Surprise Inside! August 27, 2009 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Metafilter finally makes a difference. One of the books we contributed to is licensed as a set of toys in Burger King Kids Meals. Congrats Mothershock! Pretty cool but a little weird.
posted by Toekneesan to MetaFilter-Related at 4:54 PM (48 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Yeah nothing personal but the whole idea of gendered toys coming with your food sort of makes me bonkers. I mean toys coming with your food = already weird Put another way: I would like some dangerous space, please. Congrats Mothershock, I think.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:56 PM on August 27, 2009 [4 favorites]


The flip phone? The cuddly coupe? Or am I looking at the wrong page?

Someone help me out here? I'm struggling to see the relationship of those toys to anything linked here.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:00 PM on August 27, 2009


Oh, OK. If I turn flash on, I can see it. Ditto with the cool. Ditto with the weird.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:02 PM on August 27, 2009


Oooh I wonder if it's different in the UK? We see a set of toys loosely based on the Dangerous/Daring books that Mothershock wrote. What do you see?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:02 PM on August 27, 2009


but the whole idea of gendered toys coming with your food sort of makes me bonkers

It's ok, Burger King really isn't food.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:09 PM on August 27, 2009


I mean toys coming with your food = already weird

The Cracker Jack people would like a word with you.
posted by jonmc at 5:17 PM on August 27, 2009


Overthinking a plate of Burger King.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:21 PM on August 27, 2009


It's like Burger King copied what Burgerville has been doing for the last several years. My daughter gets a chicken strip or grilled cheese meal every once in a while there and she's gotten seeds that we grew into vegetables we later ate, she's gotten colorforms style sticker things celebrating national parks, etc.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:27 PM on August 27, 2009


I got my niece both the Dangerous Book and the Daring book. I figure, thus armed, she'll be able to get herself into and out of trouble, as the situation warrants.

Those BK toys look ass. Dangerous fossils? Daring watercolor?
posted by lekvar at 5:32 PM on August 27, 2009


Daring Watercolors? Really? I liked - and purchased - the book but this is honestly kind of ruining the spirit of the thing.
posted by GuyZero at 5:35 PM on August 27, 2009


I guess eating Burger King is kind of a daring move and living dangerously if you think about it. Don't even have to think to hard either.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:41 PM on August 27, 2009


No Dangerous toys for toddlers? Well, shit, I guess I'll take a Cozy Coupe.

At one time, it was the best-selling automobile in the US. And for a month or so one summer when I was a teenager, I worked at a Little Tikes plant in Ohio.
posted by box at 5:51 PM on August 27, 2009


To be fair, it's unlikely that mothershock's book's trademarked title was in her original contract as her intellectual property and thus she probably didn't get a vote on this. It's much more likely this is the work of her publisher's subsidiary rights division.

But it's also probable that she will see some benefit from this. Though I'm guessing it's just a thin layer of whipped cream on a mile high pie.

In other words, this seems like the work of lawyers and marketing departments, not an author. And I actually think it's probably pretty innocuous. That Dangerous and Daring fun™ is being licensed is probably a good thing, though decidedly odd. And this is exactly as I'd expect a company like Burger King to do it. Frankly I'd rather this sort of thing get slipped into every cartoon covered bag an over-worked parent surrenders into buying, in lieu of another Barbie or Disney Princes, or GI Joe or Transformer piece of crap.

So weird yes, but still, progress.

Besides, no BK Kids Meal premium will ever surpass the Golden Homer.
posted by Toekneesan at 6:08 PM on August 27, 2009


Kid eats toy. Sues everyone involved. Goodbye, Metafilter! ;_;
posted by Askiba at 6:58 PM on August 27, 2009


The Dangerous Lead-Painted Toys for Kids?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:58 PM on August 27, 2009


I can't disagree with Jessamyn on the gender-specificity. Hopefully some Big Book fatcat will clue in and combine both books into a single everykid volume soon enough.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:02 PM on August 27, 2009


Yeah, I just walked by my local BK the other night and took a photo of the kids meal sign for my blog. I planned to write about these gendered toys and why girls are given the safe word ("daring") while boys get "dangerous" and how the selection of toys doesn't even seem to mesh with or care what a kid's personal interests are.

