Boy or girl toy? Michigan lawmakers fighting to eliminate gender-specified toys in kid’s meals

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This October 13, 2010 photo shows a McDonald’s Happy Meal complete with a “Star Wars” toy. (Photo credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

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LANSING, Mich. — Michigan lawmakers are fighting to eliminate gender-specified toys in kid’s meals.

The resolution was introduced in the Michigan House Wednesday urging food establishments to stop offering “girl” or “boy” toys in their kid’s meals, according to KWCH.

State representatives supporting the resolution reportedly want the establishments to instead offer customers a choice of toy, such as a Transformers toy or a My Little Pony toy.

The resolution argues that, despite recent studies citing harmful effects of these actions, many establishments still offer gender-classified complimentary toys.

The resolution reads in part,

“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 ‘girl toys’ are often stuffed animals and are usually in a pastel color scheme. 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. While some food establishments claim to have abandoned this practice, many stores in Michigan continue to offer gender-classified options to customers.”

The resolution also cites a 2015 study arguing that boys are “more  likely to play with toys that develop spatial intelligence and reasoning than girls” and that these skills are important for all children to excel academically and professionally.

The state representatives argue that customers should be offered the choice of toy and “urge food establishments and franchisees in Michigan to stop gender classification of toys offered in its kid’s meals; and be it further resolved, that copies of this resolution be transmitted to the CEO of the boards of directors of the major fast food chains in Michigan.”

***Read Michigan House Resolution No. 429 in its entirety, here.***

However, according to FOX News, this debate is not a new issue.  It allegedly began in 2008 in Connecticut when a girl questioned McDonald’s about the policy of receiving a “girl” toy versus a “boy” toy with her happy meal.  Then, in 2016, an online petition on the same topic reportedly made national headlines.

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