Sunday, 11 May 2014

McDisappointment Meal

Let me start by saying this is not going to be just another lengthy post complaining about the food at McDonald's. I'll be the first to admit that I love the golden deliciousness that comes in a six pack of McNuggets, and every so often, I have zero desire to cook anything at all and will find myself in the drive-thru lane. So sue me. However, I was not impressed with what I found in my almost three year old daughter's Happy Meal on our most recent visit.

Our little miss is like most other little girls her age. She loves princesses and dress up and all things pink. She loves to have nail polish on, and occasionally I will pretend to put some lipstick on her and with that, her entire day is made. I'm not much of a feminist mom. I  live for a long afternoon of Disney Princess movies and can't resist buying her pretty dresses and hair accessories every now and again. I love the fact that she is, dare I say it, such a "girly girl".

However, she also has an extremely hands on and dedicated dad. A dad who although seems like a pretty cool dude, is a secret geek who collects comic books. I learned this when I was already in too deep. Because of him, my sweet little princess could recite the names of the Avengers by the time she turned two. She has an equal love for Cinderella and Batman. And I don't mean a frilly, pink version of Batman that you see on Pinterest. I'm talking the real thing, Batman: The Animated Series. My husband tells me this was the best animated series ever made. I don't know that it's overly child friendly, but she eats it up. She also, not unlike her daddy, has a love for Spider-Man. As a very little girl, she referred to him as simply, "Man" (Batman was "Bapan"). She knew his colors, and would even do the action of shooting webs from her wrist.

Brad reading Captain America to Avery, not even 24 hours old

Avery, 10 months, learning about Thor

Avery's bedtime stories were Eisner Award winning graphic novels (NOT comic books, my apologies). My not even three year old even knows who killed Gwen Stacy (I wouldn't even know who she is if it wasn't for my closet-nerd of a husband).

About 1/3 of Brad's collection. Talk nerdy to me. 

When I really look back, her daddy made her a comic book lover, the media made her a princess.

Anyway, imagine my disappointment, when I opened up her Happy Meal, to see this:

For those of you who haven't been beneath the golden arches in a while, this is a Spider-Man comb. 

A comb. 

Even though she doesn't know the word yet, the look on Avery's face when she received this "toy for a girl" had "This is stupid" written all over it. 

"What is it?" she asked, innocently. 
"It's a comb!" I tried to sound enthusiastic. 

Avery gave me a confused look and ran the comb through her mat of curls. We both know that Spider-Man has no need for a comb when he has his mask on and is catching thieves just like flies. GOD! 

I took the liberty of Googling what other toys they had that fell into the Spider-Man "girl" category. A hair band. COME ON!

Again, I have never been a feminist mom. I have never really paid attention to gender stereotypes because they never really affected me and we always had a balance of playing princess and fighting crime, but this is seriously getting under my skin. Never has it been so "in your face" to me how girls should sit quietly and fix their hair while boys fight bad guys and save the damsels. Why can't my daughter get the cool mask? Why can't all the girls get the cool masks and the car and the figurine? Why are they the "toy for a boy"? It's 2014 for crying out loud! Why are the toys even divided between boys and girls?

Probably because statistics show that if Avery played with the Spider-Man toy for a boy, she would grow up to be a lesbian which is a fate worse than death. 

Just kidding. No they don't. No it isn't. 

And yes, I said it. Everybody knows, but nobody says out loud, that at the root of it all, our society is pushing us to raise heterosexual males and females. God forbid your little boy likes to wear dresses. Because you know, he's probably going to grow up to be gay. 

Come off it, society. Some of the best guys I know are in love with other guys. And they are hilarious and fun and hard working and make everybody around them happier. And if either one of my children is lucky enough to find a love like that, I don't really give a shit who it's with. 

But do you know what? At the end of the day, your stupid pink Spider-Man comb isn't going to make her into a submissive, quiet lady if she isn't. And she's not. Trust me. She is fierce and independent and she's a little fighter. Why would anyone (besides her exasperated parents) want to take that away? 

I know that I'm probably flying a little off the handle over a Happy Meal toy, but seriously, McDonald's. A COMB. I also am aware that you aren't the only ones who are ramming this bull down the throats of children along with your cheeseburgers, but this is the first time that my eyes were really, really opened to it. 

I know you're all about changing your menu. Using "all white meat" in your chicken nuggets, "real beef" patties in your burgers. You brought in salads, smoothies, egg white wraps. Change this!!!

Our kids only know that certain toys, games, or colors are "for girls" or "for boys" because it is what we are teaching them. It doesn't make Avery any less of a girl because she likes comic book heroes. Don't dumb it down for her. She may be just shy of three, but she can already call your bullshit. And don't make little boys feel like anything less than little boys if they like the bracelet. Don't make toys for girls and toys for boys, just make toys. 

And for the love of all things holy, don't ruin Spider-Man. From what I know, he would be appalled at the extreme lame-ness of dividing him into girl and boy toys. Spider-Man is for everyone and has been for a LOT of years. Don't ruin it. 

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