In other words, snakes and space are cool. Aquatic animals are cool. Assigning toys and presuming what one's interests are based upon what's between one's legs - not cool.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:17 PM on August 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


What's with the quaint "Hey kids, this is advertising" signpost? Like... is it supposed to be an educational statement or a warning?
posted by CKmtl at 7:17 PM on August 27, 2009


For Boys: Mumbletypeg.
For Girls: The Li'l Marie Curie Chemistry set.
posted by boo_radley at 7:32 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Daring" watercolors? Really?
posted by rtha at 7:59 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter finally makes a difference.

Finally?
posted by headnsouth at 8:37 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hmm, yeah. I see what they did there.
posted by empyrean at 8:39 PM on August 27, 2009


Sarcasm?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:39 PM on August 27, 2009


If you stare at the sign long enough, the Burger King jumps out from behind and flips you off.
posted by tepidmonkey at 9:07 PM on August 27, 2009


Holy crap, the Golden Homer is completely awesome. I have to get me one of them.

On topic:
Sorry, but I find the books and the toys and the whole "gender based meals" idea all to be so outdated as to make my skin crawl. When you drive up to Burger King and order a kids meal, they ask you "is that for a boy or a girl?" every time. They have to, because asking if you want a boy or girl's toy (which is only mildly better) might get them in trouble. What is that all about? Personally, the first I heard about these books was when my mother in law bought it for my niece. Frankly, I lumped it right in with the Burger King stuff, so I guess this is fitting.

Congrats to the MeFite, though, this is probably a cool payday.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:15 PM on August 27, 2009


I was at McDonald's the other day (my wife is out of town) and bought a Lego car on impulse. The thing had three pieces to assemble. That's not the Lego I remember! There were more stickers in it than Lego pieces!
posted by ODiV at 9:50 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Back in the '80s, McDonalds Canada didn't have Happy Meals. Instead, we got a "Treat of the Week." I can still distinctly remember that exasperated, "I don't know what you're talking about, sir," in response to my father's drive thru order one time we drove to Florida.

That was the very moment that I realized I knew things Dad didn't; it also confirmed my suspicions that the commercials breaks scattered throughout Pee-Wee's Playhouse and Popples were an invaluable source of cross-cultural literacy.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:10 PM on August 27, 2009


""Daring" watercolors? Really?

To be fair, they're adding hue and tint to an outline of a dangling wang.
posted by klangklangston at 10:38 PM on August 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


"When you drive up to Burger King and order a kids meal, they ask you "is that for a boy or a girl?" every time."

In my utopic future, they ask "Boy, girl, or gender queer?" and gender queer gets both toys so everyone chooses it.
posted by klangklangston at 10:39 PM on August 27, 2009 [6 favorites]


Twins, boy and girl, four years old now; we gave 'em the same toys, showed 'em the same shows, read 'em the same books, took 'em to the same classes, and so on. My climbing-trees skinning-knees daughter ADORES PRINCESSES and my sweet, sensitive son ADORES TRAINS and there's nothing we can do to get my daughter interested in trains or my son interested in princesses. There might be something legitimate about gender-specific toys after all.

math is hard
posted by davejay at 12:41 AM on August 28, 2009


Just play it safe and get all kids, boys and girls, DINOSAUR TOYS. I've never known a child who didn't LOVE DINOSAURS at some point. They're the greatest. Not gender-specific in any way, merely awesome-specific.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:10 AM on August 28, 2009


In my utopic future, they ask "Boy, girl, or gender queer?" and gender queer gets both toys so everyone chooses it.

