If you read my blog post from March 14 (Happy Meal with a Side of Gender Issues To Go Please), you know that when raising a fabulously effeminate son even ordering a Happy Meal can be a production. That’s because McDonald’s typically doesn’t give out gender-neutral toys anymore, instead you must choose a “boy toy” or a “girl toy.”
The solution is simple, have cashiers leave gender out of the order-taking process and ask customers if they would like, for example, the Barbie or the Hot Wheels car.
Check out this photo that Raising My Rainbow Reader Greg sent to me today. It was taken at a McDonald’s in West Hollywood. You’d think in WeHo of all places they’d be a little more aware and considerate of those who are gender nonconforming. If you can’t be free to show your true colors in Boys’ Town, where do you go?
Is it still like that were you live, no neutral toys? I’ve been working at a McDonalds in Sweden and we only have neutral toys, which I think is wonderful. When I get a family with children I always show the children the toys and asks which one they want and I hate when parents talk for their children as if they don’t have their own voice.
I work at Macca’s and try to bring awareness of the issue to my coworkers. They are all as dumb as a pile of shit, so they don’t really get it, but I know that I am making a difference and getting some people to try.
I’m actually thinking of speaking to our consultant and getting her to bring it up…
I’ve had this exact same problem with my tomboy niece. I don’t understand. I answer them by saying I want the “Hot Wheels car” or whatever it is, instead of boys toy. Why does a car have to be a boy’s and a barbie a girl’s? Frustrating. I do agree with your other readers that mention it seems easier to raise a tomboy girl than an effeminate boy. A group of women were talking about boys wanting to look like girls now with their skinny jeans, guy-liner and styled hair. From their scorn, I wondered what it must have been like when women started wearing pants. How I’m glad we did!
Love reading this, and good luck!
Another thing… the last time I went to Wal-Mart, the aisles in the toy section were clearly marked “Boys,” “Girls,” and “All Children.” I don’t seem to remember such labeling at Target, and I don’t think such labeling is necessary.
Even the Happiest Place on Earth is not immune to such things. I once witnessed a Cast Member asking someone looking for a pen to go with his child’s autograph book, “Is it for a boy or a girl?” prior to trying to be helpful and make recommendations. I just kind of rolled my eyes. Why does it matter? It’s a pen. Get him or her whatever pen he or she likes, and be done with it.
As a former McDonalds worker (gotta afford books for those Women’s Studies classes somehow) asking which toy a person wanted was the least favorite part of my job (right behind getting coffee refills for the old men who only referred to me as “princess”). Asking someone if they want a girl toy or a boy toy is sadly part of the training script I was taught to follow. Not asking or not punching the appropriate button (they’re labeled Doll and Truck) is liable to earn you a scolding from your manager. That being said, if any parent asked me for a toy that was obviously (or not so obviously) for a child of the opposite gender, I was always happy to make sure that they got the toy their child wanted. But as angry as the whole situation made me, I couldn’t afford to do anything to lose my job. Even in mentioning it to my coworkers, the response was “Its not a big deal. No one really cares.” I hope that one day it won’t be a big deal because the only question will be, “Do you need a toy for a child under 3?” Keep on raising your beautiful son!
Nice job Jon, I was thinking the same thing!
First of all, thanks for addressing the gender issues at MacDonald’s….I have been pissed off for a long, long time at the utter extreme of gender stereotyping of their toys! Not only are they absolute gender Nazi’s about having boy or girl toys, but the toys go to the utter extremes – like ultra femme and uber macho. They are gender caricatures! Its crazy. And I was the opposite of your son as a child…I was the little girl who wanted the super hero or the truck. I grew up with very nonplussed parents and the GI Joe’s, and wanted to be Prince Charming and rescue the Princess and slay the dragon (trash can lids made great shields!) And yes, I am transmasculine lesbian identified although it took me half a life time to put all the pieces together and am still not out to ultrauber conservative parents. Your guess about CJ’s possible orientation is probably correct, but it’s not necessarily carved in stone either. What I do know is that CJ has the best Mom in the entire world to be his mother…and Dad too for that matter. Having just found your blog, I have sat and read back through the entire thing – every single post, to the beginning. THANK YOU! This blog is a treasure and a gift, to all of us, the ones who grew up not understanding what was “wrong” with them – it gives us hope to see what parenting should look like. It gives us hope to be able to pass along to others the stories of a family that is struggling, yes, but getting it absolutely right at the end of the day. Its even a gift to the homophobic ones who write ugly confusing things and lash out at people they don’t even know…because they have read your words, and the kernel of truth will lodge there in their minds, whether they like it or not. I hope you keep writing, I hope you share this amazing journey you are on with us for a long, long time to come…we need people like you and CJ and the rest of your family. And thank you for letting us into the circle of your family and sharing these beautiful, terrifying, complex moments in your lives. It takes a great deal of courage! I’ll be here, and I will keep right on reading, and commenting and laughing and crying with you! Because I believe in you and what your family is doing. Its the answer to all the pain and hate out there. To take a stand, and love!
OH I so thought of you yesterday when I pulled into Mickey D’s yesterday to get my little man a Happy Meal and was asked “for a boy or a girl?” While my temptation was to lecture the hell out of the poor teenager working the drive-thru, I instead opted to say “I would like a Littlest Pet Shop toy, please” (largely predicated by the fact that Little Man loves animals AND is not allowed to have “toys of destruction” at his pre-school, so Superheroes are out).
How completely true. West Hollywood is known for being the most “politically correct” city in the west coast (I’m including San Francisco in that statement.) Walk into that McDonalds on any day, and you’re sure to notice several people who do not fit into gender norms. I know from now on I will start making that suggestion at all McD’s I visit!
In West Hollywood, the term “boy toys” is usually not associated with anything related to children or McDonald’s. Since this is a family-friendly blog, I will leave it at that.
Gosh, that´s funny!!!! 😉
I’m glad that I am not the only one who thought that. ^^;