boy" colors how are our children supposed to grow up with open minds?
Anyway, great rant. These are issues that we have to deal with on a daily basis as parents.

Charlene said...

Thanks squirrely and also thanks for being my newest follower! :-)

Antoinette said...

I agree! I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter and I get such strange looks when I ask for the "boy" meal. She LOVES the cars. The girly barbie toys end up in the garbage. I'd much rather her have something she'll love and play with than something that's going to get thrown out.

Argentum Vulgaris said...

And my Julio would have much rather had the Barbie than some cruddy car when he was younger, in fact he'd probably still go for the Barbie at 24...

Good rant Charlene.

AV

Charlene said...

Funny that - my dear hubby says he also prefers Barbie. :-)

jmvcep said...

After a certain age Barbie is soo uncool. My 7 and 9 year old girls prefer the toys that come with the "boy" meal. I say they just do away with the garbage and offer something useful, perhaps a crossword puzzle or book. OMG imagine that. Just a thought

Sal Coraccio said...

That's just stupid. I won't go in there anyhow.

Mimi and Tilly said...

Fantastic post. I totally agree with your viewpoint. Gender bias and stereotyping winds me up! I loved cars as a little girl, as well as trucks. I liked dolls too. My partner liked to knit when he was a little boy. Thanks for visiting my blog Mimi and Tilly. Your comment is much appreciated! Sending SITS smiles. Have a lovely day. (Lovely blog by the way.)

The McLarin said...

you know, i live state-side, but i used to work in a mcdonald's. and the cashier shouldn't have been so rude. you should have complained to the manager.
http://nefertarispunk.blogspot.com/

Julie said...

I'm a 13 year old girl and I know a lot about actual real cars. Like the hondas, the town cars, the mercedes-benz, and that makes me the weird one in my group of friends, because I know just about as much about cars as the boys. But I'm pretty used to being the black sheep anyway...

Hunter said...

I'm in total agreement with jmvcep on this one. Something that's fun, educational, and gender neutral is what they should put in those bags.

Something like cholesterol medication.

Just saying...

Ashley said...

I totally agree with you on the "boy" and "girl" toys. It's funny because the little boy that I babysit for, he's almost 3 years old, likes to play with my little neice's babydolls. At my house, we don't make a big deal out of it, but I know his parent's wouldn't be very happy with me letting him play with "girl" toys. I think it is ridiculous though to make a child feel bad for something like that. In my opinion, it's not an issue with the child, but more of an insecurity issue with whoever has a problem with it.

The Social Drunk said...

Way back 10 years ago when I was 15 and working at McDonald's we had the same deal. But we didn't say "boy's meal" or "girl's meal". We asked if the customer wanted Hot Wheels or Barbies. We understood that same girls wanted the cars and some boys wanted the dolls. I really didn't care what toy a kid got. I was getting paid crap anyway.

http://thesocialdrunk.blogspot.com/

Charlene said...

Interesting that they had it right at one point. But it's a great point that the workers really don't give a darn... and they don't get paid enough to give a darn. That's really why I didn't complain to Ronald. Not the employee's fault that McDonald's has gender based Happy Meals. But I know if I did complain, the employee would be the scapegoat.

Jennifer said...

I don't even blame McDonald's for this one, (and I blame McDonld's for everything... read my hate letter to them sometime on my blog). I blame the idiot behind the counter who couldn't think of a better way to phrase it. Why couldn't she consider your daughters feelings for a minute and say "We'll have two matchbox happy meals" or something to that effect?

Tell your daughter not to worry... matchbox cars are better than a stupid compact and fake lipstick anyday!

plentymorefishoutofwater said...

I would have loved the Barbie comb and mirror. Get your point though...just discovered your blog - keep up the good work and consider yourself followed.
Check out mine...it's about my dating nightmares:
http://plentymorefishoutofwater.blogspot.com/

jules said...

Generally speaking, in the last several months I've started to take notice of the lack of people skills people have in food establishments. I try to keep my patience because I know I wouldn't be happy if I was the one behind the counter, but at the same time, at 18 I was the girl behind the counter and I never was that unthoughtful!

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