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Raising My Rainbow
  snappy meals

McDonald’s Toy Stereotyping: One Happy Meal With a Side of Gender Issues To Go Please

Raising My Rainbow is written by the mother of a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son. She’s chronicling their journey on Queerty right here. Read up on RMR‘s cast of characters.

C.J. doesn’t want a Tonka Garage Truck, he wants a My Little Pony. C.J. doesn’t want a Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 Fused car, he wants a Barbie: A Fairy Secret doll.
C.J. doesn’t want a Young Justice action figure, he wants a Littlest Pet Shop pet. What C.J. wants totally confuses McDonald’s.

January 21: We walk into McDonald’s and order a Happy Meal. “For a boy, right?,” the cashier asks looking at C.J.

“It’s for a boy, but we would like the girl toy,” I explain, as I have to on most trips to C.J.’s favorite dining establishment.

C.J. always looks back and forth between me and the cashier with eyes that tell me that he is fearful his request for a girl toy might be rejected because he is – obviously — a boy. He isn’t concerned with what the cashier thinks; he just wants – like every four year old – to get what he wants. He breathes a sigh of relief when his wish is granted. An anxiety attack and tears are averted.


You can’t blame C.J. I mean, which toy would you rather have?

February 22: We walk into McDonald’s and order a Happy Meal. “Would you like a boy toy or girl toy?” the manager asks before seeing C.J. and saying “Oh, sorry, you want a boy toy.”

“No, no, we want the girl toy,” I said, pretending to be really pleasant.

“Oh, I just thought that since he’s a….”

“Yes, but we’ll take the girl toy,” I say loudly and firmly with a saccharin smile that says “give me the damn girl toy and don’t cause a scene.”

(Awkward moment goes here.)


Again, the choice is so obvious.

March 7: We drive up to McDonald’s and order a Happy Meal. “For a boy or a girl?” the bored voice mumbles out of the metal drive-through box.

“It’s for a girl,” C.J.’s Dad says, upset that gender identity issues are now being served with his Big Mac. As wonderful as C.J.’s Dad is about raising a slightly effeminate, fabulous son, it does bother him to call him a girl.

I told him that he didn’t have to refer to C.J. as a girl, he could have selected his words differently and suddenly we are Mr. and Mrs. Bickerson. C.J.’s Dad’s face turns red and he grips the steering wheel a little tighter. I start to giggle. We aren’t the only family dealing with such McProblems.

The very next day, my college friend C posted this on her Facebook: “I don’t like that when ordering a Happy Meal I’m asked if it is for a boy or a girl, when the question should actually be “do you want a car or a Barbie?”

Amen sister!

A handful of other moms agreed on C’s Facebook page. C’s little guy isn’t slightly effeminate, like C.J., but she explains that “other than the obvious obnoxiousness of the gender stereotyping going on, sometimes the ‘opposite gender’ toy is the better choice for my son. He knows what a stuffed bear is, not so much a Bakugan whosie-whatsit.”

C.J.’s Brother noticed that there is a Happy Meal website with fun games and activities. We pull up the site and start to register to play. McDonald’s, again, wants to know if we are a boy or a girl. I can’t explain to the computer that we have one boy who likes to play with boy toys and one boy who likes to play with girl toys. We log off.

If McDonald’s keeps this up, I’ll have to make lunch more often. Tears.

By:           Raising My Rainbow is written by the mother of a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son. Visit RaisingMyRainbow.com.
On:           Mar 18, 2011
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 96 Comments
    • mark
      mark

      How bout making CJ some creative lunches. McDonalds is an evil corporation that serves up nice helpings of heart disease and diabetes.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mathew
      Mathew

      I remember always getting a Happy Meal and requesting the girl toy when I was little.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 7:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt
      Matt

      As a McDonald’s employee, I try my very best to ask “Do you want toy A or B?” because I hate stereotyping (not to mention that I often feel that the “girl” toys are just better made). I do slip up sometimes, but I am trying my best to avoid the “Is it for a boy or girl?” question.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 7:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Barry
      Barry

      Back in the day, I worked part-time at McDonald’s after school and between classes in college. When working the Drive-Thru, I always asked what toy a customer wanted, like “Hot Wheels or Barbie.” The customer, 100% of the time, in a snotty attitude, would yell through the speaker, “I want a BOY Happy Meal” or a “GIRL Happy Meal.” To get revenge, I would make sure they got one ketchup and 1 dipping sauce for their 20 piece McNuggets and Super Size fries. LMAO! In all seriousness, the blame is belongs on both side of the counter. A toy is a toy. Kids should be able to choose they what, without it becoming a gender issue argument. McDonald’s employees and customers should be sensitive to this issue.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tommy Marx
      Tommy Marx

      My immediate reactions to this:

      1. McDonald’s food sucks. What you are teaching your child is that bland is best. I realize it’s easiest to go with the Happy Meal, but it’s a lazy option. Try making macaroni and cheese and freezing portions. Buy a bag of frozen tater tots. Get a couple pounds of hamburger, shape it into small patties, and freeze them for later. There are a lot of things you can make that take very little time and can easily be cooked/reheated at a later time. If your child wants a cheap toy, take him to a dollar store and let him pick out two or three things that catch his fancy.

