A 13 year-old New Jersey girl, McKenna Pope, recently started a Change.org petition in order to appeal to Hasbro that their popular Easy Bake Oven toy should be more gender-neutral. Pope started the campaign because her little brother really wanted an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas, but not the purple colored oven that Hasbro currently makes, as it’s too girly. Pope’s heart was truly in the right place when she started this petition. I applaud any youngster who takes the time to actually take a stand for what they believe in, but the consumer pandemonium that has ensued due to this campaign is a bit wacky and ironically incredibly sexist, which obviously defeats the purpose of an anti-sexist campaign.
So far, Pope has gained more than 44,700 signatures for her online petition, along with the support of celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay – all of whom back Pope’s plea for a gender-neutral Easy Bake Oven in colors suitable for a boy or a girl who doesn’t like, “Girl colors.” Hasbro has met with Pope, telling her that a more boy-friendly Easy Bake Oven has been in the works for months, and starting in 2013, they’ll be selling an Easy-Bake Oven for boys in black and silver.
I agree with one part of this petition – the Easy Bake Oven ads and packaging really should be more gender-neutral. All of the recent Easy Bake packaging I’ve seen features girls only (as shown above) – which is too bad. As for the Easy Bake Oven color issue, I’m a bit discouraged by all the folks who signed this petition. The original petition notes that the oven is a, “Girls coloration of purple and pink [that] make it seem as though cooking is “girly”, which it is not by any means.” Many signers of the petition, along with folks around the web, have agreed with Pope, noting that Hasbro is terribly sexist for making their Easy Bake Oven in shades of purple – a color that apparently only girls are supposed to like. Following are some comments from around the web…
- “A good color is also white or grey. Cooking is not a gender-specific activity.“
- “Beige, black, white, green, yellow are all colors that both boys and girls would like.“
- “I have been looking for an easy bake oven that is not so “girly” for my 9 year old son who loves to cook. I would get him the one offered, however his big brothers would have a field day with a pink and purple oven!” NOTE: This parent should have a LONG talk with that older brother.
- “So sick of all the pink and “gender targeted” toys… wake up, Hasbro!“
- “Stop sending messages to young girls that set limits for years to come.“
- “Not every girl loves pink and purple!“
- “Boys can cook too!“
- “I agree primary colors should be used.“
- “My 4 year old son wants an easy bake oven for Christmas this year. Then my 8 year old brought to my attention that it only comes in pink. Add a blue/green option, or just make it red/yellow.“
- “Seeing a little girl decked out in pink and purple always perplexes me. Girls can’t necessarily be dissuaded from the Barbie Dreamhome Fantasy [but I wouldn't wear] pink and purple as a kid. I mean, I wasn’t silly.”
- “Featuring only feminine colors tends to support this bias against males cooking. Besides, not all girls like the traditionally feminine colors anyways.“
- “I hated pink and didn’t like playing with Barbie when I was a kid” (from a female petition signer).
- “We avoid the toy aisle that’s all pink and purple and full of the girls’ toys!“
- And my personal favorite, “My son isn’t gay. He doesn’t want the purple kitchen.” (WOW.)
Tons and tons of other comments mimic the ones above. Person after person has called out Hasbro for being sexist while simultaneously calling pink and/or purple a “girl color” or have noted that they’d for sure buy this for their son, but not in such a “girly color.” Wow. Just wow. Irony at its best.
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