Fun For Everyone: Do We Need More Gender-Neutral Toys On The Market?

December 19, 2012  |  

Hasbro’s associate manager of publicity Pat Jarret standing with a new version of the Easy-Bake oven. AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

Hasbro, the company behind the Easy-Bake oven, has decided to implement a gender-neutral design, the outcome of a successful campaign launched by a 13-year-old New Jersey girl.

McKenna Pope had considered buying one of the toy ovens as a Christmas gift for her younger brother, Gavyn, but discovered that the only color options were purple and pink. He wanted one that looked like a dinosaur. She started a petition on Change.org — “Hasbro: Feature boys in the packaging of the Easy-Bake oven” — which has gotten more than 45,000 signatures. The campaign gained so much momentum, celebrity chefs like Food Network star Bobby Flay threw his support behind her.

Hasbro invited the entire Pope family to their headquarters in Pawtucket, R.I. on Monday to discuss the changes they have been working on over the last 18 months to the Easy-Bake oven line. John Frascotti, Hasbro’s chief marketing officer, showed the prototype of the Easy-Bake oven featuring a new design and new color schemes which will come in black, silver or blue to McKenna for her approval.

“They really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do, and they really amazed me,” she said, adding that her brother Gavyn thought the new design was “awesome.”

McKenna Pope and her brother Gavyn. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Frascotti tells USA Today that the toy has come in tons of colors since it was launched in 1963, and “solid sales” prompted the company to take steps to broaden the consumer base. Hasbro will unveil the new color scheme at the Industry’s Toy Fair in New York February 2013 to the public. It won’t be available to purchase until fall 2013.

“It’s actually a product that’s played with by both boys and girls,” Frascotti said. “We will continue to offer the existing (color scheme), too, because it’s so popular.”

So the question is whether there is this huge market for gender-neutral toys, like a black Easy-Bake oven. Would you let your son play with one?

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