      2. As far as I know, McDonald’s is the only fast food that has different toys for each gender. Obviously it’s because they can make twice as much money merchandising Tonka and Barbie than if they were to offer a gender neutral toy. By frequenting their stores, you are enforcing the gender stereotypes you are railing against.

      3. I really don’t like McDonald’s. Their fries are pretty good, but everything else tastes like what someone imagines real food might taste like. If you have to eat fast food, at least try Burger King or Wendy’s or one of the chains that at least tries to taste like food.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 7:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Simon
      Simon

      Screw Barbie, I always wanted naked Ken. Anyway in my childhood memories about visiting McEvilcorp I had robots and cars. Girls had unicorns with rainbows, evil bitches.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 7:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Victoria
      Victoria

      When I was younger, we went through the same ordeal and that was about 15 years ago. I always screamed when I got a barbie or anything of the sort, so when we went to McD’s my parents knew better to ask for the “boy” toys or else risk a tantrum from me. I never thought about it until I read your article, but it seems just another situation for “gay” kids to feel awkward and not normal. Why is it so hard just to say, “Do you want a car, or the barbie?” McD’s should be a fun outing with your kids, not one that’s anxiety ridden.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 8:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tim
      Tim

      Sexism.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 8:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • christopher di spirito
      christopher di spirito

      McDonald’s food is really awful. I prefer In-N-Out Burger, Wendy’s, or Burger King to McDonald’s.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 8:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lucky Luke
      Lucky Luke

      Here in Brazil they always ask “What toy do you want?”, show the kid a picture with the option to choose and that’s it. At least in the ones I usually eat.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 8:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rick
      Rick

      McDonald’s asks a simple question, which is answered simply and without confusion by 99% of parents who have common sense.

      I’m disgusted at how this wretched woman revels in her “interesting” dilemma.

      I believe your son will grow up to hate you for doing this.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charlie
      Charlie

      @Rick: Wooooooooah!

      Not a simple issue dude. Sometimes little boys want to play with a “girl toy,” sometimes little girls want to play with a “boy toy.”

      What she’s doing is rather fantastic “He’s a boy and we want the girl toy.” She’s letting her little guy know that it’s ok as far as she’s concerned for a little dude to have the girl toy. This isn’t some scary secret thing that she is making him hide away, she’s getting him comfortable with in public. This kid is likely to be more comfortable later in life dealing with gender expression.

      Even more than that she’s letting other moms (who may want to do what she has done but are nervous) that they aren’t the only one out there dealing with this.

      Why will her son grow to hate her for buying the toy that he wants?

      Mar 18, 2011 at 9:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      Honestly, sometimes it’s hard to remember *what* the toy is when you have 20 or so different designs in a set and often are really using one or the other from a previous series that had leftovers…. and even if you do keep it straight (you think asking “boy or girl” is bad, try accidentally and out of habit offering the previous set that there’s no more of. Almost guaranteed it will be to someone who was hoping you still had them and will come back angrily waving whatever they got in its place)…. anyway, even if you do keep it straight, you wind up with a conversation like this:

      “Did you want a Bionicle or Bratz?”
      “A what?”
      “Bionicle or Bratz?”
      “What’s a Bionicle?”
      “It’ a sort of Lego-monster-robot thing.”
      “It’s for a *GIRL*”

      In a perfect world… but this isn’t one, and the simplest, and *almost* foolproof, thing to do if you really don’t want to go through this is to skip the question phase entirely: “I want a (hamburger/cheeseburger/nugget) Happy Meal with (fries/apples) and a (Hot Wheels/Barbie/whatever) toy.”

      Yes, I know how this sounds, and that it’s largely a function of running on autopilot… but then, if you take hundreds of orders a day, you’re *going* to run on autopilot at least to an extent… and that’s also what keeps things moving quickly (when they do) and keeps necessary questions from being forgotten (even if they’re sometimes phrased differently than you would like.)

      And yes, the autopilot thing goes both ways: it’s not at all infrequent to hear “May I take your order?” answered with “NO, I’d like a Big Mac Meal…” (from someone used to hearing a presell) or “which nugget sauce would you like?” with “Coke.”

      Mar 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      Also, it IS of course true that some people just aren’t that bright and get confused by a boy who wants a girl toy. It’s just not the only explanation.

      I often wished (for a variety of reasons) they’d go back to “a different toy each week! Collect all 4,” rather than having two series of 8-10 toys each every three weeks.\

      Mar 18, 2011 at 9:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tori
      Tori

      @Victoria: As well as straight and trans kids.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 9:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ian
      Ian

      @Tommy Marx: I like Arby’s Roast Burger.
      @Rick: Wow, what a bitch (you).

      Discussing non-gender conforming toys I remember quite fondly that my all-time favorite toy as a child was my Lynda Carter Wonder Woman doll, & my mother knew far better than to ever attempt to make me part with it ;)

      Mar 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      @mark: I don’t know about Mickey D’s being an “evil corporation”, but I have to agree with you about concerns over the health of their food. Just take a look at how chicken nuggets are made (do NOTclick if you have a weak stomach).

      Mar 18, 2011 at 10:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • drums
      drums

      Is this different-toys-for-different-stereotypes thing new, or region specific? because I don’t remember it from when I was little–sometimes I’d get a doll sometimes I’d get a tractor, there was no choice. Just whatever the store had more of, I guess. And then my parents became more educated about nutrition and stopped taking me to places where it would probably be healthier to eat the toy than the meal of battered fat fried in oil served with a side of chemical preservatives.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 10:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      @drums: They’ve been doing it since at least the early 90’s, though it used to be less often.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 10:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AC Walker
      AC Walker

      @Rick: He’ll hate his mom for going out of her way to get him what he wants? What the hell is wrong with you?

      Mar 18, 2011 at 11:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AC Walker
      AC Walker

      @John: That has been debunked. Google it. Snopes it.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tommy Marx
      Tommy Marx

      @Ian: I had a Luke Skywalker doll – or action figure or whatever – that had a mounded crotch. I’m not saying I ever licked that plastic crotch. But I’m not saying I didn’t. :-)

      And Arby’s is good.

      Mar 18, 2011 at 11:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      So what if a restaurant ask if you want a boy toy or a girl toy! There are way more important things in this world. Gays are being hung in Muslim countries, and oppressed by religious radicals in America. If McDonalds wants to ask patrons if they want a girl or a boy toy based on stereotypes, why does it matter? Is anyone forcing you to go there? Of course not! In fact, it would be better for your children if you didn’t go.
      Can’t we just deal with the fact that our sexuality is breaking away from the norm? I’m an Atheist, but I don’t freak out when people say Merry Christmas to me. No one is forcing me to celebrate that holiday, just as no one is forcing the child to pick the boy toy.
      Also, this mom seems to be a repugnant figure. Flaunting her sons development as a series of stories on queerty, I’m sure her son will be happy when he sees all the stuff she’s wrote about him.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 2:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • boomerangs
      boomerangs

      @AC Walker: I just Snopes’ed it myself, and it hasn’t exactly been “debunked”. It said that the picture and info might be slightly misleading, but much of the meat quality of mechanically separated meat is still nasty and horrible and full of artificial flavouring and chemicals such as ammonia. So. Don’t eat chicken patties or hot dogs.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 4:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      Perhaps a translation would help… “Boy or girl?” is simply a much-shortened form of “Would you like the toy that mainly boys ask for, or the kind mostly girls want?” It’s not meant even to imply* that there is anything wrong with wanting the other one.

      *and therefore does NOT imply. “Imply,” by definition, means the extra meaning is intended by the speaker.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 4:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ryan
      ryan

      If you look up “trivial non-problem” in the dictionary, you’ll find this. The vast majority of boys prefer trucks, the vast majority of girls prefer dolls. This is not “stereotyping”. This is biology. Unless McDonalds is flat-out refusing to give the dolls to boys and vice-versa, there’s no issue here at all.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 4:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Pianoslack
      Pianoslack

      When I worked at McDonald’s I always tried to ask “Do you want the hot wheels car or the barbie?” (Or whatever corresponding toys were offered) and I ran into two problems:

      The first was most people in my community wanted a toy corresponding the gender (as expected) and literally didn’t understand what I was asking because they weren’t really listening, but rather waiting for the question before answering, so I always ended up having to repeat/explain myself, or asking them ‘boy or girl’ in the end. The few families that wanted different toys seemed extremely grateful for it though, so I always did my best.

      The second problem was that my general manager was fairly conservative and married to corporate protocol. The first time she heard me ask “hot wheels or barbie” to a customer she just slammed the “gender appropriate” toy on the tray and then lectured me on how that was inappropriate to ask. Lesson learned: when the boss is listening, pretend to play along.

      In the end though I always felt really uncomfortable because when I was young there were times I wanted the boy’s toy and times I wanted the girl’s toy, because, let’s face it: The hot wheels car rocks, but the mini transformer just doesn’t stand up to a fruit-scented my little pony horse.

      The main issue is just changing word rhetoric – and where people’s kids are involved that can always be a difficult and touchy issue, even if it seems -and really should be- simple.

      And everyone railing on the food? Give it a rest – no one’s forcing you to eat it. I could go on, but that’s about the entire point. You don’t have to eat it, don’t complain because other people are.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 5:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mikey
      Mikey

      @ryan: it’s actually cultural implementation – boys are taught to act like boys and girls like girls. There’s a great study I can’t totally recall where kids as young as preschool are shown to be treated differently based on their gender – girls are yelled at more for being rowdy, boys are questioned more if they play with dolls, etc.

