Last week, TakePart reported on the campaign of junior high student, McKenna Pope, the 13-year-old New Jersey student who started an online petition asking Hasbro for a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven. This week, the toy company announced it was indeed changing its design, to offer a “less pink” version for both boys and girls, set to hit store shelves in 2013.
The iconic toy's next version will come in black, silver or blue, and will feature both boys and girls in its commercials.
Pope’s four-year-old brother, Gavyn was her inspiration; an aspiring chef, Gavyn didn’t want a toy marketed for girls when cooking was something both boys and girls liked to do. In her petition, titled “Everyone Can Cook,” Pope included a video, where she declared, “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.”
Pope’s campaign received almost 50,000 signatures, and the public support of chef Bobby Flay. Shortly thereafter, a multitude of other marquee names in the restaurant industry threw their support behind the cause.
According to the Associated Press, McKenna and her family met with toy company executives this week at Hasbro’s Vermont headquarters. It turns out the idea of a gender-neutral version had been in its design phase for the last 18 months. After seeing Pope’s viral campaign, Hasbro wanted the 8th grader and her family to see it first.
Pope told the AP, "I think that they really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do, and they really amazed me.” Her four-year-old brother, Gavyn, also characterized the redesign as “awesome.”
Her Change.org petition included Pope's reaction to the event. “I am so thankful to everyone who supported this campaign. With their new product Hasbro is affirming that everyone can cook and I can’t wait to share this gift with my little brother Gavyn".
According to The NY Daily News, Hasbro says the gender-neutral prototype will make its debut at the New York Toy Fair in February with an expected mass-market release for fall 2013.
Do you think it's time to stop attaching gender-specific colors to toys in general? Let us know what you think in the Comments.