When 13-year old McKenna Pope went to buy her little brother an Easy Bake Oven, she was shocked to discover that the popular Hasbro toy only came in pink or purple. As kids these days are wont to do, Pope took to the internet to air her grievances about the perceived gender inequality in Hasbro’s color choice. After all, boys like to cook, too, and while Steven Spielberg may like the color purple, that’s not going to cut it with little boys, especially when the toy is sold in the “Cooking & Baking Games for Girls” section on the Hasbro site. The New Jersey teen made a video, featured above, and launched a petition on Change.org to get Hasbro to create a gender-neutral Easy Bake Oven.
In the petition Pope writes:
I have always been adamantly against anything that promotes specific roles in society for men and women, and having grown up with toys produced by the Hasbro corporation, it truly saddens me that such a successful business would resort to conforming to society’s views on what boys do and what girls do.
I want my brother to know that it’s not “wrong” for him to want to be a chef, that it’s okay to go against what society believes to be appropriate. There are, as a matter of fact, a multitude of very talented and successful male culinary geniuses, i.e. Emeril, Gordon Ramsey, etc. Unfortunately, Hasbro has made going against the societal norm that girls are the ones in the kitchen even more difficult.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition has more than 42,000 signatures. And now, celebrity chefs are heeding the call to arms. Iron Chef and Food Network mainstay Bobby Flay was the first chef to lend his support to the cause, and now others are jumping into the conversation. On Tuesday a video was posted on YouTube featuring several chefs, including Laurent Tourondel, Michael Lomonaco, and Manuel Trevino of Top Chef, who are all lending their support to Pope’s cause. In the video Lomonaco yells, “We signed your petition McKenna! You get Hasbro to change that packaging! Little boys and little girls can all be chefs!” as his kitchen staff cheers.
While Hasbro has yet to publicly comment on the petition, Pope’s mother, Erica Boscio, told the Associated Press that McKenna has been invited to meet with Hasbro executives Monday.