Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Happier Meals Ahead: McDonald's Vows to End Gendered Toy Labels

Last month when I heard McDonald's was including some new Ninja Turtle toys with their Happy Meals, I decided to swing by with John to pick one up. 

"Would you like a girl's toy or a boy's toy?" asked the bored voice through the drive-though speaker.

John gave me a wry look, and answered, "The Ninja Turtle, please."

As we drove home with my new toy, I mentioned (ok, griped) to John that I was surprised McDonald's was still using "girl" and "boy" labels. Here in my lovely online bubble of geeky acceptance at Epbot, it's easy to forget the "real" world is still catching up to the fact that girls can love Ninja Turtles and boys can love My Little Pony.

Happily one young girl did more than gripe, though: Antonia Ayres-Brown was 11 years old when she first wrote to McDonald's CEO back in 2008, asking him to change his company's policy. And when she got a canned customer service response claiming her experience "was not the norm," Antonia proceeded to conduct a series of her own studies, visiting dozens of local McDonald's with her father and documenting the results.

If you don't think McDonald's gender labels on toys are that big a deal, then head over to Antonia's article to see the resistance she and other kids in her study met when trying to get the "wrong" toy. I was amazed, and if anything, this story helped put me even more on the side of gender-free toy marketing.

But, this story has a happy ending: after sharing her results and continuing to ask McDonald's for change, Antonia finally received a letter in December of last year stating that Happy Meal toys would be provided "without any classification of the toy as a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ toy and without any reference to the customer’s gender."

And here's proof they're following through, spotted on a McDonald's wall and posted by Do Something earlier this month:


I love that this change is happening, but I love the fact that a young girl-turned-young-woman made it happen even more. 

I tell ya, kids these days... out there, making our world better! It's enough to make a person grin like an idiot, am I right? ;)

Hat tip to reader Ann-Marie M. for sharing this story with me!

86 comments:

  1. Woohoo! I've got an 11 year old awesome, beautiful daughter who loves comic books, superheroes, ninjas and video games (and figure skating and nail polish) and she will be thrilled that we can finally stop saying "with a boy toy" when we go through the drive thru. Honestly, this mom never really felt comfortable telling the people at McDonald's that I wanted a boy toy...especially when my husband is with me. :)

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  2. Antonia is a badass in the best possible meaning of the word!! Thanks, Jen for telling us about these amazing people who make things happen.

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  3. I saw this the other day and I'm so impressed that this girl didn't just take the canned answer and actually proved to them that this nonsense IS the norm. And I'm glad they are planning to do something about it.

    Although their current pink Spiderman toys are making me think they need to do something about it sooner: http://comicsalliance.com/mcdonalds-happy-meals-the-amazing-spider-man-2-gendered-toys/

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  4. I worked at McDonald's when I was in high school in the 90s and I don't remember asking boy or girl toy---there were "boy" and "girl" toys (Barbies or hot wheels or something like that), but I'm pretty sure we just asked which toy they wanted not what gender---I could be wrong, it has been almost 20 years since I worked there (and now I feel really old), but it seems like the gendering terms are more recent. I'm glad it's changing.

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    1. I started working at a McDonalds as a shift manager in 1998 and was specifically told not to say "boy or girl," because it would be considered sexist. I actually had more problems with customers not getting this concept than employees. I was screamed at on more than one occasion for asking the customer to verify what toy they wanted. After awhile some of the employees would give up and start saying "boy or girl." The "canned" response is correct that their experience shouldn't be the norm, since it is against McDonalds policy.

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  6. Love this. Just the other day I got into it with a friend of my husband's when he didn't want a "girl color" as his game playing piece and said I shouldn't be blue because it's a "boy color". I don't think he was prepared for me to unleash my opinionated self on him.

    What shocked me were the comments on Antonia's Slate article. I couldn't believe the ignorant, mean-spirited comments, with people accusing her of being a left-wing feminist who should have spent her time on things of actual import. Folks (speaking to the commenters on Slate, of course, and not the fabulous crowd here on Epbot), sorry to tell you that this has nothing to do with conservatism or liberalism, feminism or traditionalism, etc. Creating narrow labels by which children "should" define themselves based on their toy preference (or color preference, or hero preference) is just plain wrong and ignorant. And it is worth fighting for, because the change apparently is not going to happen by itself.

