Big sister wants Easy Bake for her brother
So the eighth-grader from Garfield, N.J., started an online petition asking Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro to make the toy ovens in gender-neutral colors and feature boys on the package.
By Friday, 13-year-old McKenna Pope's petition had garnered more than 30,000 signatures in a little more than a week.
And celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who owned an Easy-Bake Oven as a boy, is among those weighing in on her side.
In a video McKenna made to accompany her petition on Change.org, Gavyn whips up a batch of cookies and tells his sister he wants a dinosaur and an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. When she asks him why there are no boys in the commercial for Easy-Bake Ovens, he explains: "Because only girls play with it."
"Obviously, the way they're marketing this product is influencing what he thinks and the way that he acts," McKenna said in an interview. She said her little brother would probably be OK playing with a purple-and-pink oven by himself but would be too embarrassed to use it in front of his friends.
McKenna contacted Hasbro, but found their response disappointing.
"All they really told me is that boys play with their products. I already know boys do play with your products, so why are you only marketing them to girls?" she said. "I don't want them to make a boys' Easy-Bake Oven and girls' Easy-Bake Oven. I want them to make an Easy-Bake Oven for kids."
The debate over whether toy companies are reinforcing gender stereotypes — pinks and princesses for girls, guns and gross things for boys — seems to flare every year, particularly at Christmas, and has involved such things as Legos, toy microscopes and Barbie dolls.
Flay, 47, said he asked for an Easy-Bake for Christmas when he was about 5. He remembers it as a "putrid green" and recalls baking cakes with his mother from mixes. (The Easy-Bake Oven back then used a light bulb as a heating element; now it operates more like a real oven.) At the time, he said, the stereotype was that only women cooked, but a lot has changed since then.
"I cannot tell you how many young boys are my fans. And they want to grow up, and they want to cook," the Food Network star said.
"Why not actually create something that everybody knows the name, but also it comes in different colors so that boys, girls, doesn't matter, they can pick what color they want and it will make them a little more comfortable to buy it?" he said.
Critical thinking challenge: Why are some colors for boys and some colors for girls? Is there a reason? If so, what is the reason?
Define these words: stereotype, baby boomer
- Posted on December 9, 2012