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Author Topic: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.  (Read 1943 times)

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Offline EphiralTopic starter

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McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« on: April 30, 2014, 02:37:42 PM »
Forked from here.

Kythia, I'm curious: The McDonald's position is a mild, deliberate choice not to gender toys. You are equating this with denial that toys are percieved as gendered, and saying that such denial is unhelpful. How, then, are we to change this actively harmful perception? If we can't even stop referring to toys as gendered, I'm not sure what steps remain to productively change society.

Offline Kythia

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 02:48:01 PM »
Forked from here.

Sorry, I guess I could have done that myself couldn't I?  Not entirely sure why I felt it was easier to just demand you do it.  *shrug*


Kythia, I'm curious: The McDonald's position is a mild, deliberate choice not to gender toys. You are equating this with denial that toys are percieved as gendered, and saying that such denial is unhelpful. How, then, are we to change this actively harmful perception? If we can't even stop referring to toys as gendered, I'm not sure what steps remain to productively change society.

McDonald's Happy Meals come with a choice of two toys.  This branch (given the lack of a logo on the notice, I presume it's not head office.  It's not actually important) has informed staff not to refer to this choice in gendered terms.

What good does this do?  Kids go to McDonald's, what, two or three times a year?  If that?  Further, as I said to Red, the kids that are affected are :

Quote
(... intersection of "wants the 'other' toy", "would be embarrassed about asking for it via a gender" "wouldn't be embarrassed about asking for it by name", "has a parent who feels the same", "has a parent who wouldn't just think to ask for it by name even without the policy" and half a hundred other factors.  How many kids are we reasonably talking about here?)

plus half a hundred other categories. 

In essence, the MacDonald's decision is helping a negligible number of children a negligible number of times a year.  Sure, it's not costing MacDonald's/society/anyone really much, but it's not actually doing any good either.  Or not for children anyway, its doing good for MacDonald's PR but that's not really my primary concern.

What I'm saying is that a far far greater amount of good can be done by using this event as an opportunity to discuss the issues raised.  Noone gains their understanding of gender issues from MacDonald's but, as a visit is a special event, using it to tie in to a lesson makes the lesson memorable.

EDIT:  To summarise - the policy is too small scale to have any real positive effects and removes the chance to do something - consciousness raising - that has been proved time and time again to have positive effects.  As I said over in the other thread, I don't think the policy is actively harmful, but claiming it's a good thing seems waaaaaay too big a step.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 02:58:35 PM by Kythia »

Offline EphiralTopic starter

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 03:33:15 PM »
Sorry, I guess I could have done that myself couldn't I?  Not entirely sure why I felt it was easier to just demand you do it.  *shrug*

Because such things are beneath you, of course. Or you're on a tablet. One of those.


McDonald's Happy Meals come with a choice of two toys.  This branch (given the lack of a logo on the notice, I presume it's not head office.  It's not actually important) has informed staff not to refer to this choice in gendered terms.
Yeah, either it's just that branch, or every one near me is way out of compliance.

What good does this do?  Kids go to McDonald's, what, two or three times a year?  If that?  Further, as I said to Red, the kids that are affected are :

plus half a hundred other categories. 

In essence, the MacDonald's decision is helping a negligible number of children a negligible number of times a year.  Sure, it's not costing MacDonald's/society/anyone really much, but it's not actually doing any good either.  Or not for children anyway, its doing good for MacDonald's PR but that's not really my primary concern.
First, a lot of your categories (all the ones about asking for it by name) are off-base - the McD's employee is supposed to proactively ask which toy is desired, and that slams home the "this is for boys, that is for girls" message before the customer even speaks on the matter.

Second, let's reverse the question. What harm does it do?

Third and to actually answer your question, it stops reinforcing the message that a child who wants the 'other' toy is somehow wrong or bad for it. This is a much greater good than I can hope to explain, and it is so precidely because this message is so heavily reinforced everywhere else. To someone who is non-gender-conforming, absolutely any interaction with gendered issues that doesn't hammer home the "wrong, bad, twisted, perverted" message can be a massive relief and a breath of fresh air. Yes, even if it's something as small as an interaction with customer service, and even if it's a child. I'm not sure I can convey the importance of this, because I can't really convey just how much anxiety, confusion, and hurt these messages can cause in the first place, but... to those on the receiving end, it's huge. In this context, saying "it's not really that big a deal" is a strong argument in favour: If it doesn't matter to outsiders, but is a large plus for the affected, why not do it?

What I'm saying is that a far far greater amount of good can be done by using this event as an opportunity to discuss the issues raised.  Noone gains their understanding of gender issues from MacDonald's but, as a visit is a special event, using it to tie in to a lesson makes the lesson memorable.
That's the thing. Progressive stances taken by companies like these? They spark important discussions and examinations of the way we, as a society, handle these issues, and they help move things in the right direction more than any individual could hope to. You seem to think that this move is bad because it may stop smaller-scale discussion, but... well, not doing more harm and maybe sparking wider-scale discussion is clearly beneficial over continuing to put forth a harmful message and maybe sparking some small-scale discussions - discussions that are unlikely to occur if parents aren't already teaching their kids about gender, society, and their interaction with these things.