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    1. I hate that mentality so much--that if you are trying to end "small" acts of sexism/racism/etc, people complain that you're wasting your time because "big" ones are still out there and you should be working on those. As if you can't work to end both big and small. As if people aren't complex human beings capable of multi-tasking and caring about lots of different issues at once. As if chipping away at the smaller microaggressions doesn't also help chip away at the bigger ones.

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  7. I worked at McDonald's in high school and college at the same time as Colleen, and even then I hated the "boy or girl toy" thing. I always asked "Do you want a car or a Barbie?" or whatever the toy was. I'll never forget the time a man pulled back up to the window, pulled it open, and threw the toy across the room, cussing and screaming at us for giving his son a girl toy. It was messed up. Yay to Antonia for doing something positive for the world!!

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  8. I think this is fantastic and that it needs to be communicated to ALL McDonald's. I was just at a McDonald's in northern California yesterday (April 28, 2014) and was asked no fewer than THREE times whether we wanted a girl's or boy's toy. Time for a major memo, Mickey D's!

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  9. Wouldn't it be better for them to change the toys? I don't think this goes far enough.

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  10. This may seem like a small thing to some people, but it can make a big difference towards acceptance and respect. I have an adult child (early 20s) who is transgendered, has Asperger's Autism and has ALWAYS struggled to fit in. People can be really cruel when you don't conform with what is 'expected'.

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  11. Wendy's does this also-at least the one I went to Sunday did!

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  12. Wow you have really freaky timing on this, I was griping about it to my mom yesterday when we went to mcdonalds. Right now the options are spider man...and pink spiderman. Really? On top of the fact spiderman should really never be pink the fact they felt the only way to get girls interested in Spiderman is to make him pink is just so wrong.

    I have always felt rather strongly about the girl/boy toy issue, even when I was little as I often picked the boy toy and couldn't figure out why they had to label them boy and girl, plus I confused the people at the window a lot when they saw I was the one getting the car toy rather than the barbie. I think it's high time they change, better late than never.

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    1. I was so mad about the pink Spiderman journal! And then I was mad at myself because it was actually kind of cute, but Spiderman should not be pink! Lol...

      And also, my McDonalds still says "boy or girl". I hope they change soon.

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  13. I'm cautiously optimistic about this..I worry it'll take way too long to actually implement this, because I think McD's are franchise-owned, which means that each manager is responsible for their own store and there's not a lot of "corporate" dictating policies. Correct me if I'm wrong, though.

    I also saw the complaints on the original aticle that this isn't worth complaining about. And complaints that parents shouldn't be taking their kids to McDonald's in the first place.

    If they actually follow through, I'll be glad. Right now, though, I'll believe it when I see it.

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  14. My daughter usually chose the "boy's" toy. I'd give kudos to McDonalds for doing this, but (a) it shouldn't have taken a child to show them the right way and (b) I'll believe it when I see it.
    RK

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  15. I just went to McD's for the first time in ages today (in central TX) and I was asked if I wanted a girls or boys toy. I asked them what each toy WAS. (My daughter usually asks for the "boys" toy, too, because they're "way cooler"). Thankfully we rarely GO to fast food places, but that is always annoying to me, especially since our daughter got teased at school for loving C3PO and pretending to be Batman.

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  16. Yeah, the boy toys were always cooler...they got Legos! At the same time, while I can see the benefit of moving towards less gender-based toy identification, I really think girls still need to know that it's okay to play with dolls and kitchen sets and be girls, just as much as it's okay for them to roll their dump trucks in the mud pit in the backyard. My daughter isn't 2 yet, and she already loves baby dolls and airplanes and PEW PEW blasters, and it's all okay with me! I want her to feel fine choosing the Hello Kitty toy at McDs one month and the Spiderman toy the next. I don't want to see gender-blending go so far to blur what it means to be a girl (or a boy, for that matter), and to ever make her feel bad or guilty for enjoying her femininity. ::steps off soapbox::

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    1. Best comment ever! Truly I just want my kids to enjoy being themselves. If that means a Batman toy one time and a Barbie the next then so be it.

