Michigan Rep. Leslie Love thinks McDonald’s and other fast food places that offer free toys with kids meals are promoting “gender stereotypes” that are causing “harmful effects” on kids everywhere.
So, the Democrat and 14 others sponsored a resolution to “urge food establishments and franchisees in Michigan to stop gender classification of toys offered in its kids’ meals.”
Michigan Democrats think it’s the government’s responsibility to police Happy Meals because the toys allegedly influence how kids develop their gender roles, by limiting their imagination.
“Food establishments often offer a toy with their meals marketed to young children, and in some cases the customer is asked if they prefer a ‘girl toy’ or a ‘boy toy.’ Often, the designated ‘boy toys’ are action figures or building toys; typically, in primary colors, whereas ‘girls toys’ are often stuffed animals and are usually in a pastel color scheme,” House Resolution No. 429 reads.
“This is a significant issues as billions of these meals are sold every year and this practice can influence and limit children’s imaginations and interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls and others only for boys,” it continued. “While some food establishments claim to have abandoned this practice, many stores in Michigan continue to offer gender-classified options to customers…”
The resolution alleges research shows kids begin developing gender roles at age two, and “as the child grows older and develops, his or her play activities change based on societal connection to their gender grouping.”
The resolution implies the free toys somehow influence students’ careers and interests later in life.
“Targeting the offering of toys by gender has consequences beyond socialization. A 2015 study published by the Association of Psychological Science concluded that boys are more likely to play with toys that develop spatial intelligence and reasoning than girls,” according to the resolution. “These skills are especially important for success in academic and professional domains, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“If a customer desires a toy, it should be one of his or her choice without classification by gender. Customers should simply be offered the choice of toy. (Example: Would you like a Transformer or a My Little Pony?)”
HR 429, which was referred to the Committee on Commerce and Trade, would send a copy of the state’s official position on kids meal toys to “the CEO of the boards of directors of the major fast food chains in Michigan.”
Though it’s unlikely to pass the Republican controlled legislature, it’s the latest attempt to shame companies that promote traditional gender roles.
The Detroit Free Press reports:
The movement gained traction in 2008 when a Connecticut girl questioned a policy at McDonald’s restaurants where kids were given toys with their meals based on gender. She described being asked if she wanted a ‘girl toy’ or a ‘boy toy’ with her Happy Meal.
A 2016 petition drive asked McDonald’s to stop promoting gender stereotypes through Happy Meal toys.
The broader movement is not limited to toys. Department stores are being called on the carpet for having pink and blue walls in toy aisles, because the walls ‘immediately insinuate that there are ‘boy toys’ and ‘girl toys,’” according to the Change.org website.
The Michigan resolution comes about three months after lawmakers in California forced McDonald’s and other places offering kids meals to only offer water or unflavored milk with meals unless the customer specifically asks for something else, according to the American Council on Science and Health.