In which the author neglects to write important, upcoming event related blogness and instead bitches about toys.
When I go to fast food joints, I tend to go for the kids’ meal. They’re cheap, contain fewer french fries for me to eat until they’re gone no matter how full I am, and they come with a toy. For the nerdy Skepchick who refuses to grow up, what’s not to love?
Well, inevitably, I leave the drive-thru fuming, because of the insidious, yet so routine question, “Is this for a boy or a girl?” I never give them the straight answer they’re going for. Yeah, I’m that annoying bitch. I make them describe the toys to me. See, most of the time, the “boy” toy is something cool and action-y; something you can actually play with. The “girl” toy is something to wear to make you “pretty”, or maybe a fake cell phone.
Today’s prize was Flip ‘N’ Fly War MachineTM from Burger King. It was the “boy” toy, if you haven’t guessed. To be honest, I thought it was sort of lame at first; it’s a molded plastic action figure that attaches to a little trigger thingy and flips up and down. Oh, and his arms are mobile. So yeah, pretty stupid, until one of my coworkers figured out it’s true purpose:
After this discovery, I can safely say I got my money’s worth.
The “girl” option offered was a mirror. Well, actually, according to BK, it’s an Iron ManTM Message Board. It’s basically a mirror with a dry erase marker, from what I can tell. You know, so you can write messages to your friends. Cuz, you know, girls are social. Other options include Iron Man 2 related plastic necklaces and a bracelet.
This has me thinking of doing a series of interviews with kids in fast food joints, if I thought I could actually pull it off without coming off as a total creepazoid weirdo. Seriously, I know there are big time marketing geniuses in charge of all this, but I wonder how much of it is just self reinforcing. I mean, if you identify the toys as being gender specific, you’re putting pressure on kids to accept the roles those toys signify: boys=action; girls=pretty. Going for the opposite gendered toy is sort of a big deal, in the landscape of kids’ worlds. There’s a lot of gender boundary policing going on. Most kids would rather conform than live with the teasing.
Not that I’m suggesting it’s somehow wrong for kids to actually like the gender “appropriate” toy, either. I just wish kids could figure out for themselves what it means to be a girl or a boy without so much outside pressure. I was fortunate enough to be raised by a “tom-boy” mom and a “softie” dad, and don’t remember ever being encouraged or discouraged from doing anything on the basis of gender.
I know, I know, all this over some lame ass kids’ meal toys. But it seriously pisses me off.
Alright, rant over. Excuse me while I cheer myself up by making War Machine hump random things in my room.
Okay, seriously, stay tuned for a Skepchicon update later today.