Friday, October 16, 2009

Dear McDonald's: Bite It

My husband, who puts up with my Wild Feminist Rantings* with far more grace and patience than most men, actually got a taste this weekend of what's been annoying me for years.

Background: I grew up the type of little girl who preferred to play with the neighborhood boys. I'd rather be Luke Skywalker over Princess Leia any day, nifty hairdo notwithstanding. I received far more babydolls and Barbies for Christmas than I ever wanted, which mostly sat in a sad pile of neglect in the corner of my closet. Surprising most of the concerned adults around me, I turned out relatively normal and able to function in society. 

Dear husband took our 7-year-old daughter to McDonald's for lunch (I'll put my disgust over the whole ground meat controversy aside for one moment) and she ordered a Happy Meal. For the toy, of course. 

The toy choices on the wall were between a Build-A-Bear stuffed animal (girl toy) and a plastic Bakugan...somethingorother. I don't know what it is, exactly, but it's the boy toy. She opened the box and found within a pink stuffed animal with "Baby Rocks" printed on its shirt. 

She frowned. "I wanted the Bakugan." 

"Okay, we'll see if we can switch," said the husband, ever the doting dad.
Back to the counter they went. The employee looked startled. "But she's a girl. She got the girl toy." Now, this couldn't possibly have been the first time she'd encountered this scenario. Maybe she just startles easy.

"Yes, but is it possible to switch?"

"I suppose. You really want the boy toy, honey? Okay." 

My husband said she was nice and all. Polite. Even let daughter pick which Bakugan she wanted. Still. Daughter was taken aback. She would NOT want to be confused with a boy. No no no. She's not even all that tomboyish. 

I realize that if she were a boy who wanted the girl toy, the level of shit from the employee, and from society overall, would have been much greater. No! Stay within your pre-defined gender roles!

Anyway. I'm sure she won't be scarred for life. But, grrr. Sometimes parenting really is like reliving your childhood. 

What kind of kid were you?

*By "wild" I mean "mild."


Janna Leadbetter said...

Well first, I can't bring myself to click on your link for the ground meat controversary. Scary?

I liked it all - the Barbies AND the Hot Wheels. And I'm very surprised at the cashier's response. Why is it her job to try and talk a child out of one cheap toy for another? I'd guess she's not a mother herself.

Jennifer Walkup said...

I was a little girl like you. I was the only girl cousin in a slew of boys (although they always MADE me be Princess Leia - damn it!), so I liked tons of boy toys and games, too. I don't understand why the McD's cashier would even care what your daughter wanted! Good for your hubby for getting her the boy toy.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I was the same way as a kid & always wanted the boy toy. I'm glad she got what she wanted without much hassle, but I think you're right about the situations being reversed.

Travis Erwin said...

Once on a road trip my boys discovered 30 miles down the highway that they had been given a Bratz doll rather than a Hotwhgeel. They were highly ticked

Alissa Grosso said...

Well, I was Princess Leia for Halloween one year (hey, I did get to carry a really cool toy gun as part of my costume) but I also spent more time playing with Matchbox cars than dolls. I know I shouldn't be, but I am surprised that McDonald's has gender specific Happy Meal toys.

WendyCinNYC said...

Janna--Yeah the ground meat controversy is scary! I agree with you about the McD's worker. Why would she care? Whatever.

Jennifer--I, too, was forced to be Leia and "saved" by the neighborhood boys. At least the didn't make me wear a gold bikini!

Melanie--Yes, much worse reversed, I think.

Travis--I bet they were ticked!

Alissa--I think maybe sometimes they aren't gender-specific, like if it's something widely popular, but most of the time they are "boy" or "girl."

Allie said...

Oh! That is ridiculous! I have no patience for that kind of sexism (says the girl who desperately wanted a remote control car, but instead got the stupid Barbie convertible that had the controller tethered to the the car with a three foot cord).

ac said...

Do you really have to ask? Was there ever any doubt?

Tomboy, of course.

moonrat said...

someone gave me a barbie doll once, when i was 8. i used her legs as a bookmark.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

I never played with dolls when I was little. I thought they were stupid. I preferred "pretend games," usually pretending I was a princess. When I was a little older, I pretended I was married to Donny Osmond, Michael Jackson, or David Cassidy. In Donny's case, I was even willing to become a Mormon, not that I knew what that meant. I also loved to climb trees. It's a wonder I'm not seeing a therapist. Hmmm....

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

funny b/c my daughter wanted the boy toy too! i figure its ok - all us girls want a boy toy (cant believe i just said that!) ;)

Anonymous said...

Not sure what the meat controversy could possibly be except maybe "rare" or "medium" but when I was a kid there were no Happy Meals, so no boy/girl controversy.