Teen Launches Campaign for Gender-Neutral Easy Bake Oven
Thirteen year-old McKenna Pope is fighting mad at Hasbro, and this little activist wants some positive changes now. The eighth grader, who hails from Garfield, New Jersey, has started a petition on Change.org asking Hasbro to make their Easy Bake Ovens more gender-neutral.
This desire for change was sparked by her four year-old brother, Gavyn, who was trying to cook a tortilla on top of a light bulb. McKenna felt the little guy needed an Easy Bake, the world’s most famous light bulb-based cooking device. The only problem is that the toy is “too cutesy” with its gender specific colors (pink and purple) and promotes negative gender stereotypes: women stay home and cook while the men work. The young activist says that she wants her baby brother to know that it’s a-okay for him to want to be a chef, but the toy is reinforcing negative ideas about boys cooking.
Alongside her petition, McKenna posted a video of her brother playing with cookie dough in the kitchen. The petition with its accompanying video have reached 15,000 signatures since it launched last Thursday, but so far Hasbro has yet to make an official response.
While Hasbro did have a “boy-friendly”version of the Easy Bake Oven called the Queasy Bake Cookerator, McKenna points out it conforms to the usual male stereotypes: ghouls, bugs, and other “gross” items that boys are supposed to want to play with.
Only time will tell if Hasbro will make their Easy Bake Oven, one of the oldest toys still in production, more gender neutral. On the bright side, youngsters like McKenna are becoming more aware of the negative gender stereotypes perpetuated by the media and are fighting to change them.