Kids have a wide range of interests that are not cast in stone according to their gender. Even if overall more girls have been conditioned to choose something pink and passive and sparkly over something blue and active and connected to action-adventure characters, and typically boys are shamed or even bullied if they want something that's "for girls," McDonalds does not need to perpetuate that by making children feel shamed or wrong to ask for a toy that's not what they're supposed to want. For example, the current promotional toys are Transformers (cars, trucks or planes in darker primary colors that can be twisted around to make an action figure) or Green Lantern action figures for boys, and Squinkies (cute little big-eyed animals that don't do anything) and My Little Ponies (in pastel colors with combs that you use to brush their tails). I know plenty of little girls who would love the transformers and little boys who would love the ponies, and yet instead of just letting them be toys for any child who wants them, we make the child who is a little bit different from his or her peers feel even more isolated and "wrong" just because he or she would rather play with something other than what we've decided are the only toys that girls or boys should want.
McDonalds has a chance to have a very visible part in making it OK for girls and boys to choose whatever toy they want based on their interests and not on some stereotype of what all girls or all boys will like. All it takes is one small change: Would your child like the Transformer or the My Little Pony? Would your child like the Green Lantern figure or the Squinky? It won't cost McDonalds one single dime to implement this change, but it will make a huge difference in the lives of many little girls and boys who are already feeling like outsiders because they don't like what society - and McDonalds - is insisting that they're supposed to like.
Update: McDonalds has informed me that they already have a policy in place to ask which toy a child would like instead of asking if you want a girl's or a boy's toy, and assured me that their employees " have been specifically trained to ask customers which of the two toys offered that week they would like, and not whether they would like a "girl" toy or a "boy" toy." However, it's very clear that their policy is not being enforced at most McDonalds. Please take a moment to write to McDonalds at McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com and let them know your experiences - let them know that you are consistently being asked if your child wants a boy's toy or a girl's toy, or asked if the meal is for a girl or a boy, instead of simply being asked which toy your child would like to have.
So please, McDonalds, enforce your requirment that McDonald's employees ask which toy a child wants without calling it a girl's toy or boy's toy! It will made a world of difference for a lot of kids.