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Monet Parhem has had enough with the influence that she says McDonald’s Happy Meal has over her daughter Maya. The California mom thinks McDonald’s toys that accompany its meals for children are so overwhelmingly tempting to her child that she is suing the fast food giant, with the help of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The Guardian quotes her saying, “I object to the fact that McDonald’s is getting into my kids’ heads without my permission and actually changing what my kids want to eat.”
Mom needs to buck up, according to an editorial from a rougher and tougher New York reader. An editorial in the NY Post argues the need to be responsible for our own deeds.
If it's proven that Parham is truly powerless to raise her children, perhaps she should lose them. Or perhaps McDonald's should settle by introducing a new menu item. Call it the Whiny Meal. It would come with a tool for adults - a rubber finger that can be used to point blame at anyone, everyone, but yourself.
But Happy Meals are addictive, counter points Libby Copeland in Slate magazine’s XX blog of female perspectives.
“The fight isn’t fair. If you line the parents up against McD’s, McD’s will almost always be victorious…as a nation we’re obsessed with the notion of personal responsibility, with assessing risk solely from the perspective of the individual’s role in the battle. To really understand fast food as a force you have to consider the prevalence of its restaurants (particularly in certain poorer neighborhoods) and the ubiquity of its message. You have to look at the issue from a public health perspective. To the extent that we restrict the advertising and sale of tobacco and alcohol products, particularly in relation to the young, we should be thinking about how we permit the mass dissemination of a message that promotes the consumption of really bad food, not to mention its sale.
Earlier this month, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled against a similar ban on fast food toys for tots. But California’s case of Parham v. McDonald’s Corp., CGC-10506178 (pdf, Complaint, California Superior Court, San Francisco County) is still pending.