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    2. One small bone to pick with you: it's okay to play with dolls and kitchen sets and be boys, too! A couple of Thanksgivings ago, when we arrived at my brother-in-law's house, our then five-year-old nephew, who had the basement strewn with his Batman toys, showed us his handiwork in the TV room: the coffee table and a couch cushion on the floor (because there wasn't enough room around the coffee table, and it was too tall for some of the "guests") were surrounded with stuffed animals and action figures and set up for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, complete with a vase of flowers in the center of each. My sister-in-law was happy to have him out of her hair as she worked on dinner for the humans, but she was less thrilled at his menu: he'd found a stash of Easter candy that she'd forgotten, and every single "guest" had a juice box into which my nephew had very graciously inserted the straw.

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    3. And I just realized that I referred to "action figures" above -- what they really are, of course, is dolls "for boys."

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    4. Yes. This.

      There is nothing wrong with a girl liking "boy" things, or a boy liking "girl" things, but I see a trend lately that comes dangerously close to shaming girls who like "girl" things and boys who like "boy" things. Gender is a real thing--biological, not just socially constructed--and it's OKAY for "girls to be girls" and "boys to be boys", too.

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    5. If I may put in my two cents' worth (and be really annoying about using specific terms for specific things), I agree that gender is a real thing. However, gender is not what's biological. Sex - in terms of maleness or femaleness - is biological. Gender, on the other hand, is masculinity and femininity. Gender is largely a matter of personality and psychology; some males are more masculine than others, some females more feminine than others. Gender roles - assigning certain expectations to males and females based on their respective sexes - are social constructs. As a society, we have a major problem with getting those three things confused with one another, and it's going to make it that much harder to give sexism the boot until we manage to sort out which differences are biological, which are psychological and which are imposed on us by society.

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  17. This is really cool. And like the 1981 Lego ad when I think about the Happy Meal toys I remember, I don't recall them being overtly gendered. They were Disney characters, Muppets, Lego bags, McDonalds characters and foods. Which makes me wrack my brain wondering where the shift in toys/marketing occurred, or if I'm simply forgetting the gendering because there was more neutral or...

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  18. My 10-yr-old has never once had a problem getting either toy. They always ask, even if we are standing at the counter and they can clearly see it is for her. It's just semantics anyway.

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    1. But "semantics" MATTER. Words MATTER.

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  19. I've never had any issues getting toys either. I'm glad they are no longer using the gender to define the toy, as long as both toys offered are equal in awesomeness. Last time I went to McDonald's (Feb or Mar this year) I was incredibly disappointed to have my child receive a Lego Movie Cup. Yes, a drinking glass for the Lego Movie was the "Toy." How do you explain to a 3 year old that this is what they get to play with? That was the worst of the terrible toys I've received at McDonald's, but I've been pretty happy with the selection at Wendy's. Wendy's long ago dropped the gender definition, a fact that I sadly only realized last week when they asked if I wanted the truck or the Care Bear toy.

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    1. My kids absolutely loved the LEGO cups - they love the different movie characters and the lenticular design. I love the fact that it's something actually useful and not some toy that will be lost/broken in weeks. Remember when McDonald's used to give out glass (glass!) cups?

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    2. I still have all of my Great Muppet Caper glasses!

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  20. I've been hunting for MLP toys throughout Manhattan (NYC) and my exchanges have usually gone something like this:

    Scenario A:
    "Which pony toys do you have today?"
    "Huh?"
    "What's the Happy Meal toy right now?"
    "Do you want a girl toy or a boy toy?"

    Scenario B:
    "Do you have any pony toys?"
    "No, we're sold out of girl toys."

    Clearly, old habits die hard.

    -Kate (LifeIsProps)

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  21. ugh...I can't tell you how disappointed in this article I am. it's just ridiculous, I just read about this on a different website and thought OMG people do you have nothing better to do?? This PC thing has gotten so out of control, whatever, it's a girl toy, a pony, a turtle, you like what you like why does it matter if its a girl or boy toy?

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    1. Because people can absolutely only do one thing at a time, right?

      Having toys labelled as 'for girls' and 'for boys' reinforces ridiculous gender stereotypes. They are one of the main ways children are socialised into those stereotypes. These stereotypes contribute to girls thinking they can't be doctors, they contribute to boys being bullied for liking 'girly' things - like Michael Morones, the 11 year old boy recently featured here on Epbot who tried to kill himself after being bullied for liking My Little Pony. These stereotypes do real harm to boys *and* girls, and what's ridiculous is that people like you dismissing efforts to combat them.

