I went to McDonalds at the weekend too. I had to order 5 happy meals for 2 girls (my nieces) and 3 for my boys. The toys were Ninja Turtles or mini soft animals. We have heaps of Ninja Turtles and soft animals despite being a family of 4 boys so I asked my boys what they wanted. 2 wanted the soft toy – which in my opinion is a gender neutral toy, not just a girl toy, and one wanted the Ninja Turtle, my oldest wanted an adult meal and had grown out of toys from about 5. When I got up to the counter I was not surprised by the boy toy or girl toy question, I ordered 4 girls toys and 1 boy toy. The sales assistant didn’t care if I actually had 4 girls – it wasn’t a test, I had the choice. So why is this woman making such a song and dance about this, just ask for the girl toy.
Yes, this is gender stereotyping, but you know what? Often the gender stereotyping is correct. This is the first time my kids have ever wanted the girl toy and have been quite upset on the odd occasion McDonalds didn’t ask and I got a toy that was stereotypically girl – My Little Pony comes to mind, some boys might like My Little Pony but they wanted the car toy.
I used to belong to Playcentre and this organization tries very hard to give kids the freedom to be free from stereotypes. But you know what? The majority of the time kids do fall into the stereotypes even when playing with what is typically the opposite gender. The boys loved the push chairs and shopping carts but would chuck the dolls out and chase everyone around. The girls would nurture the baby and act out the shopping. Girls who liked to dress up in stereotypically boy roles such as fireman wanted to save the baby or animal from the burning building whereas boys wanted to get out the hose and squirt everyone. A huge percentage of the time stereotypes are correct, that’s how stereotypes come about. But stereotypes don’t need to be bad and even better is to be out of the box and do something differently. Be a leader. Be a trail blazer. Stereotypes change as behavior changes. We live in an age where people are free to do what they want, if you are a boy and you want a girl toy, you can and vice versa, so long as you are not hurting anyone you are free to do as you want. So be who you are, be proud that you are strong enough to make choices that go against the grain of society but please don’t write stories about it and try and change what works for 90% of the population because then you are taking from them. You don’t have to take from others to be who you are just be polite and ask for the toy you want. I was a Tom boy playing in trees and with skateboards yet I did ballet which was a strange mix. There are woman mechanics who pile on the make up and a gorgeous dress for an evening out – just because someone likes a different genders toys doesn’t make them the other gender. We are all unique, we are all different, embrace it and stop being so PC all the time if someone misspeaks in your opinion, like asking if they want a boy or girl toy, just brush it off, ask for what you want or inquire as to what the toys actually are, and then get on with your day. Wish I could get on with my day but I have an 8 week old baby that wakes up every time I put her down. I just need to think about making another attempt and she opens her eyes. If I wasn’t able to type this up on my phone whilst breastfeeding my baby girl I wouldn’t bother. Makes me question how someone has the time to complain about the choice of labeling of a McDonalds toy as for a boy or for a girl – surely people have something more important to do. My little girl is going to be surrounded by boy toys and often wear boy hand me downs – she’ll still be a girl.