Offline Kythia

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 03:57:17 PM »
First, a lot of your categories (all the ones about asking for it by name) are off-base - the McD's employee is supposed to proactively ask which toy is desired, and that slams home the "this is for boys, that is for girls" message before the customer even speaks on the matter.

I'm not sure the notice supports it but its very much a side issue anyway.  The point is, this makes a difference to incredibly few people.  But sure

Quote
Second, let's reverse the question. What harm does it do?

Meh.  I kinda want more than "Holy shit!  This doesn't actually cause any harm!" before I start congratulating companies for their policies.  Call me old fashioned but in order to be worth something it has to have some benefits.

Quote
Third and to actually answer your question, it stops reinforcing the message that a child who wants the 'other' toy is somehow wrong or bad for it. This is a much greater good than I can hope to explain, and it is so precidely because this message is so heavily reinforced everywhere else. To someone who is non-gender-conforming, absolutely any interaction with gendered issues that doesn't hammer home the "wrong, bad, twisted, perverted" message can be a massive relief and a breath of fresh air. Yes, even if it's something as small as an interaction with customer service, and even if it's a child. I'm not sure I can convey the importance of this, because I can't really convey just how much anxiety, confusion, and hurt these messages can cause in the first place, but... to those on the receiving end, it's huge. In this context, saying "it's not really that big a deal" is a strong argument in favour: If it doesn't matter to outsiders, but is a large plus for the affected, why not do it?

McDonalds don't give the message that kids who want the other toy are wrong or bad.  Parents do.  The other kids do.  Advertising does.  Etc etc etc.  If you're eating enough happy meals to have your entire experience of gender shaped by them then you'll be dead of diabetes before you finish reading this paragraph.  Kids aren't stupid enough to not know which is which (I'm not entirely certain of the target age for happy meals, I must confess, but my belief is that they're aimed at quite young kids who don't even have a fixed understanding of gender yet).  Your argument seems to be that being validated by McDonalds, fucking McDonalds!, is a positive.  Seriously, we should be actively teaching kids not to be validated by McDonalds.

Quote
That's the thing. Progressive stances taken by companies like these? They spark important discussions and examinations of the way we, as a society, handle these issues, and they help move things in the right direction more than any individual could hope to. You seem to think that this move is bad because it may stop smaller-scale discussion, but... well, not doing more harm and maybe sparking wider-scale discussion is clearly beneficial over continuing to put forth a harmful message and maybe sparking some small-scale discussions - discussions that are unlikely to occur if parents aren't already teaching their kids about gender, society, and their interaction with these things.

Of course they don't (spark wide scale discussions).  E discusses these things anyway.  Anywhere you point to online that is discussing this discusses these things anyway.  The various websites, groups, etc. that are discussing this are already converted.  The groups that need to be converted aren't discussing this.  There's no...shit, whats the word...no expansion in the discussion.  The people already talking about it continue to, the people not doing continue to not.  This gesture sinks forgotten into the sea of other small scale gestures until Congress/Parliament/whatever pass laws that make this gesture redundant.  And they certainly don't do that based on discussions like ours, they do it based on large scale gestures that affect many many people. Shop X deciding to serve blacks didn't bring down racial discrimination.  Huge scale demonstrations that can't be ignored did.  The road to change isn't paved with many small steps, that's simply not the moral of history.

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 04:01:29 PM »
As I mentioned on the other thread, there's more here than simply 'boy toy' and 'girl toy'.  I'm going to quote an experience that another mother had at a fast food restaurant. 

Quote
I ordered a kids meal and was asked if I wanted a boy toy or a girl toy. I asked what they were and the cashier said "A boy toy or a girl toy". I asked what specifically they were, and she said either a Care Bear or a Tonka truck. I opted for the Tonka truck. A bit later on, we were in the eating area and my daughter was playing with her Tonka truck. The older gentleman who was walking the eating area and helping people approached our table and put a pink toy bag in front of my daughter and said something along the lines of "How did you end up with a boy toy? Here you go." I refused the toy and handed it back to him.

Note that at first the cashier basically blows off the parent's question, and then another employee assumes that the child has received the 'wrong' toy.

Now, the whole campaign to get McD's to change their behavior was actually started by a child (now a high-school junior).

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/04/21/mcdonald_s_and_me_my_fight_to_end_gendered_happy_meal_toys.html

Quote
In the most egregious instance, a McDonald’s employee asked a girl, “Would you like the girl's toy?” The girl responded, “No, could I have the boy's toy?” When the girl opened the container a moment later, she learned that notwithstanding her explicit request, a McDonald’s employee had given her the girl’s toy. This girl went back to the counter with the unopened toy and requested, “May I have a boy's toy, please?” The same McDonald’s employee replied, “There are only girl's toys.” We then sent an adult male into the store who immediately was given a boy’s toy.