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    2. The thing that boggles my mind is people with the 'Don't you have anything better to do?' Like they're out solving world hunger in their spare time. Seriously, this is a child's first foray into fixing something she sees wrong with the world, she's already ahead of pretty much anyone who is whining about how she should be spending her time.

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    3. Melanie, based on your comment I have a hard time believing you're a regular Epbot reader. I'll just say "here-here" to Karina's and Melissa's responses.

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    4. As previous posters have pointed out, it's just gratuitously stupid to describe toys by arbitrarily defined gender labels rather than by, you know, what the toy actually IS.

      @melanie, when you go to the movies, does the ticket clerk ask you whether you want to see the "chick flick or the guy's movie"? No, they simply refer to the different movies BY THEIR ACTUAL NAMES. It's up to the moviegoers whether they consider a particular movie to be "for chicks" or "for guys" and which kind of movie they prefer.

      As for the "do you have nothing better to do?" schtick, @melanie, do YOU have nothing better to do than the useless activity of wandering around messageboards scolding people for being too concerned with things you consider insufficiently important?

      Kimstu

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  22. I worked at McDonalds in the early 1990s - that was when they were starting the Barbie or Hot Wheels Happy Meal Toys, their first foray into gendered toys. We were trained to ask "Would you like a Barbie or Hot Wheels toy with the Happy Meal?" I don't know when/if that policy ever changed, or if employees just got lazy in their stereotyping. Lately, with my My Little Pony-loving boy and my DC superhero-loving girl, when I get Happy Meals, and they ask if it's for a boy or girl, I answer, and then ask, "Now would you like to know which toy they want?"

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    1. I think your answer is my favorite come-back to the McDonald's question. I'll be using it any time I need to! :)

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  23. I think it's pretty funny that even when they have one toy I'm still asked if the happy meal is for a boy or a girl? Almost as if they have to put it in the computer anyway. I've laughed at the question numerous times and asked them if it mattered since there was just the one toy. I've ordered plenty of "girl" happy meals for my boys though because that was the toy they wanted. We've never encountered an employee assume we would be getting the boy toy or make any kind of reference to me asking for the "girls'" toys when it was obvious that I had boys.

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  24. Jen,

    Awesome story! Loved it. Hey, as you know May the Fourth is coming up and you need to check out Wild Olive blog. She is doing a Star Wars week of crafts and I think you might enjoy it. I didn't know any other way to send this note to you so I'm including it in this message. Love the blog!

    Maureen

    P.S. It was great to meet you in Pittsburgh!

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  25. I once had an employee ridicule my (then) 2 year old son because he has long hair, she insisted that "she" be given a "girl" toy, not the Star Wars toy I had asked for. Even after I had refereed to my son as a he and called him by name - Alexander. Never mind the fact that he was waring a blue shirt that said "Big Brother." I was so mad I didn't trust myself to speak to her anymore and left. In retrospect, I should have asked to speak to the manager.

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  26. Well, that won't always work. They recently at my McDs started with Spiderman toys. They asked if we wanted girl or boy toys, surprised I said two girl. I have a girl and a boy but I assumed they were still giving out the My Little Ponies, which both my kids loved. No, we got two pink Spiderman purses. It irritates me very much!

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    1. I think a pink Spiderman anything would be pretty awesome.

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  27. I agree that it may take a while before this policy change is implemented on a national scale, but I am excited that they're willing to change it. My girls usually prefer the designated girl toys but on our last trip they decided they wanted the Skylanders toy because their daddy plays Skylanders.

    To people who say this "isn't a big deal" it really, honestly is. Segregating children's toys like that only reinforces sexism. If the worst thing you can call a boy is a "girl" then what are we teaching men about women? I'm having my very first son soon, and I absolutely plan to teach him to respect women and stand up for equality.

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  28. I had heard this was happening, but apparently Wisconsin hasn't gotten the memo yet. Last weekend we bought our daughter her very first Happy Meal and we were completely stumped by the boy-girl toy question. I did appreciate that they were both Spider Man toys, it's just that one was a light-up figure and the other was a purse.

