Mckenna Pope, from Garfield, New Jersey, has started a petition on Change.org to try and get toy makers Hasbro to feature boys on the packaging of their popular product, the Easy-Bake Oven. Mckenna also wants them to produce it in less gender-specific hues because at the moment, it only comes in pink and purple.
The reason Mckenna was moved to start this petition is for her little brother. He loves to cook so much that she even caught him trying to cook tortillas by placing them over his lamp’s light bulb!!! Apparently, he wants an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas, but the entire family was appalled when whilst looking for the product, they discovered that it was overtly targeted for girls.
“I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work…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 doesn’t want her younger brother to feel that it is “wrong” for him to want to grow up to be a chef or to enjoy cooking and she points to a number of infamous male celebrity chefs. However, she feels that the Hasbro Easy-Bake Oven is enforcing the societal opinion that only girls belong in the kitchen!
With her petition, Mckenna is hoping that Hasbro will see the error of their ways and put some boys on the packaging as well as offering the product in non gender specific colors. She said; “Please, sign this petition, help me in creating gender equality, and help the children of today become what they’re destined to be tomorrow.”
Gender stereotyping by toy manufacturers seems to be a bone of contention for many in recent times, there was the young girl who wrote to Hasbro (again) about the fact that there was only 5 female Guess Who! characters as opposed to the 19 male characters and received an indignant response. There was also the flyer sent in by a Sociological Images reader that showed the horrific differences between a girls’ and a boys’ laptop created by a Dublin store.
Luckily though, there are some people trying to do something about it, Stanford student Debbie Sterling was so disappointed that there weren’t any engineering toys targeted for girls that she used Kickstarter to fund the toy she designed, Goldieblox, to get girls interested in engineering. Swedish toy manufacturer Top Toy also recently released a Christmas catalogue that features gender roles reversed throughout. These are moves in the right direction, but clearly, especially in Mckenna’s case, there is still a long way to go!