Amazing Spider-man 2 may not have been a very good movie. In fact, it may have been a horrible movie, or one of the worst movies of all time, but Amazing Spider-man 2 has done something great, something that’s never been done before. Amazing Spider-man 2 is the first superhero movie in recent years (and maybe ever) that has Happy Meal toys for both girls and boys.
Up until very recently, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys have always been gendered; if you wanted a superhero toy, you would ask for the “boy toy” and if you wanted a Barbie or a My Little Pony toy, you would ask for the “girl toy”. There was an implied boundary, saying that there are toys that not only would be unwanted by the opposite gender, but would also be viewed as outright unallowed for them to have.
While some McDonald’s locations will still ask if you want a “boy toy” or a “girl toy” (although after a recent Slate article on the topic of the sexism that comes with gendering toys, McDonald’s has made moves to eradicate the practice), with this latest set of Happy Meal toys it has become less consequential. Amazing Spider-man 2 Happy Meal toys feature options for both boys and girls, ranging from action figures and notebooks to masks and bracelets.
This is a significant shift in the usual offerings made to young women, not only for Happy Meal toys, but also for toys in general. If girls are shown that there are superhero products being offered and branded specifically towards them, then they will feel it is more acceptable for them to like, want, and buy superhero toys and comics. Plus, with the influx of dynamic and powerful fan-favorite female characters in superhero movies (Catwoman, Peggy Carter, and Black Widow to name a few), it’s surprising that it has taken this long for a fast food chains to realize that girls like heroes just as much as boys.
While the toys still have implied gender roles and stereotypes (boys get blue and red action figures and girls get pink and purple headbands!), this is a huge step forward for McDonalds, the toy industry, and superheroes. Because girls can love superheroes too.