McKenna Pope | News

NJ Teen Petitions Hasbro to Dump Gender-Specific Marketing for Easy Bake Ovens: VIDEO

Ezbake

McKenna Pope is a very grown-up eighth grader with a worthy goal. She wants Hasbro to feature boys in the packaging of its Easy Bake Oven. Writes Pope in a petition on Change.org:

My little brother has always loved cooking. Being in the kitchen is his favorite out of school activity, and he yearns to have the opportunity to cook on his own, or at least with limited help.

Imagine my surprise when I walked into his room to find him "cooking" tortillas by placing them on top of his lamp's light bulb! Obviously, this is not a very safe way for him to be a chef, so when he asked Santa for his very own Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, produced by the Hasbro company, for me to help him be the cook he's always wanted to be, my parents and I were immediately convinced it was the truly perfect present.

However, we soon found it quite appalling that boys are not featured in  packaging or promotional materials for Easy Bake Ovens -- this toy my brother's always dreamed about. And the oven comes in gender-specific hues: purple and pink.

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.

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.

CNN's Ashleigh Banfield interviewed Pope as well as her brother and mom.

Watch their interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

McKenna's video for her petition:

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the definition of a Soldier Girl. A young lass who puts herself on the front lines for others.

    WELL MET!

    this brightened me up :)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Dec 5, 2012 11:12:23 AM


  2. Damn, these people are tedious. Why does everything have to be a struggle for social justice? Why not just write a letter from a marketing perspective suggesting to Hasbro that their packaging and marketing are overlooking a significant (and growing) segment of the market? Because it's so much more fun to fight the power, fight the power, fight the power that be? Right?

    Posted by: Carrie Nation | Dec 5, 2012 11:20:22 AM


  3. I had an Easy Bake oven when I was a kid. It was not just for little girls. It was for everybody and that was near 30 years ago. We put cookie dough in that sucker all the time and got really warm cookie dough back out of it. Hasbro also has My Little Pony:Friendship is Magic. They also market to little girls as their target audience even though the main demographic that watches it are 18-35 males, including me and I'm a 36 year old brony!

    Posted by: Richard Harney | Dec 5, 2012 11:20:25 AM


  4. Very cool

    Posted by: Mikemike | Dec 5, 2012 11:21:02 AM


  5. When my son was little he wanted an "Easy Bakin' Oven" I joked that it was more popular than the easy sausage oven. I got it for him and he tore past any gender specific packaging. He still loves to cook. He's off at school and tells me all the time about his latest culinary inventions. Lately it's been curries and pumpkin soup. I'm glad I let him have that oven instead of thinking only girls play with those. BTW his sister never had any interest in the damn thing!

    Posted by: Beth | Dec 5, 2012 11:22:02 AM


  6. When my son was little he wanted an "Easy Bakin' Oven" I joked that it was more popular than the easy sausage oven. I got it for him and he tore past any gender specific packaging. He still loves to cook. He's off at school and tells me all the time about his latest culinary inventions. Lately it's been curries and pumpkin soup. I'm glad I let him have that oven instead of thinking only girls play with those. BTW his sister never had any interest in the damn thing!

    Posted by: Beth | Dec 5, 2012 11:22:07 AM


  7. Do they still make Suzie Homemaker ovens? I remember about 40 years ago making brownies with a girl friend in a sort of greenish-aqua oven. The color was gender-neutral enough, even if the name was not.

    Posted by: Jack Homemaker | Dec 5, 2012 11:25:57 AM


  8. Awesome. When I wad a kid, I longed for an easy bake oven, but due to the marketing I felt like it was shameful for me to even suggest wanting one. Now being an adult I dont care if something is pink or marketed to girls, if I want it ill buy it. But when you're a young boy it is vastly different, sadly.

    Posted by: Jay | Dec 5, 2012 11:29:32 AM


  9. It's very ridiculous marketing given that most professional cooks/chefs are men

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 5, 2012 11:37:36 AM


  10. When I was a little kid (about 4 years old), my mother sat me on the kitchen countertop with a hand mixer and a bowlful of cake batter and let me go to town. Of course, after I turned to ask her a question and lifted the live mixer blades out of the bowl and splatter us and the entire kitchen, ceiling to floor in cake batter, she thought perhaps that wasn't such a good idea. But it was a good laugh that we both still remember. Toys are great, but put your kid in the kitchen WITH you and let them see how it's REALLY done. I knew how to make a pretty decent omelette by age 8.