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  29. I have so much respect for Antonia and her family, who, I assume, must have encouraged her. What I take from this story is that change is always a long time coming. My friend/colleague has written a book about success stories in injury prevention, and no matter how simple and sensible an idea is, there is always opposition. We just have to keep trying and know that we have great warriors fighting along with us and who will be there to receive the torch, because the struggle is not going to be over soon.

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  30. I've been grumping about this forever it seems... Im glad they are changing it. I also sent a letter to toys r us regarding their aisle designation but got a useless response... Its bad enough that cars are in the blue aisles and dolls in pink, but they also have the kitchen and cleaning type toys in the pink aisles... I was after a broom for my then 18 month old son... why cant they just make all the signs green or purple or orange?

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  31. I've been by my McDs a lot lately to try to get all the ponies and every time I was asked boy toy or girl toy. I would then get confusion from the worker when I asked what ponies they had. Instead of reading the package they would tell me what color. I never did manage to get all of them. Went the other day and got a lame pink Spiderman thingy. Should have gone to Wendy's to get a Care Bear.

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  32. Thank you for understanding the importance of this! Please allow me to use this opportunity to give everyone a chance to take this as a cue that these things CAN be done and we need them to be supported. You can keep it going by supporting this petition. And I ask for everyone to not only sign but please, please share as that is exactly what social media is for.
    http://www.change.org/petitions/target-remove-gender-coding-pink-and-blue-walls-from-toy-aisles

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    1. Thanks Good Canary, I signed the petition, and this is what I said in response to "Why is this important to you?":

      'Because little kids don't need to be gender-segregated while toy shopping. You can sell all the pink doll accessories and blue race cars, etc., that you want, but don't deliberately try to make kids feel uncomfortable or out of place in the "wrong" aisle for their gender. Leave it up to parents to decide what toys are appropriate for their kids, and don't try to impose your own categories on them. What's next, putting all the dark-complexioned dolls in a separate section of the "pink aisle" with a more "tropical" color theme? Yuck.'

      Kimstu

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    2. This is also going on at toys r us, i dont know if there is a petition for them...

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    3. You definitely see it at Toys R Us. I remember going there for my niece last Christmas. She wanted one of those Nerf bow and arrow sets that were no doubt inspired by the Hunger Games. Naturally I went to the Nerf section of the store. Couldn't find any of it there. I eventually found it in what was clearly the "girl" section- nothing but pink as far as the eye could see. Why is it so difficult to organize the stores based on the type of product you're looking for instead of the gender?

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  33. Through the entire My Little Pony promotion, they kept asking if it was for a boy or a girl. I would say boy, but I still wanted the MLP.

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  34. This is a good step. Next we have to see them start including the female characters in the toy selection, like the infamous Young Justice happy meal toys where they included two villains instead of Miss Martian or Artemis.

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    1. Or in the Adventure Time set. In a cartoon with two strong female characters, they left both out? Why?

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  35. I read this a while ago, here, but it wasn't all her. Her dad is a "heavy-hitting Yale law professor and economist" who undoubtedly had a large had in the process. Still cool.

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  36. It isn't that 'the rest of the world hasn't caught up' - I'm in my 50s and I can attest that the toy aisle has only gotten MORE gendered than it was in the '60s and '70s. Pink Legos? WTF!

    As an aging feminist, that makes me cry. This news makes me happier - but someone needs to take on the toy manufacturers as well.

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    1. Word, sister. When I was a teenager in the '70s and '80s, the concept of "pink is for girls and blue is for boys" was nothing but a silly old-fashioned notion from our grandmothers' era. Only clueless elderly relatives would take it for granted you should prefer pink or pastel stuff just because you were a girl.

      And now it's BACK?!?? SERIOUSLY?!? WT everloving F, people---We Thought We Fixed That (tm)! This sort of rigid gender categorization serves absolutely no purpose except to reinforce sexist idiocy (and, of course, to make more money off the hapless parents whose sons and daughters can no longer share each other's toys).

      Kimstu

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  37. I found this post very inspiring, then I saw this: http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/04/no-mcdonalds-did-not-do-a-good-job-with-its-spider-man-toys-qfor-girlsq So, not quite there, unfortunately.

