This is, sadly, the fourth post in what’s become a series about McDonald’s and DC Comics’ poor/non-existent treatment of their female characters in their Happy Meal toy lines. Let’s start with a quick refresher.
In March 2011, McDonald’s first line of Young Justice toys featured no female characters at all, despite there being several ladies on the team:
Then in May 2011, their numerous Batman: The Brave and the Bold figures didn’t have any women either:
Then in April 2012, McDonald’s put out toys based on Green Lantern: The Animated Series, which also didn’t include a single female character:
And now they’re back at it. They have a new line of Young Justice figures comprised of skateboards featuring some of the cast of the show. Let’s see if there are any female characters this time:
Not a one. We have Robin, Batman, Superboy, Superman, Aqualad, and Kid Flash, and that’s it.
First off, they’re WAY behind. The show jumped ahead five years a while ago and became Young Justice: Invasion. Robin is Nightwing now, Aqualad is a secret bad guy, and Kid Flash is retired. Superboy looks about the same, but regardless, these are some very poorly-planned tie-ins. And it’s made even worse by the fact that the show isn’t even on the air right now. Well done, everyone.
Second, no ladies!! Young Justice has several great, starring female characters. Miss Martian, Artemis, Zatanna, Batgirl, Wonder Girl, Bumblebee… there are options, and most of them are on the show more than Batman and Superman are. But no. McDonald’s and DC Comics have shown yet again that they don’t think girls and superheroes go together.
They also clearly don’t think that girls want to get superhero toys either, since alongside the Young Justice toys there’s this very pink and purple line of Littlest Pet Shop toys:
The Young Justice line is for boys, and the Littlest Pet Shop line is for girls, because I guess it’s 1952 and that’s just how things roll.
This is a big problem. Dichotomous gender roles pigeonhole kids and teach them that it’s not okay to just be themselves and like what they like. They have to match these prescribed roles. I’m sure there’s lots of girls who’d want a Young Justice skateboard (my nieces sure would), and there’s lots of boys who’d prefer a cute animal from the Littlest Pet Shop, but two things happen:
a) Kids aren’t given the choice, seeing as they are assigned toys based on their gender.
b) If given the choice, kids are more likely to align themselves with their gender role when it’s presented to them so starkly, lest they be considered odd.
That’s just awful. Plus, teaching them these gender roles at such a young age colours their thinking for the rest of their lives. This stuff gets engrained. Women are homemakers and mothers and they love pink and adorable things. Men are big, strong breadwinners and they love sports and action. Now, none of those things are bad at all. It’s the idea that you’re SUPPOSED to fit a mould based solely on your gender that screws up a lot of people.
Anyway, McDonald’s may be delicious with their chicken nuggets and golden fries, but they’re awful when it comes to gender roles. And DC Comics isn’t much better. Give us some female characters next time, please. They exist, and people like them. Don’t pretend the show is all boys, for boys.