In this instance, the child was not only told that her 'choice' didn't matter (by giving her the toy that she had explicitly refused), but then lied to.  As a parent, I can tell you that if you are going to give a child a choice, you have to be prepared for either option.  Don't give a choice if you're not prepared to honor that choice.  And you should give choices.  Children need to learn how to make choices.  It helps them in developing their sense of autonomy, and the ability to make important decisions later in life.

Offline EphiralTopic starter

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2014, 04:13:30 PM »
I'm not sure the notice supports it but its very much a side issue anyway.  The point is, this makes a difference to incredibly few people.  But sure
Whether or not the notice supports it, this is corporate policy (or was as of the last time any of my friends worked there).

McDonalds don't give the message that kids who want the other toy are wrong or bad.  Parents do.  The other kids do.  Advertising does.  Etc etc etc.  If you're eating enough happy meals to have your entire experience of gender shaped by them then you'll be dead of diabetes before you finish reading this paragraph.  Kids aren't stupid enough to not know which is which (I'm not entirely certain of the target age for happy meals, I must confess, but my belief is that they're aimed at quite young kids who don't even have a fixed understanding of gender yet).  Your argument seems to be that being validated by McDonalds, fucking McDonalds!, is a positive.  Seriously, we should be actively teaching kids not to be validated by McDonalds.
Society as a whole does, by spreading the message at every turn that X is for boys, Y is for girls, and never the twain shall meet. (Yes, I'm aware of the irony here.) McDonald's is, I admit, a small part of this, but it is a part. As for your contention that it is still not a positive because McDonald's... well, to use a deliberately hyperbolic example, if pretty much everyone I meet or interact with opens conversation by punching me in the face, then I don't care who the person who doesn't hit me is. What's important is that they're not hitting me. Honestly, you really think that actively continuing to promote harmful stereotypes is morally equal to... not pushing those stereotypes?

Of course they don't (spark wide scale discussions).  E discusses these things anyway.  Anywhere you point to online that is discussing this discusses these things anyway.  The various websites, groups, etc. that are discussing this are already converted.  The groups that need to be converted aren't discussing this.  There's no...shit, whats the word...no expansion in the discussion.  The people already talking about it continue to, the people not doing continue to not.  This gesture sinks forgotten into the sea of other small scale gestures until Congress/Parliament/whatever pass laws that make this gesture redundant.  And they certainly don't do that based on discussions like ours, they do it based on large scale gestures that affect many many people. Shop X deciding to serve blacks didn't bring down racial discrimination.  Huge scale demonstrations that can't be ignored did.  The road to change isn't paved with many small steps, that's simply not the moral of history.
So it's your position that social and moral stances taken by companies don't touch mainstream culture? I'll have to respectfully disagree there. Huge scale demonstrations might have ended institutionalized discrimination in the past, but cultural shifts are what made those demonstrations popular enough that they couldn't be ignored, and cultural shifts are what continues to eat away at non-institutionalized discrimination. Like it or not, McD's is part of the wider culture.

ETA: Thanks for the link, Oniya. If this is a corporate policy as the article states, it's one I plan to raise with my local branches.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 04:16:05 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Kythia

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2014, 04:27:18 PM »
Society as a whole does, by spreading the message at every turn that X is for boys, Y is for girls, and never the twain shall meet. (Yes, I'm aware of the irony here.) McDonald's is, I admit, a small part of this, but it is a part. As for your contention that it is still not a positive because McDonald's... well, to use a deliberately hyperbolic example, if pretty much everyone I meet or interact with opens conversation by punching me in the face, then I don't care who the person who doesn't hit me is. What's important is that they're not hitting me. Honestly, you really think that actively continuing to promote harmful stereotypes is morally equal to... not pushing those stereotypes?

But this is precisely my point.  You know that meeting someone=a punch to the face.  Sure as eggs is eggs.  That one solitary Scottish clown who doesn't punch you isn't going to change that lesson you've learnt.  You're not gonna revaluate your entire punched-in-the-face life lesson.  On the level of shifting expectations, it has no benefit.  That Scottish Clown and his hamburgling friend teaching you...shit, the metaphor's breaking down a little here ... teaching you how to duck?  I dunno.  McDonalds being used as an opportunity to raise awareness on the personal level though, that's a thing that benefits everyone and leads to reduced face punshing.


Quote
So it's your position that social and moral stances taken by companies don't touch mainstream culture? I'll have to respectfully disagree there. Huge scale demonstrations might have ended institutionalized discrimination in the past, but cultural shifts are what made those demonstrations popular enough that they couldn't be ignored, and cultural shifts are what continues to eat away at non-institutionalized discrimination. Like it or not, McD's is part of the wider culture.