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  38. That is really encouraging. I've recently started to check my surroundings for such gender-fixation, or better: for places where that is getting disrupted. We've had now men cleaning the bathrooms and doing the laundry in advertisement-papers here in Germany, while the women go and use the power-tools. Yay!
    As for McDonalds over here: It's been a while that I got a Happy Meal, but I remember that they asked "Which toy do you want with it?"
    I think it's a genius way to avoid any such thing - why not do it in the US? Weird...

    But don't think it's gender-perfect paradise here - we still get flooded in pink shirts with sparkly hearts for girls and blue only for boys. Ugh... I never liked pink! (and the truck on the shirt is way cooler anyway!)

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  39. My 5-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl would have both had a hard time deciding between the Skylanders toy and the My Little Pony toy. I think my daughter probably would have gone for the Skylander, since we have several ponies already, but my boy...that would have been a toss up.

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  40. I recently took my family through Wendy's Drive Through and was pleasantly surprised when the person taking my order asked if I wanted Tonka or Care Bear toys, not boy or girl toys with my order. I hope that wasn't an isolated occurance.

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    1. Not isolated - don't know what state you're in but had the same thing in PA.

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  41. Good for this girl and her family taking the initiative to try and get this policy changed. I don't have an issue with McDonald's offering a variety of toys, but to deny a girl or boy a toy because it's not supposed to be for their gender is absolutely awful.

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  42. I have always been frustrated by the gender specific toy policy at McD's. I think that the toy manufacturers need to be more involved. After all, they definitely don't want to alienate customers due to bias of a distributor.

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  43. Though, I read that the "Skylanders or My Little Pony?" rather than "boy or girl?" was because adult male Bronies (the bad kind, who draw pony porn and claim the show's target audience is THEM, not little girls) were throwing fits about the MLP toys being called "girl toys," because "the show's not for girls." I have to admit that I'm very twitchy about the term "brony" given some of the horror stories I've heard. Seanan McGuire made a good post that of course I can't find right now about how when she was younger and MLP was in Gen 1, that there were male fans, and what were they called then? FANS. (unrelated but also good: http://seanan-mcguire.livejournal.com/479208.html and http://seanan-mcguire.livejournal.com/524767.html)

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  44. When my husband worked at McDonalds during his highschool years he was already required not to ask if the customers would like a boy or girl toy, but rather he would have to use the specific names of the toys. That was almost 15 years ago, so I am kind of surprised that boy/girl differentiation is still going on. Maybe they reverted back to their old ways, or maybe it was a local managerial decision? Anyway, I am glad that they are doing it. My inner 8 year old tom boy self is rejoicing. Now if only toy stores would get on board.

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  45. Just because they call it a "boy toy" doesn't mean a girl can't request it. This is so absurd and to act that as if being asked is some sort of oppression and a win for progressive values is even more so. They are just toys for the love of Pete.

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  46. Why would a boy want a My Little Pony toy?

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    1. Why does it matter? Would you say "why would a little girl want a car, or a Spiderman toy?" People like to make boys that like My Little Pony out to be weridos. But that is far from the truth. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of weridos out there, but liking My Little Pony doesn't make them one. Have you ever even watched the show? I have two little girls and they like Pokemon and Ninja Turtles, does that make them weird?

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    2. When we were younger, everyone gave my brother "boy" toys and me "girl" toys. It never failed that I would be in his room playing with the trucks and he would be in my room playing with the dolls. I turned out fine, as did he. He is now a huge, rough-looking teddy bear of a guy who can fix a car, built a forge out back (that he uses) and is so cute when he plays with little kids. Stereotypes are outdated and need to be ignored.

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  47. This is great! I hope it takes hold across the US, but it has failed to take hold in Southeast MA & Rhode Island. I stopped by my local Mickey D's in October when they were giving out the Angry Bird Star Wars buckets (and Monster High). I ordered a happy meal, for myself (the food, the “toy” was for my daughter), and asked if I wanted the boy or girl toy? I asked for the Star Wars bucket and she said "we don't have that one, just a girl or boy one". So I said, I'll take the boy one. I drive up to the window to pick up my food and she asks me again if I want a girl or boy toy? I said boy, then she said "are you sure, you have a little girl in the back?” I was flabbergasted and I calmly said, "SHE will have the Star Wars one, Please". Even though the food was for me, and my then 23 month old was going it get the bucket. I informed the employee that my daughter has no idea who or what Monster High is (neither do I for that matter), but she was well aware of what Star Wars was all about and wanted that bucket.
    Just last week, we stopped by to pick up some “chicken nuggets and French fries” and I was asked again if I wanted a girl or boy toy. I said boy, since all I saw on the sign was Spiderman, and when I got home I found the toy was in fact a girl’s toy, and a “watch ring” for that matter. So I went back and bought a separate “boy” toy that was a light up faced Spiderman. Which is WAY cooler than any purple and pink “Spiderman” watch ring any day!!
    As a former employee of McDonalds, I always made sure to ask the customer if they wanted the specific toy, rather than the gender. This was almost 20 years ago, when we rarely had a "girl or boy" toy.

