A 13-year-old New Jersey girl will meet with the team behind the Easy-Bake Oven to talk about making the iconic kitchen toy more appealing to young boys.
McKenna Pope, a Garfield eighth- grader, had previously petitioned Easy-Bake’s parent company Hasbro for a gender-neutral version. Her 4-year-old brother Gavyn loves cooking and wants to be a chef when he grows up, but he won’t touch an Easy-Bake.
She writes that one day she walked into her brother’s room and he was cooking tortillas on top of a light bulb. When she raised concerns about his safety and suggested he get an Easy-Bake, he refused based on its color scheme.
The version of the Easy-Bake Oven currently marketed sports floral appliques and a bright magenta and purple finish. Advertisements for it feature only girls decorating cookies with hearts and pink frosting, “because only girls play with it,” Gavyn says in a video McKenna posted to YouTube.
Gavyn’s now got the big-name backing of chefs Laurent Tourondel and Michael Lomanco, two culinary heavy-hitters.
McKenna took her Easy-Base campaign to Change.Org and created a petition that amassed more than 40,000 signatures.
“I want my brother to know that it's not ‘wrong’ for him to want to be a chef,” McKenna wrote on the page, “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.”
The original 1963 Kenner version of the stove was not as explicitly female in presentation, though it has always been marketed alongside “hideous gender stereotypes,” according to Lynn Peril in a 2010 Salon article.
In 2002, a version of the oven directed toward boys was introduced. Called the Queasy Bake Cookerator, the confections one baked with this version had names like “mud n’ crud cake” and “dip n’ drool dog bones.”
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