    If Hasbro had any sense whatsoever, they'd follow KitchenAid's lead and make those things in all sorts of colors. But, isn't it interesting commentary to think that we're concerned about gender roles for toys that "play" cook food when there are so many other children in the world that are lucky enough to have clean water and food to begin with. Sometimes little boys and girls that learn how to do things early also learn later how to make things better in life for others. Keep fighting the good fight, McKenna.

    Posted by: ESA | Dec 5, 2012 11:43:35 AM


  11. Here's an interesting collection of pics and comparisons between "girl toys" and "boy toys" from actual store advertisements. Things like laptops, telescopes, and microscopes branded for girls by making them pink and being FAR less functional (lower magnification etc).

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/hillaryreinsberg/16-ways-the-toy-industry-is-stuck-in-the-stone-age

    I think my favorite is My Cleaning Trolley ("For Girls Only") for little girls who want to grow up to be hotel maids. http://s3-ec.buzzfed.com/static/enhanced/webdr03/2012/11/29/12/enhanced-buzz-13691-1354211654-2.jpg

    I went to a birthday party for two kids not long ago, boy and girl cousins, and it was hard not to notice the disparity between the gifts. He got Jr Doctor kits and she got Little Miss Dress-Up type things, with costume jewelry and Fisher-Price f*ck-me pumps. Hey, it was the family who bought that stuff so you can't really blame the toy industry, but she's not even a particularly "girly" girl.

    Posted by: Caliban | Dec 5, 2012 11:46:09 AM


  12. It's interesting to note that the sexing of the easy bake oven is a recent invention. When I was a kid they were a gender neutral toy. I wonder why they decided to exclude half their market and promote sexism.

    Here's a picture of the easy-bake oven I had as a kid:

    http://preservationinpink.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/americas-kitchens-at-the-long-island-museum/

    Posted by: Sean McQuillan | Dec 5, 2012 11:52:29 AM


  13. The overwhelming majority of chefs are men. Only home cooking has been stereotyped as feminine; professional cooking never has. (So McKenna Pope is a little misinformed.) It actually makes more sense to market culinary toys to boys because 1) many of them (many more than girls) will grow up to be chefs and 2) few girls nowadays will grow up to be traditional housewives.

    Posted by: Kyle | Dec 5, 2012 12:07:40 PM


  14. Regardless of the merits, that petition was almost certainly NOT written by an 8th grader, no matter how precocious.

    Posted by: Jack | Dec 5, 2012 12:13:20 PM


  15. @Jack
    I was wondering that too. I believe that it was written by her, because of the tone. It doesnt read like a (more cynical) adult wrote it. Her use/combination of the words "truly perfect present" threw me off as sounding flowery. Also, her writing sounds like her speaking, so Im convinced she wrote it. Of course, its likely that a parent or teacher helped her edit - but thats what parents should be doing - helping their kids learn!

    Posted by: James | Dec 5, 2012 12:29:01 PM


  16. Everybody knows men can't cook. After all, how many of the "Iron Chefs" are men?? Oh wait...

    Posted by: Craig | Dec 5, 2012 12:38:45 PM


  17. Lovely girl, but it's never been "wrong" for men to be chefs. Men were perfectly happy to say to women, "You can do all the cooking at home, for free, but if you want a PAYING job as a cook well you'd better be a man!"
    Thankfully, we actually let women DO things now.
    That's why I hate the "well men invented and did all the cool stuff" argument, because yeah, women couldn't do anything professional because we wouldn't LET THEM for centuries.

    Posted by: Eric26 | Dec 5, 2012 1:30:31 PM


  18. There are toy ovens that make candy insects, animals etc which are marketed to boys.

    Posted by: Billy Crytical | Dec 5, 2012 4:36:01 PM


  19. What a cute little boy and a lucky little boy to have a big sister like McKenna.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 5, 2012 8:39:47 PM


  20. If the people at Hasbro marketing have any brains they will make an Easy Bake Oven targeted for boys and get that cute lively little boy to star in the ad. It could be a win/win. Hasbro makes a lot of money and McKenna's family won't have to worry about college tuition for their kids.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 5, 2012 9:46:33 PM


  21. And Jimmy Kimmel asks parents to have their sons demand their daughters make food for them.

    Posted by: Garst | Dec 6, 2012 1:45:50 AM


Post a comment







Trending


« «Jon Stewart on Why We're Going Over the Fiscal Cliff: VIDEO« «