      It’s definitely not a bad thing by any means – it’s how culture works – – in this case though, it’s trivial in that requesting a different toy shouldn’t be an issue, but big in the philosophical sense as it says something about people’s reactions to children who fall outside the cultural norm. But as far as popular understanding goes, this awareness is still in many ways in its infancy: we should be aware, but its not a call to arms.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 5:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ryan
      ryan

      No I’m sorry, Mikey, you’re just wrong. In the 70’s, the hippies tried to push that “cultural” argument, in a misguided attempt to promote gender equality. They argued that the genders should be treated equally (and they were right) but that doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same. Four year olds aren’t aware of gender inequality issues. They just want the toy they want. And most girls want dolls and horses, and most boys want cars and guns. Any parent will confirm this. Of course, the kids who don’t conform to gender norms shouldn’t be mocked or belittled. The hippies were right about that part.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 5:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • justiceontherocks
      justiceontherocks

      @Rick: For writing this drivel AND for taking him to McDonald’d so he can get a head start on a variety of health problems.

      This woman needs to get a life and some health and stop using her child as a character is her stories.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 9:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Drew
      Drew

      @ryan: Are you serious? You actually believe there’s a biological imperative for boys to prefer trucks and girls to prefer rainbow unicorns? And you back it up with “any parent will confirm this” as a comment on an article written by a parent who is obviously NOT going to confirm it? This is the worst kind of trolling, dude.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 10:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ian
      Ian

      @Mikey: There’s another study that shows that children as young as age 6 can display racism that has been taught to them. I personally think I might have been a little more naturaly ‘swishy’ as a child if my parents hadn’t been always enforcing what they perceived as proper gender-norms upon me. I think my childhood would have been happier if I had been allowed to completely develop as I was intended, extra swishiness & all.

      And for those going on about the mom taking her child to McDonald’s if you check the dates you’ll see it’s only about once per month. Most families let their children eat fast food at least 2X per week.

      And lastly if any of you complainers about the mom had BOTHERED to go to her blog instead of making stupid comments based on NO fact, you’d see that her’s is a personal blog to detail her daily frustrations & Queerty sometimes uses the excerpts from when she talks about her gender-nonconforming son. She isn’t publishing, and even if she was I applaud her as she comes across as a modern day Erma Bombeck for non-gender conforming children!

      Mar 19, 2011 at 10:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ryan
      ryan

      @Drew, you obviously don’t have kids, nor do spend anytime around them. Of course it’s a biological imperative. Do you really think two and three year old boys are choosing trucks over dolls so no one will think they’re gay? Of course not. They choose them because they’re more appealing. My mom ran a daycare when I was growing up. I’ve seen literally dozens of kids grow up in front of me. Nearly all the boys played with cars and nearly all the girls played with dolls. And the few that didn’t weren’t mocked or discouraged by my mom; there just weren’t that many of them. I can only think of one boy off the top of my head who played with dolls, and yes, we suspected he was gay. And the reason why this mother is even writing this blog, and why Queerty is publishing it is because the boy’s behaveis unusual and outside of “normal” biological behavior. Much like being gay.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 10:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The sane Francis
      The sane Francis

      The people on here who are gender-conformist believers are so obvious.

      Anyway, it’s about realizing that not all boys want traditionally masculine toys, and not all girls want traditionally feminine toys, so therefore that should be respected and taken into account. When it isn’t you are essentially saying these kids don’t exist and ultimately saying they are not “legitimate” or acceptable. McDonald’s should recognize this and make a change.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 10:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ryan
      ryan

      Also, do you read Dan Savage? He has a son (unlike you) and we agrees with me. Google search his columns. But I suppose he’s just “trolling”.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 10:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon1981
      Shannon1981

      Kids just want what they want. They aren’t thinking, especially at age 4, about what they are “supposed” to want. These days, people and businesses need to be sensitive to that. How hard is it for the employee to be like, “do you want the GI Joe or the Barbie?” instead of the boy toy/girl toy business. Furthermore, it should be made abundantly clear that they are not to assume that just because a kid is a boy he wants the traditionally boy happy mean and vice versa. It could save a lot of uncomfortable situations. Just show a little sensitivity. All this gender binary crap really needs to stop. There are sooo many people in the world that simply don’t conform to that.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 11:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • astor
      astor

      Of course there’s a biological difference. But that doesn’t mean kids shouldn’t be able to choose what toy they want, without it being deemed “boyish” or “girlish”. If you have fifty little boys and fifty little girls and a toy room full of cars, guns, dolls and horses, most of the kids will elect the “stereotype” toys – but not all of them and not always, and not necessarily for the reason they may be gay or straight.

      My sons had all sorts of toys. They elected cars over dolls perhaps 70% of the time, but the all time favorite was lego, used to create exciting worlds where exciting stories unfolded.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 11:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tempest
      tempest

      @Rick:
      As a former little girl who always wanted the “boy toys,” I can attest to the fact that I’m now a woman in her 40’s who is deeply grateful to my father, who always made sure I got the Hot Wheels, and never the yucky Barbie.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jose
      jose

      McProblems, lmao, unexpected but so funny in a cute/corny way

      Mar 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwoolman
      jwoolman

      Count me as another female (quite hetero also) who hated Barbie type dolls, they have absolutely nothing to do with any built-in nurturing tendencies so don’t tell me that preference is about biology. We do not have any built-in tendency to want to wear makeup, shave our body hair, or be fashion models either. That’s all cultural push (big money involved, too). I wanted erector sets and chemistry sets and telescopes (guess what, I’m a scientist now). The “boy toys” at the fast food joints are often much more interesting to me than the “girl toys”, my mother would have had quite a dilemma. So would I. It was bad enough having to sneak away from the library with “The Boys Book of Electricity” etc. (When I was a kid, girls weren’t supposed to “do science” or “do math”, it wasn’t until I was in my teens that they started at least putting girls on the front of chemistry sets, looking admiringly at the boy who was playing with all the neat stuff. Heaven forbid we do anything but take notes for the boy.)

