When some companies are called out for being small-minded or bigoted, they get even more small-minded and stupid. Others do the right thing. This week, Hasbro did the right thing. Earlier this month, McKenna Pope, a 13-year-old from New Jersey, started a petition against Hasbro for making the Easy Bake Oven only in girlish colors, as I wrote in a story about gender neutral toys last week. She wanted to buy her little brother the oven for Christmas but discovered that it only came in purple and pink, which she knew would turn him off. McKenna started a petition, which 30,000 people signed, and made this video for Change.org. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay joined the campaign, making the obvious point that baking is definitely not just for little girls anymore.
Last week Hasbro executives invited Pope and her family to the Easy Bake headquarters in New Jersey, where they unveiled a new prototype of a black, silver, and blue oven. The company is also doing everything Pope asked for in the video, including putting boys in the ads. “I think that they really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do, and they really amazed me,” Pope said, and added that her brother thought the new design was “awesome.” Apparently the toy has come in dozens of colors since 1963 (yellow, teal, brown) but lately the company has only been offering the pink and purple model.
Hasbro isn’t exactly going out on a limb here with that bachelor-pad color scheme. All they are doing is catching up to a reality, where women use power tools and men saute. (Anyone watched Top Chef lately?) In fact, if Pope’s household is anything like mine, she’ll be resentful of her little brother for taking over the kitchen by New Year’s.