One girl’s quest for an appropriate Christmas gift has pushed major toy-maker Hasbro to make some adjustments to one of their most classic and loved products: the Easy Bake Oven.
13-year-old McKenna Pope of New Jersey launched an online petition in late November when her four year-old brother asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. She could only find pink and purple products — nothing that would be suitable for her a young boy with a passion for cooking. Pope set out to find a gender-neutral easy bake oven and made her statement on how the toy seemed to imply regressive societal structures for women.
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,” she wrote in her Change.org petition.
“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.”
Last Wednesday, the petition had garnered nearly 41,000 signatures, including the attention and support of some celebrity chefs, like Bobby Flay. After meeting with Hasbro executives in Rhode Island, Pope’s innocent request has proven how important the inversion of societal roles is to women of the next generation.
Starting in summer 2013, Hasbro will debut its unisex baking ovens that the company has been designing for nearly 18 months. The ovens, which feature a color change, will debut in February at the Toy Fair in New York.