On a trip to the suburbs, I experienced the McDonald’s drive-thru [sic]. Admittedly it was not my finest parenting hour. And I almost became unhinged when asked by the cashier, “Do you want a ‘girl’ toy or a ‘boy’ toy with that Happy Meal?” Far from being some sort of Madonna Ciccone-like cosmic question, it was a practical one: does your kid want the Transformers action figure or the “Littlest Pet Shop” figurine?
I spared the cashier my inner monologue about gender stereotypes. Why, I asked myself, is the Transformer the “boy” toy and the Littlest Pet Shop figure is the “girl” toy? More interestingly, how hard would it be to de-gender the Happy Meal? Surely if McDonald’s can implement a corporate policy requiring its drive-thru cashiers say, “Hello. Welcome to McDonald’s. May I take your order?” then it should not be too difficult to require cashiers to ask, “Would you like a Transformer or a Littlest Pet Shop toy with that Happy Meal?”