      I’ve heard parents say their boys and girls played with the same toys until they went to school. Then they quickly were convinced to “like” only certain toys and even colors according to gender. Little kids are extremely gullible, a single remark from another kid or an adult (“boys don’t do that! girls don’t do that!”) can easily destroy years of parental attempts at gender equality. Some kids are sturdier than most and know what they like and dislike, regardless of such discouragement. But many, many kids are just influenced by the culture that wants to put us all into tiny little uncomfortable boxes.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 6:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      McDonalds pushes propaganda as much as they push poison. Is someone surprised?

      Mar 19, 2011 at 6:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      @ewe: Really now. Poison? There’s a vast canyon between stuff that legitimately is food, even if it’s not healthy food (most McDonald’s products) and poison.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 7:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kieran
      Kieran

      Instead of making a big deal about the “boy toy” or the “girl toy”, why don’t these parents just say “let me have the Talking Pony or let me have the Barbie”. It’s really not that big a deal. I doubt the order taker is going to argue with them if they request a specific toy.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 10:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Javier
      Javier

      For 95-99 percent of customers, asking whether you want a boy or girl toy is an accurate and efficient way to inquire about customer wishes. Likewise, in society the huge majority of children have preferences in toys based upon their sex. That’s a fact. While parents/kids who are in the tiny minority are free to request toys contrary to their gender norms, McDonald’s should not change their policy or practice around the tiny exception. Of course, when faced with a child/parent who wants a gender non-normative toy, McDonald’s should be nice and discreet about it, but the current practice is fine.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 11:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      Why can’t McDonalds pass out gender-neutral toys with their McFood?

      Why is a toy car a “boy” toy and a toy horse a “girl” toy? Because that’s how all the ads on tv are skewed…they show boys playing with one set of toys and girls another. It’s not biology, it’s culture as transmitted by tv ads and toy stores.

      Mar 19, 2011 at 11:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mikey
      Mikey

      @ryan: I didn’t say they were AWARE of gender inequality issues – I said that children are treated differently based on their gender and thus grow up with cultural identities based on their genders. Boys and girls aren’t born wanting toys deemed gender specific – they’re taught that. And this has been verified by a multitude of studies across a broad spectrum of social sciences. Biology doesn’t make cars a masculine interest, culture does. And it’s definitely not a ‘hippie’ movement, as you call it – its verifiable fact that every culture raises children to behave in a gender appropriate manner.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 12:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Hyhybt: Really? Eat it regularly and let your cardiologist tell me that.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 2:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Hyhybt: the food is hot salty fried grease. that is poison for your body. Oh yes indeed it is. Anyone i have ever asked has never ate that food except when its hot because the glueiness of that poison does not taste good once it starts to get cold. It’s tastes like rubber when it gets cold which is probably the same material and texture and consistency of the toys that are made in China for kids to be stupid about gender so as to conform roleplaying of butch and sass. Butch must have the cock and sass has to have the hoochi. I think its pretty basic and feel the need to say it like it is in very simple terms that Ken and Barbie can grasp. OY VEY!!!

      Mar 20, 2011 at 2:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      @ewe: No, it isn’t poison. It’s not good for you, but that’s simply not what the word “poison” means.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 2:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ewe
      ewe

      @Hyhybt: Cigarettes are not good for you either. You are confusing food and poison. McDonalds foos is unhealthy poison.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 3:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ryan
      ryan

      Mikey, a three year old boy isn’t “taught” to like cars. He just does. I’m sorry, you’re just wrong.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 5:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      @Ryan: Nope: a child wanting a car instead of a chemisty set or a stuffed bear has less to do with gender than with culture, advertising, parents’ biases and with the child’s own talents.

      You should do some reading on child development instead of spouting off nonsense. The world will make more sense to you in 10th grade than 8th grade, I swear.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 5:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AC Walker
      AC Walker

      @Ryan: And when cars didn’t exist, what did boys like? Horses? But wait, that’s what GIRLS like. I’m so confused!

      Mar 20, 2011 at 5:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the crustybastard
      the crustybastard

      Don’t stop there, McDonalds! Streamline your menu, and just offer a man’s or woman’s meal.

      You’re welcome.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 6:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chupa Chups
      Chupa Chups

      This is sexism! Toys must be gender neutral!

