More than a dozen Michigan lawmakers support a resolution in the state’s House of Representatives pressuring fast-food chains like McDonald’s to eliminate “gender-classified” toys from their children’s meals.
State Rep. Leslie Love, D-Detroit, who introduced House Resolution No. 49 on Wednesday, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview that the purpose of her resolution is to stop fast-food chains from reinforcing gender stereotypes.
“I would visit fast-food restaurants and when you go through the drive-thru they always ask if you want a girl’s toy or a boy’s toy, which was really annoying. Just offer people a toy … and move on with it,” she said. “How do we get caught up in gender identity with a toy?”
“We’re telling them [children] in advance … that this toy equals a boy and this toy equals a girl,” Love said. “We’re setting up this prejudice in our children unconsciously, unknowingly. It has become so ingrained that this dysfunction is almost normal.”
The resolution states, “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.” Lawmakers even included a written example of how to offer the toy: “Would you like a Transformer or a My Little Pony?”
It goes on to list the negative effects of offering gender-codified fast-food toys—including damage to the imagination and aspirations of children—which it says “numerous studies have highlighted,” warning:
This is a significant issue 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.
“Boys are more likely to play with toys that develop spatial intelligence and reasoning than girls,” the resolution continues, citing a 2015 study by Association for Psychological Science. “These skills are especially important for success in academic and professional domains, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).”
But not everyone sees the issue as a legislative priority in the state: