Posts Tagged ‘Smurfs’

On The Society Pages, Phillip Cohen writes about his McDonald’s experience and being asked, before receiving the Happy Meal, if the child who is eating it is a boy or girl.

“I’m told by the Happy Meal box that ‘Smurfs are named after their individual talents: there’s Farmer, Painter and Baker… Know your talent and find your Smurf name!’…I wondered what Smurfette’s individual talent’ was that got her – the only female Smurf- named ‘Smurfette.'”

(You should visit Cohen’s site, he includes a great table about the lack of women in power positions in the film industry.)

Both of Cohen’s girls chose boy Smurfs. So maybe there’s a positive side to a blatantly sexist Hollywood blockbuster colliding with a blatantly sexist food chain policy: the male privilege becomes so exposed its laughable. What if McDonald’s, after the Smurf experience, decides to change its sexist policy? Forevermore, instead of the servers asking if the customer is a boy or a girl, now they want to know: what talent would you most like to have? What skill would you most like to master? What character would you like to write a story about?

In five minutes, my 5 year old daughter came up with six girl Smurfs: Flyer (she has wings); Magician (she holds a wand); Sky or Weather (she makes rainbows & rain, the sun and moon rise and set, and sunset and sunrise); Singer (she holds a microphone) and Motorcycle (rides a motorcycle.) My eight year old daughter adds: Zombie (covered in mummy bands and blood); Living Dead (skeleton); Fairytale (she jumps into books) and Superhero (wears a cape); X-Ray (can look through walls) Library (holds a library card, shares her library with all the Smurfs, most popular Smurf); Guilty (always lies, holds pen and paper to write down lies so she can remember them) Sporty (holds soccer ball).

My Smurf name, according to my husband: Mouthy.

(Read my earlier Smurf/ McDonald’s post here: Free order of sexism with that happy Meal?

Read Full Post »

When you ask for a Happy Meal, as every non-vegan parent knows, your McDonald’s server always asks: “Is this Happy Meal for a boy or girl?”

“Why?” I asked, my first time, a new parent, totally confused.

“So we know which toy to give the child.”

The whole toy with your Happy Meal is, in itself, gross and disturbing. And in spite being a carnivore, I’ve only subjected my family to the experience a couple times usually because my kids got a glimpse of McDonald’s plastic playground from the freeway by our house. As depicted and deconstructed in the film “Supersize Me” Happy Meal toys are relentlessly marketed to kids during any cartoon they happen to be watching not onĀ  PBS. That’s right– you’re up against Hollywood, the fast food industry, and TV.

But nutrition aside, if you go to McDonald’s right now and you are lucky enough to be a boy, your server will offer you 15 choices from which you can pick your toy. If you are a girl– one. You don’t get a choice.

If a brother and sister– or God forbid, a boy and a girl who actually hang out together in spite of being told by the universe they are radically different species– go to McDonald’s together, what are these little kids learning about who is important, who has options as far as her identity and who doesn’t?

This image via Hoyden About Town/ thesocietypages.org

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: