Oh yes, two of my favorite companies have teamed up to insult us once again.
McDonalds, of course, is responsible for using crappy little toys to sell children high calorie meals. From greenwashing to promoting unattainable body images, Barbie’s crimes are too large to list! Now, both companies have really gone too far!
McDonald’s recent Happy Box image partners with Barbie in ways I can’t believe made it past anyone in either corporation. The image features an African-American girl dreaming of future careers. Each of the career Barbies in the bubble above is white! What kind of message does that send? Dream big little black girl…some day you will be white!
PhD in Parenting explains:
What does this Happy Meal Box say?
If you read the fine print on the box, it is about careers. If you just look at the box (which is what most people will do and is all that much of the Happy Meal eating public — i.e. not yet literate children — is capable of), you get a different message. You see a little girl of colour dreaming about being one of five almost identical blond, blue-eyed, unrealistically proportioned white women wearing a lot of sparkly pink. Even if you read the big, bold text without getting into the fine print, it is still telling this little girl that if she dreams really big, she can be just like Barbie.
A few years ago, Renee from Womanist Musings wrote about the damage that Barbie dolls do to girls, especially girls of colour:
For any little girl, a Barbie Doll is a complicated gift because it is so completely unrepresentative of female bodies. Barbie is one of the mothers of negative body images. This is compounded when the child in question is Black. When a Black girl is given a Black doll with Eurocentric features and straight hair, what does it teach her but that she is not beautiful. Because beauty is one of the few sites of female power this can be extremely damaging.