So are gay rights finished now because of kraft and honey maid?  Have the boy scouts finished whatever they were doing because of Disney and intel?  You're stating that these things are eating away at the monolith but not providing any evidence of that beyond assertion.  What is the concrete difference that honey maid's ad has made?  What can I point to and say "Honey Maid did that".  I know what I can point to and say Stonewall did that, for example.  What have honey maid actually achieved beyond good PR?

Offline EphiralTopic starter

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2014, 04:34:34 PM »
But this is precisely my point.  You know that meeting someone=a punch to the face.  Sure as eggs is eggs.  That one solitary Scottish clown who doesn't punch you isn't going to change that lesson you've learnt.  You're not gonna revaluate your entire punched-in-the-face life lesson.  On the level of shifting expectations, it has no benefit.  That Scottish Clown and his hamburgling friend teaching you...shit, the metaphor's breaking down a little here ... teaching you how to duck?  I dunno.  McDonalds being used as an opportunity to raise awareness on the personal level though, that's a thing that benefits everyone and leads to reduced face punshing.
The good being done here isn't that he's teaching me a valuable lesson, it's that he's not punching me in the face. For that matter: How does continuing to punch people in the face lead to reduced face punching, as opposed to saying "We're not going to punch people in the face any more"? You claim I'm making unfounded assertions, but you're saying that X+1 < X.

So are gay rights finished now because of kraft and honey maid?  Have the boy scouts finished whatever they were doing because of Disney and intel?  You're stating that these things are eating away at the monolith but not providing any evidence of that beyond assertion.  What is the concrete difference that honey maid's ad has made?  What can I point to and say "Honey Maid did that".  I know what I can point to and say Stonewall did that, for example.  What have honey maid actually achieved beyond good PR?
Finished? No. Basically destroyed at least one noteworthy anti-gay lobbying group? Yes. On Intel and Disney: Well, the Boy Scouts of America did conveniently rescind their ban on gay members just after this shit started happening.

Either way, that wasn't the point of the links. The point of the links was to refute your assertion that the only places discussing this were the places that always discuss this stuff and have already taken sides - unless you'd like to say that's true of Reuter's.

That said... I'm ready to stop defending McDonald's on gender issues now.

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 04:52:06 PM »
For that matter: How does continuing to punch people in the face lead to reduced face punching, as opposed to saying "We're not going to punch people in the face any more"? You claim I'm making unfounded assertions, but you're saying that X+1 < X.

Well, this is where the analogy breaks down.  Because not everyone is being punched in the face, just a specific group.  My way instructs everyone about the dangers of, yanno, face punching. 

Quote
Finished? No. Basically destroyed at least one noteworthy anti-gay lobbying group? Yes. On Intel and Disney: Well, the Boy Scouts of America did conveniently rescind their ban on gay members just after this shit started happening.

Either way, that wasn't the point of the links. The point of the links was to refute your assertion that the only places discussing this were the places that always discuss this stuff and have already taken sides - unless you'd like to say that's true of Reuter's.

Reuter's the news agency?  Yeah, I'm pretty much gonna say Reuter's has always discussed social issues.  I strongly suspect we're talking at cross purposes here.  And regardless, I think we both know the other's position.  Unless you have anything more to add?

Offline EphiralTopic starter

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 04:59:37 PM »
Well, this is where the analogy breaks down.  Because not everyone is being punched in the face, just a specific group.  My way instructs everyone about the dangers of, yanno, face punching.
Except it doesn't; instead, it expects everyone to realise that there's something wrong with it independently.

Reuter's the news agency?  Yeah, I'm pretty much gonna say Reuter's has always discussed social issues.  I strongly suspect we're talking at cross purposes here.  And regardless, I think we both know the other's position.  Unless you have anything more to add?
I think you're being disingenuous here; your statement was that the groups discussing this have already converted, and that was a specific criterion I stated with respect to Reuter's.

I think the broader topic can be put to bed, though, as far as I'm concerned.

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 10:47:38 AM »
What good does this do?  Kids go to McDonald's, what, two or three times a year?  If that?

Not to drive-by post, but I wanted to bring this up. I don't have the numbers to back it up, but in the US, I'm willing to bet the average child goes to McD's more than that. McD's employees often have children, so there are the children that go to mom's work or whatever because mom gets a discount, plus stopping by McD's on the way to soccer/dance/football practice is kind of a thing. Fast food is awfully convenient for parents who don't want to cook.

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 11:25:03 AM »
Comic Alliance had something to say about gendered toys and the ASM2 movie tie-in.

http://comicsalliance.com/mcdonalds-happy-meals-the-amazing-spider-man-2-gendered-toys/

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2014, 02:28:20 AM »
Not to drive-by post, but I wanted to bring this up. I don't have the numbers to back it up, but in the US, I'm willing to bet the average child goes to McD's more than that. McD's employees often have children, so there are the children that go to mom's work or whatever because mom gets a discount, plus stopping by McD's on the way to soccer/dance/football practice is kind of a thing. Fast food is awfully convenient for parents who don't want to cook.
          Someone with access to large, paid subscription university journal databases could probably get more detailed data easier, but...  I tend to agree. 

