Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Baby's First Gender Crisis

Via Comics Alliance

When I was about six, I was really into Micro Machines. I don't really remember why now, but I loved them. They perfectly complimented my Polly Pocket sets, as I remember. I have fond memories trying to cram my tiny little pink dolls into tiny little cars and racing them across tracks I'd made in the sandbox. It was good times.


Now one day as we were driving past McDonald's I saw that they had Micro Machines in their Happy Meals. And just like that, I was on a quest to get one. My mom didn't let us have much fast food, so it took a lot of whining and begging before she agreed to take me and my brother through the drive-through. I didn't even care about the burger and fries, I just ripped open the pink box and dug inside to get...


Not those, specifically, but close enough.

I remember looking over at my brother's red and blue box and getting upset when he pulled out his tiny little car. The way only little kids can get upset, you know? I still remember it. It comes from way down below, anger and panic glowing in the pit of your stomach until it explodes. I remember my mom being very cranky, because I'd gotten my stupid Happy Meal, why was I throwing a tantrum?

I was throwing a tantrum because looking back now, that was the first time in my life I realized that I was different from my brother. I wanted Micro Machines, but I'd gotten the Happy Meal "for girls", so I got a pink box and a plastic knock-off barbie. From that day on, I always told my mom I wanted the Happy Meal "for boys." And I still remember how conflicted I felt about that, because I wasn't a boy. I didn't want to be a boy. I was a girl. At six years old, that was the first time I had cause to consider that maybe I was doing "being a girl" wrong.

Considering all that came after, it's a very sour, painful memory.

That was about 1992, and for some reason I'd assumed things had changed by now. Department stores are doing away with the "pink aisle", little girls are going to see superhero movies in the theater, I'm discussion Batman with my little cousin.

But I know that somewhere out there, in 2014, twenty-two goddamn years after my first existential crisis, there's a little six-year-old girl who had her little heart set on a red and blue Spidey car, who ripped open her pink box, dug past the greasy burger and fries to dig up a hot pink snap purse. And I know that little girl is going to feel like she's not being a good girl.

And my heart breaks for that little girl.

I hope she throws a tantrum.

EDIT: apparently I got it all wrong! Imagine my relief when I found out that this is actually McDonald's tearing down the gender divide and empowering girls to have their own Spiderman toys that are different from boy Spiderman toys! 

There isn't a desk large enough for the headdesk that is in my soul right now.
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