      Mar 20, 2011 at 7:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John

      @AC Walker: Unfortunately, no it hasn’t been debunked. The photo is real and the process of making the nuggets is gross and not something I would consider to be healthy.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 8:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zed
      Zed

      please make lunch more often and stop killing your fabulous gay son, he’ll never get laid anyhow if all he ever eats is mcdonalds

      Mar 20, 2011 at 10:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      @Jeffee, we weren’t talking about chemistry sets or stuffed bears. I’m talking about guns and cars vs dolls and ponies. Do you seriously believe a little kid takes anything into account other than what he or she wants to get a hold of? They don’t know about “culture” or advertising or gender biases. Try it sometime. Give a three year old girl a gun. She’ll just stare at you, or try to feed it. Give a boy a doll. He’ll try to throw it. You childless people are just embarrassing yourselves.

      @AC Walker-It’s not remotely confusing. They wanted guns, or soldiers, or violent things, and girls wanted nurturing things. This is biology. Learn it. Saying boys don’t naturally gravitate towards guns and cars is as stupid as saying boys don’t naturally gravitate towards woman. Most of them do. They’re heterosexual, not because society dictates, but because it’s what they’re attracted to.
      Our biology dictates we’re attracted to the same sex, why wouldn’t the opposite be true for their biology?

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      @Chupa Chips–
      Seriously? All toys should be “gender neutral”? And who decides what is gender neutral? And who the fuck are you to deny kids the toys they want?

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chupa Chups
      Chupa Chups

      @Ryan:

      Yes! As in Sweden.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chupa Chups
      Chupa Chups

      @Ryan:

      Jeffre? is a homophobic provoker. Forget him.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      @Chupa Chips,

      So you don’t think children should be allowed to play with they toys they want to, or companies shouldn’t be allowed to make or sell dolls or trucks or soldiers or anything else that might not be considered by you to be “gender neutral”?

      This is really what you’re saying?
      Have you really thought this through?

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt
      Matt [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Michael: Sorry, wasn’t aware we could only care about one issue in the world at once. My apologies.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chupa Chups
      Chupa Chups

      @Ryan:

      Children should have the right of a choice.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ryan
      Ryan

      @Chupa Chips

      No one is debating that. You’re the only one here trying to take away the children’s right of a choice by declaring that all toys must be “gender neutral”. Your’e not making any sense.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lisa Jane
      Lisa Jane

      Neutral, schmeutral. Leave it up to the child. My own “slightly effeminate” son generally prefers the “girl” toys, but sometimes chooses the “boy” toys. It all depends on what the toy is. It is HIS choice, not mine. But when he chooses a My Little Pony or Little Mermaid and the store hesitates, I’m right there to make sure he gets his choice, not what Ronald McDonald thinks he should get.

      As far as “gender-neutral” is concerned, ALL toys should be gender-neutyral in this respect: whether it’s a truck, a doll, a unicorn, a baby-carriage, a gun, sword or whatever, it should simply be a TOY: girls can play with guns, and boys can play with dolls. After all, isn’t that what they do when they grow up? Women soldierss and police officers? Fathers with babies? Male peediatric or obstetric nurses?

      Freedom of choice for EVERYONE.

      Lisa

      Mar 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lisa Jane
      Lisa Jane

      Neutral, schmeutral. Leave it up to the child. My own “slightly effeminate” son generally prefers the “girl” toys, but sometimes chooses the “boy” toys. It all depends on what the toy is. It is HIS choice, not mine. But when he chooses a My Little Pony or Little Mermaid and the store hesitates, I’m right there to make sure he gets his choice, not what Ronald McDonald thinks he should get.

      As far as “gender-neutral” is concerned, ALL toys should be gender-neutyral in this respect: whether it’s a truck, a doll, a unicorn, a baby-carriage, a gun, sword or whatever, it should simply be a TOY: girls can play with guns, and boys can play with dolls. After all, isn’t that what they do when they grow up? Women soldierss and police officers? Fathers with babies? Male pediatric or obstetric nurses?

      Freedom of choice for EVERYONE.

      Lisa

      Mar 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lisa Jane
      Lisa Jane

      Neutral, schmeutral. Leave it up to the child. My own “slightly effeminate” son generally prefers the “girl” toys, but sometimes chooses the “boy” toys. It all depends on what the toy is. It is HIS choice, not mine. But when he chooses a My Little Pony or Little Mermaid and the store hesitates, I’m right there to make sure he gets his choice, not what Ronald McDonald thinks he should get.

      As far as “gender-neutral” is concerned, ALL toys should be gender-neutral in this sense: whether it’s a truck, a doll, a unicorn, a baby-carriage, a gun, sword or whatever, it should simply be a TOY: girls can play with guns, and boys can play with dolls. After all, isn’t that what they do when they grow up? Women soldierss and police officers? Fathers with babies? Male pediatric or obstetric nurses?

      Freedom of choice for EVERYONE.

      Lisa

      Mar 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chupa Chups
      Chupa Chups

      @Ryan:

      No. Patriarchal society imposes gender models!

      Mar 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      @ChalupaChupa: You forgot to explain MacDonald impose double-cheeseburger standard on single-patty world. Is unfair to bisex because no toy-toy action allowed in restaurant. They are capitalist crap.

