Apparently there was some flap about gender biases in Happy Meals? I missed it because I was busy being cranky over switching from Caffeine-Free Diet Coke to Diet Coke Sweetened With Splenda. (They don’t make Caffeine-Free Diet Coke Sweetened With Splenda. I checked. Silly people.)
(Yes, I have ADHD, but you already knew that.)
(And I also don’t have television so I kind of miss news stories now and then.)
(No, I’m not Amish. Yes, I have the internet. Quit interrupting me.)
Anyway, yeah, something about Disney princesses and Pirates of the Caribbean, do you want a toy for a girl or for a boy?, and now the girls want the Pirates of the Caribbean toys and it’s all just a MESS. I think I also saw something about putting an African-American princess in place of a Lily-White-American princess in the promotional posters. Last summer there were people with ants in their pants about the Fantastic Four tie-in. I guess The Thing wanted to “clobber people” and The Human Torch was, well, a guy on fire, which a few people thought was just a WEE BIT DISTURBING. (Apparently the small boys to whom the toy was targeted thought it was hella wicked cool, but nobody asked them.)
Personally, I always just got a serious case of the giggles whenever the teenager at the drivethrough window forgot to word the question according to the script and accidentally asked me, “Do you want a girl toy or a boy toy?” And I’m all, “Dude, I want a boy toy! McDonald’s has those now?”
I think the key to this madness (see Human Torch above) is that it’s the grown-ups who are doing the complaining, not the kids. The kids play with them for six seconds, fight over them with their siblings for forty-five minutes, lose them down the crack between the seats in the minivan, and promptly forget about them. I believe that the solution is simple: “Do you want a toy for a boy, a girl, or a mommy?”
[NOTE: Yes, I am writing about mommies, because I am one. If you want to write about daddies, feel free.]
I think if the really cranky mommies got their own Happy Meals, they won’t be so stressed out about whether or not the plastic princess has a politically correct amount of plastic melanin in her plastic skin. If there was an Adult Happy Meal option, there would be no more mental energy wasted on whether or not gender stereotypes are involved when some poor overworked schmuck of an employee mistakenly leaps to the conclusion that the little boy shrieking “WALK THE PLANK, YE SCURVY DOG!” might prefer a Chattering Teeth Pirate Skull to a pair of Cinderella Going-To-The-Ball Gloves.
Because the truth is that every now and then, OK, yeah – I get a craving for McDonald’s. But that craving is very quickly satisfied, and a kid-sized meal is all I really want. And I want to Have It My Way – this means a small hamburger with fresh lettuce and Tillamook cheese, fries made fresh especially for me, a 32-oz. soda, in a bag with a decent crossword puzzle on it, and I want my own toy.
Now, I’m not talking diamond earrings here. But think about it! I’d open my little paper bag all full of excitement to see what my prize is. A dark chocolate raspberry truffle? A sample of the latest Sephora eyeshadow? An itty-bitty bottle of Grey Goose La Poire? Ooo, look! I got a teeny little bar of soap from Anthropologie! And I heard that next month they’re doing the Monopoly game again, and the instant win tokens are for pashmina wraps!
Now I kinda want one of those chattering skulls …