          It's not only convenience (which is important), but also the impact of marketing in general upon children especially (thus the toys?), and the provision of recreation facilities by such major chains (McDonald's is particularly famous for it).  Some people might also think McDonald's is relatively cheap, which is not necessarily accurate -- at least, not unless you really can live on dollar meals personally -- but it could be among the factors as well.

          Here are just a few academic data points, trying to triangulate.  These are not studies on McDonald's alone (they include various other chains considered "fast food"), but they give hints about the prevalence of those trends and the overall frequency of fast-food consumption.

Baskin et al (2013) abstract: "Caregiver perceptions of the food marketing environment of African-American 3–11-year-olds: a qualitative study."  Public Health Nutrition Vol. 16, Iss. 12.
Quote from: Baskin et al abstract
Caregivers reported all aspects of the food marketing matrix as supporting unhealthy eating among African-American youth. Child preference for foods higher in fat and sugar, lower pricing of less healthy foods, limited access to healthier food retailers and targeted advertisements were particularly influential on the food selection, acquisition and consumption of children.

Larson et al (2013) abstract: "Secular Trends in Fast-Food Restaurant Use Among Adolescents and Maternal Caregivers From 1999 to 2010."  American Journal of Public Health Vol. 104, Iss. 5.
Quote from: Larson et al abstract
[Based on longitudinal Minneapolis-St. Paul surveys of both adolescent students and parents.]
The overall prevalence of frequent fast-food consumption, defined as 3 or more times per week, decreased from 1999 to 2010 among adolescents (1999: 25%; 2010: 19%; P < .001) and maternal caregivers (1999: 17%; 2010: 11%; P < .001), but sociodemographic disparities were apparent. For example, the prevalence of frequent fast-food consumption remained highest and did not significantly decrease among Black or Native American youths. The overall prevalence of frequent fast-food purchases for family meals did not significantly decrease; large decreases were observed only among Hispanic families (1999: 18%; 2010: 6%; P < .001).

        Finally, if you're up for some hard quantitative details...  Zagorsky (2014) -- unofficial draft (thank Google): "Is it Really Just the Poor Who Eat Fast Food?" The Impact of Income and Wealth on U.S. Consumption. 

         This paper version might be a draft or presentation guide --- I'm really not quite sure, as I just lifted this particular PDF via Google raid.  But I think it's fascinating, if you have the time to poke through it more.  It's one way to get figures on about how often, who, actually eats fast food.  Again, I would think there are others -- perhaps more focused ones -- around for those who have the academic databases or the time to search.  This is by an Ohio State professor known for large-sample survey work on food consumption.  It is a very detailed paper, drawing on Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Surveys (longitudinal data from 1992 to 2012).  It is not a study of children per se -- it is a study of baby boomers -- but I think one can get around that somewhat if you accept, there is a certain relationship between people "in general" eating fast food and eating as families.  I assume the kids you two are arguing about, are often going with their parents, who in turn were quite a few of the survey respondents.

Just for example...
Quote from: Zagorsky
[p.11]
The typical  young baby boomer ate fast food an average (mean) of 2.6 times in the 14 day period.
Eliminating the non-eaters and focusing just on young boomers who ever ate fast food, the
average rises to 3.6 times. Figure 4 shows the number of meals consumed at fast food
restaurants, broken down by income (cross-hatched columns) and wealth deciles (solid columns)
among all young boomers. The pattern is similar to figure 3. It shows relatively little variation
in eating fast food across the various income and wealth groups. The variation that does exist
reveals another inverted U shaped pattern with the poorest and richest eating the least (around
2.5 meals) and the middle class eating the most (around 3 meals).
(The graphs are not in the text body, but they are in an appendix to this version.  Fig. 4 is on p. 23, for example.)
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 02:40:21 AM by kylie »

Online Sethala

Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2014, 09:35:55 PM »
Back on the original topic...

Kythia, I agree that this won't do a substantial amount of good.  However, there's the whole "death of a thousand cuts" idea, where one small bad thing is nearly unnoticeable, but a thousand of them add up quickly, and if it's left unchecked, even the smallest thing can cause huge issues if repeated enough times.

This is kind of the opposite, where one small good thing happening won't make much of a difference, but when taken as part of a larger whole, of everyone doing the same thing, then yeah, there's going to be changes.  It may take years - heck, we may all be dead and buried before anything substantial actually happens - but it is a change that, I believe, is for the better.