      Does your restaurant, The Bell of the Taco offer such playthings to childrens? No!

      @Ryan: That was funny. You apparently believe toy choices are based on chromosones. You may want to check with your school district to see if any science courses are available. That won’t work if you’re homeschooled, however.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chupa Chups
      Chupa Chups

      @Jeffree:

      You forget to eat Christina-s crap today!

      Mar 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Soupy
      Soupy

      Chupa, Christina has not crapped yet today. I checked. You have so many of us assigned to feeding on it that there could not possibly be enough to go around. YOU PROMOTE WORLD HUNGER!

      Mar 20, 2011 at 1:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chupa Chups
      Chupa Chups

      “Christina has not crapped yet today”

      oh, sadly for you!!!

      Mar 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AC Walker
      AC Walker

      @Ryan: Not sure why you consider cars and trucks “violent,” but I sure as hell know I don’t want you in the next lane over from me. You’re talking out of your ass and failed to address my point at all. It’s hard to respect a person’s “facts” when he insists that a child is biologically hard-wired to like an object that has only existed a little over a century.

      Now please, oh certain one, explain teddy bears and blankets to me? Because yes, I have been around children, and pretty much all of them, boys and girls, form attachments to these non-violent objects. Or are you now going to say that girls like stuffed animals because they’re cuddly and boys pretend that they’re going into the woods and maiming campers?

      Mar 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hyhybt
      Hyhybt

      It’s best (again from the other side of the counter) to assume nothing. So you see a boy, but the person ordering asks for a “girl” toy. Big deal. Maybe they like dolls… or maybe they aren’t interested and the toy is for their sister, or any number of possibilities that are nobody’s business.

      But… employee turnover is always high, and this is* way* down the list of priorities of things to teach. It’s hard enough to get people to smile and use a pleasant tone of voice, or to remember to ring up a drink when someone orders a meal.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AC Walker
      AC Walker

      @John: “Although McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets are typically offered as an example of a popular MSP-based food, since 2003 that product has been made with all white meat rather than MSP.”

      See, what you’re doing is typically known in the rest of the world as “lying.”

      Also: “Contrary to what is claimed above, the process does not involve the grinding up of entire animal carcasses (“bones, eyes, guts, and all”) into one large, amorphous glob of meat; it is a technique for removing what is left on the bones of a carcass after all other processing has been completed. (Also, although meat packing plants typically use anhydrous ammonia for refrigeration purposes, with ammonia leakages having on occasion caused contamination issues at such plants, and sometimes introduce additional ammonium hydroxide into meat as an anti-bcterial agent, poultry processors do not routinely “soak” MSP in ammonia.”

      The bottom line is that anyone who is not a vegetarian and doesn’t panic about the idea of ground meat, sausage, or anything that uses the “icky” parts of an animal should be demonizing MSM- it’s an animal product just as much as they are. Whether you think it’s pretty or not is irrelevent.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon1981
      Shannon1981

      I think everyone in customer service of any kind needs sensitivity training. It doesn’t matter that asking 95% of customers if their child would like a boy happy meal or a girl one raises no potentially uncomfortable situations. The 5% who this will have a negative effect on matters just as much as the majority, and isn’t the point of customer service pleasing 100% of the customers 100%(or as close to it) of the time, and, if they are unsatisfied for whatever reason, making it right? That 5% of kids who will feel humiliated due to insensitive reactions to their unconventional toy choice matters to, and to make a slight adjustment in how one asks about toy preferences will not have a negative impact on any of the customers, while not doing it and continuing with the boy toy/girl toy asking scheme will.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • AC Walker
      AC Walker

      @boomerangs: The article very clearly states that McDonald’s doesn’t use this process. So using that picture to tell people not to eat McDonald’s when one is aware that it doesn’t illustrate one of their practices is deliberately misleading.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • joeyj1220
      joeyj1220

      I remember waaaay back when I was 8 years old, Pizza Hut was handing out free comic books. Your choice was Superman or Wonder Woman. My mom, I’m sure suspected something when I insisted, over her and the pizza guy’s double checking, that no, I really wanted the Wonder Woman comic book and not the Superman.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 6:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Screw the toys, and drop the price of the food. Why should those of us with no interest in kids or toys subsidize this with higher food prices? If you need a toy, go to a toy store – they need the business.

      Mar 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      Back when we still used to eat at McDonald’s (it’s been a while, the grrls are now 7 and 9) they used to ask for the boy toy- and were told no they had to have the girl toy. Lovely sentiment up here in the buybull belt of CA. This is one of MANY reasons why we do not eat at fast food zip zilch nada anymore.

      Mar 21, 2011 at 12:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mikey
      Mikey [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @ryan: If you really think that, you really think that. But having taken classes covering the topic, I feel pretty comfortable with my conclusion. Culture dictates interests. Not genetics. Proven Fact.

      Mar 21, 2011 at 1:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • me
      me

      The writer of this article seems quite intolerant of McDonalds employees…Just sayin. Even if you feel you are being oppressed/treated unfairly, you don’t get to avoid looking in the mirror yourself.

