[Warning: Extreme sarcasm ahead! Make sure your sense of humor is turned on and functioning properly before reading further.]
I’m reporting live, on location in a motel somewhere in Ohio. Okay, technically the location is about an hour back on the interstate, but close enough. There is injustice in Ohio, and I will not let it stand!
But, Myriad, I hear you say, this is Ohio. The Midwest. The Americana-y-est part of America, land of the free, with liberty and justice for all! Surely no injustices are allowed here.
Oh, dear readers (hi FBI!), I marvel at your naivete. For though I encountered this injustice in Ohio, it is in fact a national – perhaps even international – phenomenon. There’s just no easy way to break the news, so I’ll come right out and say it:
McDonald’s is imposing gender stereotypes on our children.
Shocking, I know. After all, McDonald’s is an institution known for their emphasis on fostering healthy habits, both physical and mental, in America’s youth.
But when I ordered a Mighty Kids Meal this evening, with my eye on the toy Pikachu in the toy display, I was brought up short by the following question: “Is this for a boy or a girl?”
Okay, so I’m a twenty-something woman. Conceivably I could be buying this for a child. But no, I was buying this for myself. I wanted my Pikachu! But I knew that if I said, “Girl,” they would give me a Zooble instead. (If, like me, you’re wondering what in the name of wallabies a Zooble is, apparently it’s a toy line for girls. You can tell ’cause of the large cartoon eyes and overabundance of pink.)
“It’s for a girl who likes Pokemon,” I said. “You know, you should really just ask which kind of toy people want.”
…To which the McDonald’s cashier replied with a perplexed grimace.
“You shouldn’t be pushing gender roles on people.”
(a trifle terrified): “They just tell us to ask boy or girl.”
(taking pity): “Oh, I know, don’t worry. It’s a systematic thing. But still. Oh, all right,boy.”
The cashier was actually very nice and let me exchange my not-Pikachu Pokemon toy for a Pikachu Pokemon toy despite my berating her.
The entire exchange was quite polite, but it was a sad reminder of how much coding we face from a young age. I don’t even remember, but I suppose Mom must have often told the clerks to give one ‘boy’ toy and one ‘girl’ toy, for my brother and me. But I’m pretty sure when they had Pokemon toys back in the day when I was still ordering Happy Meals regularly, the only toys they had were Pokemon. They might have a month with Hot Wheels for boys and My Little Pony for girls (at which point I think I asked for the “boy” toy; I never really got the pony thing), but if they had Pokemon toys it was understood that Pokemon appealed to
both all genders.
I really hope that Pokemon isn’t being too heavily marketed as a “boy” thing these days, because I got a lot of enjoyment out of the various forms of Pokemon media as a child, and I don’t want other young girls to miss out on that because Pokemon is “not for them.” IT IS TOO FOR GIRLS.
And women. Hell, I went to McDonald’s for the sole purpose of acquiring a plastic Pikachu. I’ve put up at least two blog posts devoted to adorable pictures of my favorite yellow electric mouse. I still sign emails ‘Chu.’ Pokemon is NOT for boys. It is for EVERYONE. You can try to take my ‘chu, but you’ll be prying it out of my cold, dead hands.
POKEMON FOR ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[This concludes tonight’s edition of the Sarcastic Social Justice Journal. From my motel bed cowering under the sheets from the BFB (Big F-ing Bug), this is Myriad, signing off.]