Gender Queer at Dairy Queen would be the title of my third novel, you know, if I knew what the fuck.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:59 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


That's it the third book in the series: The Fierce Book for Gender Queer Children

The BK toy sets could include a miniature bedazzler and claw hammer.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:16 AM on August 28, 2009 [7 favorites]


The only time I remember them doing the whole "boy or girl?" thing when I was still young enough for Happy Meals is when they would have Mattel toys and you had a choice of a Hot Wheels or a Barbie. Which I think is still a common choice? You'd think they'd score some points with their licensors, while also being not sexist and giving kids the best chance of getting a toy they like, and just say "Hot Wheels or Barbie?" Or whatever brand they were working with that month. But maybe the top priority is getting the customers through quickly.

The whole Dangerous/Daring book thing, if I'm understanding it correctly, is that it was a one-off book that was meant to be quaint and old-fashioned with the whole "for boys" thing, even though it was really great for anyone. Then it became so popular that one, they had reason to want to spin it off, and two, they had a high enough profile to catch flack for the "boys" thing. And thus the Daring Book for Girls, which inadvertently made the whole thing even more gendered. Because now it seems like a whole planned-out licensing enterprise designed to reinforce gender roles, which I guess it could be, I don't know, but that's not how it seemed to me as it was unfolding. Weird. Well, not that weird, unfortunately, but there it is anyway.

These toys are kind of stupid because they aren't gendered-enough to justify having two choices, especially if the reason they say "boy or girl" instead of "snake or watercolor" is to save time. They could save more time by just giving every kid the same toy. I always got the sense that they started the boy or girl thing because they wanted to work with toy giant Mattel but knew boys would not stand for a Barbie in their Happy Meal. There aren't that many toys other than Barbie that are gendered enough to justify the split, just in a practical sense. But it seems to have gotten carried away.
posted by lampoil at 5:36 AM on August 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


When my son was in daycare, every once in a while they'd have a trip to get lunch at McDonald's. And every single time I had to write a note re-iterating that it was ok by me if he wanted to get the "girl" toy. Dang, that boy just liked Barbie. (He is now a big hairy high school freshman who wants to be a plumber, and I miss those Barbie days!)

I am considering writing "The Geeky Book for Girls" which is the book I would have liked as a child. The Happy Meal can come with a Terry Pratchett action figure and a set of php function magnets.
posted by Biblio at 5:37 AM on August 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Maybe they should just give kids a stick. The "girls" can pretend it is a baby or pony. The "boys" can use it as a gun or truck. Then you can have follow-up accessory toys like Can and Mound of Dirt. For those parents that really want to shell out the big bucks for the holidays, they can get their kids the Broken Concrete Block Action Playset or Mud Puddle Adventureland (water not included). The name of the company could be Imagination Toys.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:22 AM on August 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know what? Daring is freakin awesome -- my daughter will spend hours poring over it and then rush out of her room with plans to build a trebuchet or orbital construction platform or something -- and if some kind of weird merchandising angle puts the book into more girls' hands then bring it!

"...is that it was a one-off book that was meant to be quaint and old-fashioned with the whole "for boys" thing, even though it was really great for anyone."

I thought the story was the other way 'round, but then my girl started reading this stuff before my boy did, so I might just be confusing my personal story with the publishing story of the books.

"I am considering writing "The Geeky Book for Girls" which is the book I would have liked as a child. The Happy Meal can come with a Terry Pratchett action figure and a set of php function magnets."

Let me know if you need collaborators or testers.
posted by majick at 6:30 AM on August 28, 2009


Yeah nothing personal but the whole idea of gendered toys coming with your food sort of makes me bonkers. I mean toys coming with your food = already weird Put another way: I would like some dangerous space, please. Congrats Mothershock, I think.