On another note, there's the idea of precedence.  Companies are often very afraid to be the first one to do anything, but they're often very willing to follow in someone else's footsteps.  If this catches on, then it may not just be one restaurant that changes its policy, it could branch out to the entire company.  And then branch out to other fast-food restaurants.  And keep spreading to other places.  Or, it might just die off as a one-of thing, who knows.  But I think this is something to be celebrated as a victory -a tiny one, admittedly, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2014, 09:37:28 PM »
I've lurked this topic for a while now, and I'll give you a simple way to circumvent the whole gendered toys etc. with children.

Give them a choice. Simple. This is what McDonalds is doing, so good for them. When my family and I went out to get my daughter some new clothes the other day, we stopped in the isle separating boys' clothes from girls' and I stopped my daughter there, and showed her each, as a choice. She chose pink and frilly, over trucks and G.I. Joe. I told her that if there was anything at all she really liked, regardless of colors or design, she could show me, and we would have her try it on.

Needless to say, she chose girly things. But, this is neither bad or good, it is simply her feelings, her esthetic. I personally like pink too, as long as it's not frilly or poofy(I'm already quite poofy enough thank you :p).

I have been vacillating on the issue of gender equality and perception for quite sometime, in a personal bid to form a solid opinion, but there seem to be irrational extremes on both sides of the fence that make me sometimes wish to avoid the argument entirely.

While gender stereotypes can be harmful, most of them are around for a reason, even though most of those reasons have been irrelevant for a long time. Change takes time. Men and women are different, and we should not disparage or shame either for their differences. In my own daughter's case, I am unsure of how much of her esthetic towards girly things is influence via her surroundings, or if she is just naturally drawn to those things. I do have a day job, so I cannot see everything she experiences. Do I worry about it, as though her wearing pink is some shackle of female oppression? Absolutely not, because it's not. She made the choice to wear what she likes, and I embrace her fully for it, whether she is adherent to any stereotype or not, like it even matters at all.  ::)

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2014, 04:48:58 PM »
Coming over from the recently revived McDonalds thread. ((I say recently but it's been about 6 days so sue me...))
 
With the new Spiderman toys kinda shoving it our face how they really haven't changed anything here are my thoughts:
I'd never had issues getting the "boy" toy at mcdonald's so I never really saw the issue. Twenty times out of ten (yay exaggerations) I wanted the car or the pokemon toy or whatever "guy" toy they were rolling out. I actually would have liked the notebook if they had it in different colors but they don't. :(

Heck! If I wanted a specific toy when I was little I got it if they had it in stock!

Though looking back on it I do find it amusing how many "secretarial" items (notebooks, pens, etc) are marketed towards females more than males. Same with art supplies and such. This goes back to the old "Guys do math and science and girls do Literature and Artsy stuff" idea. While not true, it is a tried and true marketing method, though it's a shame that it's more socially acceptable for girls to want to play with action figures than guys to want to play with dolls.

And now I want a journal with flames on it with a college rule.

Keep in mind my thoughts following are for those who are Cis female or Male and prefer to present as so because going into Trans and non-binary adds more levels to this specific argument which I will not address because, while interlaced, I do not wish to offend anyone with any general statements meant towards Cis gendered people and my lack of experience outside of E with many people who identify as Trans, nonbinary or agendered.

I think the main issue as far as crossing the gender lines is concerned isn't usually from girls wanting male marketed items but boys wanting female marketed items. Many girls would not face scrutiny for wanting to play with more "masculine" toys. Guys on the other hand tend to face more scrutiny for playing with "feminine" toys. This has to do with what is considered feminine and what is considered masculine in my opinion. Feminine is considered soft and homey and what-not. Masculine is considered harder, stronger, active, etc. Females striving to become stronger and such is less looked down upon now a days but Males striving to be gentle loving and sensitive is still frowned upon. I think this is the main issue.

Offline Jusey1

Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2014, 11:43:07 PM »
Well. I wouldn't say it is an issue... Though I do find the "girl VS boy" thing rather bad but at the same time, it is a good economic move for most places these days.

Though am glad to see that some McDonalds will ask "which toy" instead of "boy or girl". For example, "My Little Pony or Transformer?" instead of "Boy or Girl?".

But like I said, not really an issue and shouldn't be something to worry about.

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2014, 06:53:48 PM »
But why isn't it an issue? Sexism still runs rampant in the US and other countries, not just third world countries. Part of it has to do with childhood and the gendering of toys. If a girl plays a sport, she's generally seen as butch barring a select few. How many jokes have we heard about softball and volleyball players and them being lesbians? Males who venture into gymnastics, cheerleading et cetera have been poked and prodded about their sexuality because of it, when sexuality (and the connotations associated with it such as effeminate males and "butch" females having to not be straight) has nothing to do with it.

A girl who wants to play with male based advertised toys is considered a "tom-boy". A boy who wants to play with dolls has it even worse as they tend to be ostracized. While we've made a small amount of break through with MLP having a male fanbase within it's target age group (not even considering bronies), there are still issues where girls are targeted with certain toys (such as Lego sets for girls) and boys are targeted heavily with toys based in violence and cars. And how ridiculous is it that all the "engineering" styled toys are in the "Boy's" section of stores or that the "Fashion, design, and art" toys are quartered away in the bright pink aisles?

I don't understand how it is non-issue when the advertising and views of adults around them could result in children getting teased and bullied because they're "Butch" or "Girly". Simply because they want to draw more than they want to build things or prefer story telling to blowing things up or vice versa.

((Going to once again disclaim that this is still on the gender binary and I'm sorry about that but I don't have the experiences to argue those aspects...))

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2014, 07:31:49 PM »
I don't understand how it is non-issue when the advertising and views of adults around them could result in children getting teased and bullied because they're "Butch" or "Girly". Simply because they want to draw more than they want to build things or prefer story telling to blowing things up or vice versa.

My belief is that people in general should stop worrying about what others think and make decisions for themselves.  Using the examples you've stated, why should an athletic woman or girl care if some idiot wants to view her as a "butch" or lesbian?  Is she living her life to please this person?  As sad as it is to see some kids killing themselves over such remarks, it reveals more about how we are failing as parents, and not instilling the level of self-esteem and self-confidence that we want them to have.

It is up to the parents (and teachers) to encourage their daughters to see all career options - including science and engineering.  Should we also start a campaign to make Snoop Dogg and Jay Z change their degrading lyrics about women?  Should we petition to have Miley Cyrus issue a statement saying that it is not positive for 11 and 12 year olds to be twerking?  Of course not, they are free to do whatever they would like.  It is up to parents and teachers to educate students and instill in them positive role models.

What is ultimately going to hurt us in the long run is this lack of good parenting.  Then again, many parents haven't even grown up themselves.

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2014, 08:02:24 PM »
I agree with you in theory Valthazar. In theory it all would be that easy. However, when in certain circles being a member of QUILTBAG is still considered an illness, it's no longer so harmless. Like it or not, parents still have control over what they'll allow their children to have, be it a doll or an action figure. Adults have this control over children and hearing that what you are doing is sick and/or wrong is detrimental. And other children pick up on this and perpetuate the cycle.

In theory, your idea works. In practice, an alarming amount of parents don't follow the idea that children should be able to follow their dreams without feeling like they are wrong/sick.

Also my focus was more on the male side anyways. As I tried to point out in my first post in this thread via personal experiences, Girls don't receive as much backlash as guys do for using the "wrong gendered" toy or what have you. Guys receive much more life threatening abuse from parents trying to beat them into a tougher man. While this has decreased, it still is happening and where I'm finding this whole system detrimental. If you'd seen my original post, you'd have seen where I never had those problems. Others have. And while the focus might be on bad parenting, these ideas are continued because society doesn't condemn it as negative yet.

As it pertains to responding to your post but not necessarily this topic....
Surprisingly, yes, I think that rap artists should stop degrading women in their music. It perpetuates the idea that women are bitches and sluts and that this is a negative thing versus being women capable of making their own decisions about their sexual preferences. Having them change their music now would be detrimental I think. Musical history with it's positives and negatives shouldn't be erased regardless of my feelings.

I also think that people should be educated on what twerking actually is (a traditional African dance every bit as sexually liberating as the Tango). If Miley wants to twerk, oh well. She is fully capable of doing so. The moment she starts degrading men I'll be more on board on getting her to change her behavior.

I believe about 30 years ago Dirty Dancing accentuated how certain dances were more sexual than socially acceptable at the time. And we've progressed to having more sexual liberties and our dancing has progressed. It's only because Twerking is not of European origins that it's shameful.

But this has more to do with race issues and sexual freedom issues than Gender issues in my opinion. Because while rap artists are decidedly sexist, it's more to do with the ideas around sex than around children's toys.

Offline Iniquitous

Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2014, 09:38:58 PM »
It's only because Twerking is not of European origins that it's shameful.

Wait.. what? Please tell me you did not bring race into this discussion.

As I was told by a friend - a male friend at that... when he sees someone twerking his first thought is "trashy". I am inclined to agree with him and I would have serious issue as a mother if my daughter went out and showed her ass in such a manner. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with race from my point of view and everything to do with what is classy.

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2014, 10:20:59 PM »
Wait.. what? Please tell me you did not bring race into this discussion.

As I was told by a friend - a male friend at that... when he sees someone twerking his first thought is "trashy". I am inclined to agree with him and I would have serious issue as a mother if my daughter went out and showed her ass in such a manner. It has absolutely NOTHING to do with race from my point of view and everything to do with what is classy.

I will reiterate why I put it in spoilers! It has no place in this discussion and shouldn't have been mentioned in the first place! I only mentioned it in direct response. I'll be happy to PM you with my reasons regarding that aspect if you'd like. But race, as I pointed out in the rest of the spoiled tag, has nothing to do with this discussion.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2014, 10:44:12 PM »
Also my focus was more on the male side anyways. As I tried to point out in my first post in this thread via personal experiences, Girls don't receive as much backlash as guys do for using the "wrong gendered" toy or what have you. Guys receive much more life threatening abuse from parents trying to beat them into a tougher man.

