I can’t f-ing believe it.
It is 2015, right?
As I drove through McDonalds to get a Happy Meal – not for a child, but for myself, because it’s a healthier choice, sizewise – I was asked “for a girl or a boy?”
I was momentarily stunned.
“What?” I asked.
“Is this for a boy or a girl?” the voice answered.
“Does it matter?” I responded.
Silence, tempered with consternation, on my end. The feminist in me was ready to reach through the box and strangle something, but I cooled. Surely this was just a nightmare.
Eventually I said “It doesn’t matter,” as I pulled my car around the corner.
Had I not been in a drive-thru with a car in front of me, I would have just left. But I was stuck. And my curiosity was getting the better of me. What would they choose?
At the window, they handed me my Happy Meal. Just enough cheeseburger, a tiny order of fries (about 10 – perfect), apple slices and milk.
And a pink and black box.
What the hell was Ronald McDonald up to now?
Inside the box was a Monster High Dress Designer Toy, comprised of a plastic standup doll and different pieces of fabric that could be snapped into place over a Monster girl form.
Essential life skills, McD’s is teaching these young ones. Plaid or metallic?
Other “girl toys” in this line, which was created by McDonalds THIS YEAR, includes a head with hair that can be combed and stickers placed to create the face; a mirror with changing Monster girl figures; a fashion notebook and a bracelet. These toys are part of the “McPlay POWER” campaign, which features “heroic thrills” for boys and “creeperific fun” for girls.
On the “boys toys” side, there is Batman. Boys get two versions of the Batmobile (one pulls back and races, the other fires a weapon), the Joker with a hammer making banging noises, the Joker riding a motorcycle or action figures, including Batman himself.
Somebody in ClownWorld said “Well, there are no girls in Batman comics.”
Really? Please, then, explain Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Batwoman, Black Canary, Huntress, Stephanie Brown, Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, Lady Blackhawk, Dawn Grainger, Renee Montoya and Hawkfire No girls, indeed.
Here’s what the McComeback will be: “If you wanted a Batman toy, you can always ask for a boy’s toy.
Not that easy, clown.
With the Batman lineup, behavior like fighting, speeding, launching weapons and saving the world (using their skills of imagination and competition) is reinforced, while the Monster High cadre hones their skills in fashion, beauty, accessories and twisted self-imagery.
Wrong. Just so wrong on so many levels.
I didn’t pick glass shards out of my fists to deal with this idiocy.
McDonalds uses a big ad agency to come up with these campaigns. I guess with the popularity of the show “Mad Men” and its back-to-the-Stone Age-sexism, they thought it would be a great idea to segregate toys. Because an agency that big with a client so huge couldn’t possibly provide children with just toys – something to play with – instead of pigeonholing them like society has done for far too many years.
As a former newspaper columnist, I remember writing about this several years ago – during the last century – and this déjà vu is a sucker punch to the gut.
Target and Walmart, both worthy competitors in mega-consumerism, have eliminated the divisions between girl and boy toys, with no dip in their sales. Recent pressure from the medical community, with concerns for nutritional values, brought about a positive change in the Happy Meal, which used to include a fried sandwich, more fries and a soda. Now, things like yogurt and fruit are available, and even adult meals that come with fries include a choice of salad instead. McDonalds seems willing to step up and make a food change, but continues to practice inexcusable sexism, a fail on the grandest scale.
And for those idiots at the agency who think girls don’t like Batman and Joker, here’s a news flash: girls like comics and superheroes, fighting crime and playing with things that go “POW!” “BAM!” and “BOOM!” – their numbers are growing and you’ve missed a huge national trend.
Are you really getting your money’s worth, Ronnie?
But the saddest thing was when I was handed the Happy Meal by the fast food worker – a teenage girl – I realized that she was being taught that this segregation that is so wrong is what she has to do to keep her job.
All I know is that my granddaughter will never taste a Happy Meal until there’s equality in Gotham City.