Until this week, the makers of the Easy-Bake oven only marketed to girls by using pink and purple color schemes and featuring only girls in advertising. Now, a 13-year-old's plea to make an oven she could give to her brother has made the company rethink their gender bias.
Why this Student Spoke Out
When McKenna's four-year-old brother Gavyn asked for an Easy-Bake oven for Christmas, she could not find any model that was gender neutral. She created a petition that protested the way the product perpetuated stereotypes about women and men. In response, Hasbro announced they will issue a black and silver model. They also invited McKenna to Hasbro headquarters to see the new model.
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.
McKenna (right) with her brothers Matthew and Gavyn and mother Erica (right to left) at Hasbro headquarters in Pawtucket, RI.
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.
Please join me to ask Hasbro to feature males on the packaging and in promotional materials for the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, as well as offering the product in different, non gender specific colors, i.e. primary colors. Please, sign this petition, help me in creating gender equality, and help the children of today become what they're destined to be tomorrow.
McKenna is an eighth grader from Garfield, NJ. If you would like to sign her petition, you can find it here.