It's a cost/benefit thing.  Social roles are generally more rigid in some ways for men - and unlikely to change in the near future.  A parent has to make a choice as to whether to permit the child to "be himself" as it were, or train him to adopt behaviors and hobbies that will assist him when facing the realities of the world as a male or female adult.

Like I said in the original thread, purely my opinion, but I'm glad my dad actively encouraged me to "be a man," take up a sport, and take the initiative to start up conversations with girls, given that I was painfully shy as a kid.  I'm not suggesting that being shy is a desired quality of females, or even one that should be encouraged, but it is generally not seen as a 'cause for concern' by someone of a traditional, gendered mindset (as the real world currently is).  I'm glad he said what he did, because even today, men are expected to initiate.  Otherwise I would probably be sitting here having never had a date in my life, lol.  Not good looking enough to be hit on by women.  ;D

Just giving my opinion though, not saying one way or the other is always correct.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 10:49:20 PM by Valthazar »

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Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2014, 11:00:01 PM »
It's a cost/benefit thing.  Social roles are generally more rigid in some ways for men - and unlikely to change in the near future.  A parent has to make a choice as to whether to permit the child to "be himself" as it were, or train him to adopt behaviors and hobbies that will assist him when facing the realities of the world as a male or female adult.

Like I said in the original thread, purely my opinion, but I'm glad my dad actively encouraged me to "be a man," take up a sport, and take the initiative to start up conversations with girls, given that I was painfully shy as a kid.  I'm not suggesting that being shy is a desired quality of females, or even one that should be encouraged, but it is generally not seen as a 'cause for concern' by someone of a traditional, gendered mindset (as the real world currently is).  I'm glad he said what he did, because even today, men are expected to initiate.  Otherwise I would probably be sitting here having never had a date in my life, lol.  Not good looking enough to be hit on by women.  ;D

Just giving my opinion though, not saying one way or the other is always correct.

I understand that it is more practical. However, I think there are other ways to encourage children to be more proactive than just sports. Male dancers for instance are just as active and confident as Male Football players. Encouraging a child to take up something that will put him in a situation with other children is positive. Making it gender specific is less so.

Unfortunately my experiences are tainted by times where it has a negative effect on the child in question and extreme examples that aren't the norm. I'd rather the general mindset be more towards do what you like as a child than forced towards a gender role.

As it is, I believe that this discussion has run it's course on my end. A pleasure discussing with you Val as usual.

Offline Jusey1

Re: McDonald's, gendered toys, and societal perception.
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2014, 01:26:32 AM »
Also my focus was more on the male side anyways. As I tried to point out in my first post in this thread via personal experiences, Girls don't receive as much backlash as guys do for using the "wrong gendered" toy or what have you. Guys receive much more life threatening abuse from parents trying to beat them into a tougher man. While this has decreased, it still is happening and where I'm finding this whole system detrimental. If you'd seen my original post, you'd have seen where I never had those problems. Others have. And while the focus might be on bad parenting, these ideas are continued because society doesn't condemn it as negative yet.

This I can agree with... Especially from personal experience. Being a 20 years old male who watches "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" and even has MLP related items had given me such experiences and I did had a hard time with people.

However, Valthazar is more correct and his plan is actually the easiest to do. You know, about getting parents to teach their kids and help their kids to become who they wanna be (instead of forcing their kids into specific situations and allow the media to force them).

In the long run, this would actually end up fixing up the whole "Boy VS Girl" thing on it's own because most people may actually be grow up 'correctly' to allow them to be who they want to be and accept others cause of it. However, at the same time, this is really hard and almost impossible to do anyways...

Really, either way you look at it, there is no way getting around this nicely... It will be one heck of a "fight" and would require a lot of resources, work, etc to do so... And even at the end, there will still be people on the extreme end thinking the "Boy VS Girl" thing should stay/come back.

Also, the problems with the whole "Boy VS Girl" has the same originality as the problems that homosexuals have and many other different groups... It's call "the social norm". A social norm was established and grown into what it is today. At times, it gotten better but still it is pretty bad. Though things do look good and it does look like this social norm will be changing again but it still took so long to do and so much time... I mean, how long did it took for "the social norm of treating African Americans wrongly" changed and stopped? Quite a bit. Same goes for anything else which originated from the social norm...

Now as for "Boy VS Girl" thing being tied to the social norm... Do a little history on a company, like Hasbro, and watch how said company developed both it's girls and boys toys + shows over the years... How said stuff developed is what created the "Boy VS Girl" social norm which we have today... (At least with Hasbro's works. Same can be said for everything else really, though some stuff requires more history research to figure out).