Thanks to the heroic efforts of one very proactive 13-year old from New Jersey, the iconic Easy-Bake oven will be offered in a gender-neutral format starting next summer, says toymaker Hasbro.
When McKenna Pope’s four-year-old brother asked for an Easy-Bake oven for Christmas, she and her mother set about trying to buy one in Garfield, N.J. To their surprise, there were none available in primary colors–only pink or purple–and none featured boys on the packaging.
Pope, deciding that this gender discrimination was “detrimental to society”, uploaded a video to YouTube featuring her brother, Gavyn, and started a petition on Change.org asking for Hasbro to change their advertising approach and let little boys such as her brother know that “it’s not ‘wrong’ for him to want to be a chef:”
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.
After nearly 45,000 signatures and with the support of celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, Michael Lomonaco and Laurent Tourondel, Hasbro responded.
The company invited Pope and her family to their Rhode Island headquarters on Monday to show them their unisex designs for the iconic children’s toy. The new designs have apparently been in the works for 18 months, though the only change appears to be that it will be black, silver and blue rather than just purple with pink accents.
Pope and her brother are pleased it seems. “I think that they really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do, and they really amazed me,” the teen told the Associated Press.
Hasbro plans on unveiling their new gender-neutral design in February at the industry’s Toy Fair in New York City.