I think this would make HULK-MARG MAD.
posted by ignignokt at 7:16 AM on August 28, 2009


You know, there is a simple solution. When I take my daughter to a fast food joint and they ask if it's for a boy or a girl, we ask what the toys are. She usually takes the hot wheel over the barbie. I agree that labeling them boy or girl toys is silly, but it gives us a chance to talk about gender stereotypes and that is not a bad thing.
posted by shmurley at 7:27 AM on August 28, 2009


Does anyone else remember Steven Caney's Kids' America? That's what I had growing up, totally gender neutral, completely amazing. Taught me everything from basic tap dancing to household budgeting, and set it all in a bit of a historical perspective. Loved that book.

Also, the best run of Happy Meal toys ever was the Animaniacs era. Totally awesome set of strange little wheeled devices, all featuring some of the best new cartoon characters to come out since Bugs and Daffy were invented. I have a bunch of them scattered around the house as little totemic objects, actually.
posted by hippybear at 8:55 AM on August 28, 2009


You know, there is a simple solution. When I take my daughter to a fast food joint and they ask if it's for a boy or a girl, we ask what the toys are. She usually takes the hot wheel over the barbie. I agree that labeling them boy or girl toys is silly, but it gives us a chance to talk about gender stereotypes and that is not a bad thing.

Yes, this is how that works. Sometimes my girls would rather have tiny dolls than aliens, sometimes they wouldn't. The person behind the counter might ask me "boy or girl", but I don't present it that way to the kids, I just say "doll or alien?".

If we ever went to BK, which we never do (why? I don't know. When I hear the siren song of HFCS and grease it is almost always being sung by McDonald's), I think they'd be hard pressed to choose between the "boy" and "girl" toys.

We already have enough damn toy snakes in this house (long story involving a St. Patrick's Day party), so I'd try and steer them away from that. Plus, it kind of looks like one of those Japanese toy poops, doesn't it?
posted by padraigin at 9:16 AM on August 28, 2009


Dangerous definitely came out first, I know that much.
posted by lampoil at 10:23 AM on August 28, 2009


I was at McDonald's the other day (my wife is out of town) and bought a Lego car on impulse. The thing had three pieces to assemble. That's not the Lego I remember! There were more stickers in it than Lego pieces!

As the mother of two McDonald's-loving Lego freaks, I can tell you that whenever they do a "Lego" toy series--such as Lego Batman, or the cars--it's always something that resembles Lego without actually being Lego: Larger figures that don't come apart for the people, for instance. Simplified Lego, if you well. I was actually impressed that the car pieces seemed to have bumps and holes--how can I not know the technical Lego term?--that are sized to work with real Lego pieces.
posted by not that girl at 11:57 AM on August 28, 2009


not that girl: I was actually impressed that the car pieces seemed to have bumps and holes--how can I not know the technical Lego term?--that are sized to work with real Lego pieces.

The bumps are usually just called studs.
posted by paisley henosis at 1:40 PM on August 28, 2009


[cite]
posted by paisley henosis at 1:41 PM on August 28, 2009


Thanks, paisley henosis--especially for the cite. I wouldn't have believed you otherwise ;-)

(Wait, am I allowed to use a smiley in MetaTalk?

See, if I don't, I'm not sure paisley henosis will know I'm affectionally joshing and might start a flame war.

But what if it's like that "@paisley henosis" thing and contempt comes raining down on me?)

Fuck it. Smileys for everybody: ;-) :-) ;-) :-)
posted by not that girl at 1:49 PM on August 28, 2009


I note you have two types of smilieys there. Is one for girls, the other for boys?
posted by hippybear at 3:39 PM on August 28, 2009


Funny, just the other day I got three--THREE--happy meals for our two boys and girl. This was actually a pretty rare occasion as we're generally opposed to paying extra money for crappy toys and sugar water. Sometimes we'll have them share one toy.

But anyway, they asked "boy or girl?" and I knew that it was Lego cars or dolls, and let me tell you, our little 1.5 year old girl just loooves her cars, so three boys it was. Still felt vaguely subversive somehow, as if I'd be asked to prove the gender of my children.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 7:18 AM on August 29, 2009


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