"Dad, do you ever wish I'd been a boy?"

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Stephen Gordon
"Dad, do you ever wish I'd been a boy?"

This McDonald's ad is in heavy rotation these days, and it's gotten beyond teeth-grinding annoying for me.

I simply can't get past the premise. Do you think that there's an alternate version in which an insecure boy asks his mom if she wanted a girl? Me neither.

I say this as the father of three boys, the youngest of whom was our last try at a girl. If that scene were played out in our family ("Mom, do you ever wish I'd been a boy?"), I'd see it as a devastating indictment about our failure as parents. But clearly, the notion of a girl asking for forgiveness for being a girl can be played as a heart-warming moment - and not as a desperate cry for help - makes some sort of sense for advertisers.


(I think this is the first time I've started a thread in the feminism forum.)

ETA: I just saw it again. I think I heard the boy call her "Sam". No wonder she's insecure! Gaaah!


Okay, but this one's funny.

Hadn't seen the first one. I had heard that McDonald's was going head to head with Tim Hortons for their coffee market, but I didn't know they'd care to compete with Starbucks. That ad, linking kids' hockey with your local coffee shop is, of course, Tim's theme, so I'm sure that was no accident.

I answered a telephone survey a few months ago which I deduced was commissioned by Tim Hortons. Of the chain fast-food coffee restaurants they'd asked me to identify (as places I'd patronized in the last week or month), I was asked which served the best coffee, I said "McDonald's". I thought I heard the interviewer gasp slightly, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, I'm guessing no good can come of this. (Remember McPizza?) They'll probably try to make their coffee better and it'll end up being worse. (Remember New Coke?) They've already changed their cups. And they still don't recycle.



Star Spangled C...

They (McDonalds) had a promotion a couple weeks ago where, for a week, they jsut gave their coffee away for free. So I couldn't pass it up. It was actually quite good. I find Starbucks way over-priced and generally pretentious. Of course, with McDonald's their coffee is really the only thing from that place I'd put into my body.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I am currently drinking a cup of espresso and milk from dark Indian fair trade beans, roasted by my local coffee shop and made on my stove in a stovetop espresso maker. The coffee I am drinking cost me about 15 cents and took less than ten minutes from cupboard to cup. There is no comparison of taste to Tim Hortons, Starbucks or McDonalds (shudder). Why would I buy a paper cup of dirty water for up to four dollars? It's lunacy.

Affordable, delicious, sustainable and ethical coffee is at your fingertips. Why compromise?


You should try Kenyan dark or A A, Catchfire.  It's fair trade.  And the body! 

There's any number of reasons to be offended by that McDonald's add.  What strikes me most viscerally right off the top is McDonald's thinking I, or anyone else, needs or even wants Mcparenting tips.



Every morning I have a cup or two of Nabob that I make with a farily cheap espresso machine I bought six-odd years ago.  Going by what I hear about coffee places, that machine has paid for itself about 1000 times over.


I'll go to Tim's if I'm on the road, but I never go either there or anywhere else when I'm at home.  I've never been to a Starbucks, and McDo...hell no.

remind remind's picture

Currently am drinking freshly ground dark roasted fair trade Arabica brewed in a stove top perk. ;)

As to the Mac ads. It is just another example of corporations playing politics, by using social conditioning mechanisms.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I hadn't seen the ad -- we tend to skip over them with the DVR.  It's a wretched ad, meant to be heartwarming but really, just cruel.  What bothered me most wasn't the dialogue, but the body language.  The longing look and obvious identification with the boys from the father, the perception of the little girl.  Awful.