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  48. I see some people posting why would a boy want a My Little Pony toy? Would you say "why would a little girl want a car, or a Spiderman toy?" What is the big deal? They shouldn't be putting "boy" and "girl" labels on these toys, they should ask if a child wants a specific toy not if they want a boy or girl toy. My little girls have wanted the "boy" toys before, and they love Ninja Turtles. Does that make them weird? There is a lot of bullying going on based upon gender identity toys. Did you not read the article about the little boy being bullied for carrying a My Little Pony backpack? Why can't people just let kids be kids and not worry so much about whether they are playing with the "correct" type of toys?

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  49. I thought i was the only one annoyed by this at the drive-thru.
    Thank goodness McD's is entering the 21st century.

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  50. Yes, I agree with anonymous who cares what it's called. The truth is the majority of boys choose the truck and and the girls choose the doll. Simple. Call me old fashioned but there are bigger problems in the world and it's sad to see that McDonalds kowtows to an 11 year old.

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  51. Anonymous, it is fine that "the majority of boys choose the truck and and the girls choose the doll"--EACH of them can choose what they want. And, if they happen to be the minority who chooses differently, that should be JUST AS FINE. One of my favorite children is a little blonde, blue eyed girl (who looks like the angel on a Christmas tree)--and for her whole life, she has been annoyed that people keep giving her Disney Princess toys, when she KNOWS, deep in her heart, that she is a Ninja Turtle (Raphael, specifically)!

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    Replies
    1. Seriously, nobody cares what they choose. The fact that it's an issue to say "girl" or "boy" toy is preposterous!
      Move on to something that matters people.

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  52. I ordered a Happy Meal through the drive-thru at McD's years ago when they were offering "boy" Hot Wheels and "girl" something girly (I don't remember). The cashier asked, "is this for a boy or a girl?" I replied, "it's for me, and I want Hot Wheels." And I got it.

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  53. I remember what was always unfair was that if the big movie/series of the moment was considered more "masculine", the "feminine" toy was always something terrible with no effort put in. like "oh, boys get TRANSFORMERS! they actually transform! ... girls get, i dunno, make some crappy plastic baby dolls whose hair they can brush or something."

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  54. Amazing that this is such an issue. This politically correct stuff is really getting ridiculous!

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  55. Gosh, I understand the meaning of this post... but why are people even supporting toys in toxic food? What's really disgusting at the end of the day is that McDonald's includes a toy for food children (or even adults) should never be eating!!! It's a pretty sick marketing trick!

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  56. McDonalds in Germany usually has 6 toys and they are ordered by the number not the gender. Sometimes there are 3 'girl toys' and 3 'boy toys' but often the toys are books or puzzles. It depends on whether there is a movie promotion going on.

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  57. Well I grew up on McDonald's and I'm still alive. Everything in moderation is fine. It shows the state of the world when we care about non issues like this. We really need to quit all this p.c. mess.

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  58. My McDonald's still asks boy or girl, and I will agree that pink Spiderman toys aren't quite the answer, but before I received the pink Spiderman toy, my daughter and I were complaining that girls like Spiderman too. So we were pleasantly surprised to receive anything Spiderman. I think it's a step in the right direction, albeit a slow one.

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  59. I just found this blog, doing some back reading and bam! sent to the article. The ignorance in some of the comments set me off. I have three kids, they played with the same toys, the same swingset, the same sandbox and heaven help me! the never ending stream of legos. My son is a chef, my oldest daughter is an archaeologist and the youngest a nurse. Gender shouldn't matter - it didn't matter to them and it didn't matter to me. It's society.

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