      Mar 21, 2011 at 5:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      @ME: Um, restaurant employees are supposed to provide customers with good service. If we can’t do that, we lose our jobs. No mirror required. “Just saying.”

      Mar 21, 2011 at 5:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John
      John [Different person #1 using similar name]

      The company that owns the McDonald’s I work in requires us to ask for example, “Will that be a barbie or hot wheels toy?” or at the very least, “Will that be a truck or doll toy?”

      Mar 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kirsten
      Kirsten

      good lord people, it’s a little plastic toy. i work at McDonald’s and the food is not bad IN MODERATION like it’s supposed to be eaten in. yes if you eat it everyday it’s bad for you (and when you eat five snack wraps they’re not snack wraps anymore!!) but that could be anything. and there are healthy options like the salads and wraps that people don’t consider because they hear “McDonald’s” and think “grease/’poison'” and when i work on front counter i do ask “and is that for a boy or girl” because when you are helping hundreds of people a day it is easier and it’s not a problem at all when someone says “it’s for a girl but she wants the tonka truck/he wants the littlest pet shop” i just push a different button. i sometimes wanted the other toy as a kid. it wasn’t about “gender issues” it was because one was cooler than the other to me. so relax, no one is trying to make your child feel insecure or unsure of themselves, we are simply trying to do our jobs and pay the bills just like you are. most of the time girls want the “girl” toys and boys want the “boy” toys, and the world is geared towards this social norm and that is not McDonalds’ fault so please relax about the $3 happy meal and the little plastic toy that comes with it

      Mar 21, 2011 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Shannon1981
      Shannon1981

      @Kirsten: The fact that McDonald’s is not at fault for the fact that the world is not inclusive of gender non conforming people is irrelevant. The thing is, you could just as easily say ‘tonka truck or doll’ as you can ‘boy or girl.’ You just don’t want to because you don’t think you should have to. On a larger scale, by your view, well…90% of the world is straight, so those who aren’t should just go along with the way they want things to be and deal with. Sorry, nothing doing. We pay taxes just like you do. And if CJ’s mom or any parent of any gender non conforming kid doesn’t want that moment of discomfort in a place of business, they can eat elsewhere. Or, the RIGHT thing to do would be for McDonald’s to instruct their employees to be more sensitive. There are easy ways to avoid the discomfort of such situations, so why do you have such a problem with it?

      And as for your comments about the food there, that crap is poison and everyone knows it. Haven’t eaten there in years myself. Its fast, easy and cheap, hence the success of the chain. Doesn’t mean it’s good for you. And the snack wraps and salads still have fattening dressing, so that kills any real nutritional value that may have been present. Anyway, not a food thread, sorry to derail.

      Mar 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chupa Chups
      Chupa Chups

      This is sexism. Basis for a homophobia.

      Mar 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tina
      Tina

      I have written to McDonalds about this. It is sexist and inappropriate to ask if a customer wants a girl or boy toy.

      McD’s response was that “Oh… we tell our franchaises not to refer to gender when asking about Happy Meal toys.” Really? Then why is it that EVERY McD’s I go to asks the gender question?

      Glad you wrote about this.

      Mar 22, 2011 at 11:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • allyson
      allyson

      My barbie drove a tonka truck!

      Mar 22, 2011 at 4:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Soupy
      Soupy

      I used to drag my G.I. Joe and Big Jim, tied to a rope, behind my bike, until their noses wore off. It’s surprising that I am not a serial killer today.

      Mar 22, 2011 at 5:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      @Soupy: I used to play azct safe-sane-consensual bondage games with all my animate toys. No surprise I grew up a little kinky. Ok, not really bondage, just typing them up with leftover yarn!

      Mar 22, 2011 at 6:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jess
      Jess

      @justiceontherocks: She’s not using her child as a “character” in a “story”, (all of which implies that this is a fictional encounter). She is simply describing a regular dilemma she and other parents may have when facing this franchise. (It’s actually the kind of thing that would be stuided in my uni courses). Many parents talk about the struggles their children face, whether it is in school, with friends, extra curricular activities, etc. (That’s part of being a parent! You talk about it – the good and the bad). Yet, I have noticed that people only become defensive when the issue concerns potential homosexuality or gender bending. Thus, this leads me to believe that the only reason some may not like it is because they have an issue with the topic itself.

      Mar 27, 2011 at 1:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jude
      Jude

      One of my first jobs, before I came out, was at McDonalds. I still thought gendering toys was bullshit. I called the toys as they were; would you like the plastic truck or the plastic animal? And you’d be shocked, when presented like that to children, how “non-gender-conforming” their choices often were and how often, conversely, parents would respond “I’d like the gendered toy”.

      Jun 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carla
      Carla

      I still ask for the toys for boys. sometimes they are better and sometimes i give them to my little cousin.

      Jul 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dana
      Dana

      I have been bothered by this for years. It is offensive and I am the mother of two girls who always wanted the “girl” toys when they ordered kids meals. However, I was raised watching “Free to be…you and me” and feel that this gender stereotyping is a setback. The question should be “would you like the Barbie doll or the matchbox car?”

      Nov 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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