It's interesting looking at this, for me.  My father was a pretty macho guy - not a hockey buff, more into the hunting and fishing and outdoorsmanship stuff.  I had no brothers, so I was often his companion when he went hunting or fishing or just out for a ramble.  I learned to shoot, "push bush", train and command a hunting dog, gut a fish, dress game and talk/argue politics and philosophy.  Dad used to laugh his butt off when I, a teeny little girl (I was smaller than average to begin with) could out-shoot or out-hike his friends' sons.  None of his friends brought their daughters.  I wondered, sometimes, if I'd had a brother whether things might have been different.  But it never would have occurred to me to wonder if he wished I had been male.  We were who we were.  I never felt he valued me less because I was female.  And he would never have given me some condescending, saccharine line about being "his little girl".

When Dad was dying, we talked a lot.  Maybe it was that we'd spent so much time together, but we could say anything to one another -   I asked him if he regretted not having a son.  He said no.  Having girls was a total kick, and he couldn't imagine having a child who was more like him than I was - at least, in personality. 

So it was weird, watching that ad, because in a superficial sense my relationship with my dad was similar, but there was none of the nasty stuff.  Sad that somebody out there thinks that saccharine could possibly make up for it.

G. Muffin

Would somebody mind explaining this ad to me?  I just don't get it.  (Other ads I don't understand:  Rosetta Stone (Italian) and "Think Indian" re diabetes).


You're supposed to get a warm fuzzy feeling thinking about parents and children, while associating those feelings with feces-laden hamburgers (hey, I just re-read Fast Food Nation this week).

Rexdale_Punjabi Rexdale_Punjabi's picture

idk me personally I aint a parent but bein the oldest n u know other shit Ive basically helped raise nuff kids n idk havin only a son or only a daughter would be dif. But I know I wouldnt feel that I wish they were dif. I know id proly be like I got a daughter what if I had  a son too or the other way. Im bein honest I wouldnt wanna lose that kid for something else Id want both I know that.

Star Spangled C...

Catchfire wrote:

 Why would I buy a paper cup of dirty water for up to four dollars? It's lunacy.

Affordable, delicious, sustainable and ethical coffee is at your fingertips. Why compromise?

Rarely does a day go by that I don't wonder that myself. we have a coffee machine right in the office where everyone can get good coffee for free yet half my co-workers trek 10 minutes (some several times a day) to buy coffee for 5 bucks. Don't get it.

Sean in Ottawa

Wow. Actually, I still get people asking me if I had regrets because both my children are daughters. Even now as they have become teenagers -- wonderful kind, intelligent, creative and everything you could possibly want from a child, once and a while some idiot asks the question. Mind blowing. Really.

The last person to ask had boys. Screwed up losers. Was the person thinking I'd want a trade? (Oh and that was a she as well-- go figure) Then you look at the calendar and wonder how human beings actually made it out of the caves.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Clearly the dad is not enlightened. If the dad was enlightened, he would have long ago made it abundantly clear to his daughter that the answer to the question would be a resounding NO, and his daughter would have no need to ask the question.


I thought the girl did a very good acting job in that commercial.


I think the most disturbing thing about that commerical was the dad's response.

The first two reasons he gives are weak. (things that he could just as easily do with boys).

Then the only reason he can come up with is that he's glad she's a girl, because otherwise he wouldn't have a little girl.


So, in other words, he couldn't really think of a single reason why he's glad she's a girl other than the fact she's a girl.

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

al-Qa'bong wrote:

I thought the girl did a very good acting job in that commercial.


I totally agree. The look on the girls face as the dad gives his non-answers says it all. She ain't buying it.


KeyStone wrote:

I think the most disturbing thing about that commerical was the dad's response.


I think the most disturbing part of the commercial is that they use a warm and fuzzy father-daughter conversation to convince people to buy feces-laden mass-murdered cattle and dead chicken flesh produced by exploited human labour.


Good point!

BTW, I loved that second ad that jas posted.  Hilarious!

But yeah, that father-daughter one really annoys me too.  It gets heavy play on YTV, so that's just fabulous.



But the good news is that those who advertise to children can't help themselves.  They create expectations that can't be met, and serve to create jaded adults who don't believe advertising.

I'd be more disturbed if they got together and decided to do something really scary, like confine themselves to the truth.