what girls want

Hasbro Agrees to Easy-Bake Oven for Boys; Score One for Kid Activism

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 18, 2012 10:30 AM

What do girls want? For one big sister this holiday season, the right for her brother to have the same toys in a non-stereotypical design. Almost 45,000 signatures and a slew of international headlines later, McKenna Pope, the 13-year-old who started the online petition at Change.org to convince Hasbro to consider boys in their marketing and design scope for the Easy-Bake Oven, has scored a big win for gender equality.

McKenna and her family met with execs at Hasbro on Monday and came out all smiles. Execs at the Pawtucket, R.I., HQ of the toy manufacturer, as AP reports, were deighted to show her design prototypes for Easy-Bake ovens colored black, silver, or blue — ready for her brother and other boys eager to get Easy-Baking.

Pope’s quest had started when she wanted to get her four-year-old brother, Gavyn Boscio, an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. After all, he had shown a love for food prep by attempting to “cook on top of a lamp's light bulb” at their New Jersey home. Pope only found ovens in pink or purple and the boxes only featured girls in its marketing images.

So Pope went out and scored more than 40,000 signatures on a Change.org petition, the support of a slew of male celebrity chefs such as Bobby Flay, and a meeting with Hasbro, which now says it is going to unveil the new oven at the annual Toy Fair in New York this coming February. Consumers who are looking to purchase Easy-Bake ovens that aren’t pink and purple will be able to snag them next summer. Plus, the new ovens will come with a boy or two pictured on the box as well.

NPR reports that a Swedish toy company, Top Toy, has also recently gone all-out to try and market itself as a company concerned about gender equality after a “Swedish regulator” told the company “to stop advertising using stereotypes.” As a result, its current Christmas catalog features an image of boys at a pink ironing board and another picture of girls using a Nerf rifle (not an image anyone wants to see after the Connecticut school shooting last week).

"I think what they were worried about was causing gender identification needlessly — to turn off passive learning, passive expression down the road, even passive economic opportunity for girls or boys if they felt they couldn't do something because of societal norms," toy analyst Sean McGowan told NPR. Gavyn, meanwhile, will just be happy to get his hands on a non-girlish oven and get his chef's whites on.

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