Dedicated to all those young boys who REALLY wanted an Easy Bake Oven
13-Year-Old Girl Asks Easy Bake Oven To End Sexist Ads: ‘I Want My Brother To Know That It’s Not Wrong’ To Cook
By Annie-Rose Strasser on Dec 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm
Thirteen year old Mckenna Pope’s little brother loves to cook. But when he watches the commercials for a product he’s hoping to get for Christmas — the Easy Bake Oven — he only sees girls playing with the toy. Because of that, he believes that “only girls play with it.”
Pope is hoping to change that perception with a video and a petition. She is asking Hasboro — maker of the Easy Bake Oven — to start putting boys in their commercials, so that her little brother sees it’s okay for boys to cook:
[quote][B]oys 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.
[quote]I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work. [...]
[quote]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.
Watch her appeal: (Video at link)
For a 13-year-old, Pope’s assessment is incredibly on-message with what experts understand about the link between confidence and gender stereotypes. Societal reinforcement of traditional gender roles can lead children to doubt their own ability, as evidenced by girls’ lack of confidence in mathematics based on their parents’ enforcement of gender stereotypes.
Pope’s petition has gathered over 18,000 signatures so far.
When I was in grade school, I had a male friend who always wanted an Easy Bake Oven but never received one. A female friend of ours had one which she never used so she brought it over to his house one day. My friend set out a sign in front of his house which read something like "Main Street Baking Co." and he spent the day making cakes in the basement while our female friend and I sold them out of his basement window and then he split the money when we were done. The neighbors, especially the little old ladies, loved it and we made a good deal of money.
What became of him, R7?
He turned out straight, is married to a very nice woman, has two daughters and works as a teacher/assistant principal. The cake business was just the start of his money-making. He often got myself and our other friend involved in all his schemes.
Fuck Easy-Bake; if he's any kind of cook by 13 he should be demanding his own Viking.
How old is the brother in question?
I ask because by the time I was eight, I was cooking full dinners for the family, and could bake and frost a real layer cake all by myself. No child old enough to read needs one of those toy ovens, when they've got a real kitchen to play with.
My parents came from farm stock, and believed in child labor
EVERYONE who likes to eat should learn how to cook. High school offered "Bachelor's Survival," where the hot guys learned how to cook and sew (an apron) and iron. Isn't it normal in many cultures that men cook?
R12, I was never taught to cook and still don't know how. Then again, I don't like to eat.
Hilarious that it's called "Bachelor's Survival". There seems to be more of a demand for basic life skills to be taught at schools again. About 7 years ago my old school started teaching plain old home ec to the guys as well.
I grew up on a farm. In the winter my dad wasin the kitchen making candy and in the summer my mom was driving a tractor. No gender roles in my family.
I wanted a toy stove a 6. They bought me one and I saw it through the wrapping paper in the pantry. I was so happy.
Come xmas they bring that box out and give it to my sister who was 2 at the time. I watched knowing it was a mistake waiting to claim my stove. My sister didn't even know what it was.
Then old gramps brings out a wood box he had built and painted burners on top telling me when I was tired of a stove he could repaint the top and it would be a toy box.
There was already some concern about my sexuality and they did buy that stove for me, then decided they might be able to stop me from becoming a queer and gave the stove to my sister.
I hate xmas and my sister
I came from a family where all the men cooked, my dad, grandpa, my uncle.
Both my parents started teaching me how to cook when I was about 9.
I loved creamed green beans and whenever mom asked us kids what we wanted for a vegetable I said creamed green beans. One day she said that not everyone liked their beans creamed and showed me how to make them myself. Same thing with mac and cheese.
When I was about 10 I asked my mom to iron a shirt for me. She said come on I will show you and that is the last time anyone ironed for me.
R15/16 wanted to come out in a kimono and we had quite a fight.
Good for her. This is part of what feminism is, for all the anti-feminists here.
I wanted an Easy Bake oven. I begged my mommy for one.
Then she slapped me across the room and dragged my sorry ass in front of the REAL stove and said " You wanna cook? Get cooking."
From then on I had to make all the meals for my family while my mother watched her stories on the TV.
I wish I never asked for that lousy Easy Bake Oven.
You now how it is when a famous older person dies and your reaction is, "I thought they already were dead?" I assumed Hasbro began a long time ago to include boys in their ads.
Seriously, I'm amazed by this.
What's worse? Denying your son the Easy Bake Oven he wants, or naming your daughter "McKenna?"
Well, it's about time! If it is okay for girls to play sports, how come boys can't have play ovens?
I ALWAYS wanted one. As a child, I enjoyed learning how to cook. Even though I helped in the kitchen, it was communicated to me that boys "shouldn't like doing that" It was implied that boys who cook are...different. Look, it was a very long time ago, before PC and changing gender roles and all.
I turned out Gay after all!!
PS and I'm glad I did hang out in the kitchen. I learned all those old European from the old country secret family recipes that nobody in the family bothered to learn.
R15, your sister was 2! Grow up!
R16, I love your mom.
I was 6 and not grown up. What does my sister being 2 have to do with anything?
Why is purple a color for girl's? Silly.
I had a terrible sweet tooth when I was a kid. At 8 years old, the thought of being able to make cake whenever I wanted to was so appealing, I asked for an Easy Bake Oven. My mom wouldn't get it for me. My brother and I were taught how to cook, so I couldn't understand. I kept telling her it was just an oven that used a light bulb. Eventually she told me that it was a toy for little girls. I told her that my friends who were boys liked cake as much as I did, so that made no sense. What boy wouldn't want a machine that could make cake so he could have it whenever he wanted? All my protests were unavailing. I usually got something if I kept at it but this was one I lost. As I got older I realized it was because she thought only little queerlings would want an Easy Bake Oven. Oh well, not getting it didn't stop me from being gay. Also, my friend Charlotte next door got one and it turned out they kind of sucked and had lots of problems, at least based on the one she got.
Purple is not a color just for girls.
Of course purple is not just for girls, but have any of you been in the 'girls' toy aisle? It's a fucking pink purple explosion, whereas the boys tend to all the primary colours. It's the same with clothing. I'm terrified of having a girl.
I once lived in an art deco house. The sink, tub and toilet were pink, like Mary Kay pink. I used black and shades of gray and metals in that bathroom. Not feminine at all, everyone loved it.
I bought one at a garage sale when I was about 10. (I remember it was blue so they used to make them in more gender neutral colors).
I bought it because I had a serious sweet tooth and didn't want to wait until someone told me I could have dessert.
I signed her petition and I hope you all did too.
When I was that age, I wanted a Snoopy Snow Cone machine. Is that considered a toy for girls only? I never got one.
On TV girls get all the good toys. Boys get nothing but BB guns.
You will shoot your eye out!
Why must we feminize little boys?
R30, I had that same pink bathroom. I was lucky because the tile (which was beautifully done) was all black. It was great fun to decorate.
The only thing I did not like was trying to keep soap and water spots off that black tile. Someone finally told me about the wonders of car wax.
Easy Bakes were a mess. Some of them worked okay, but a lot of them didn't. Don't know why any boy who asked for one would be turned down because it might make him gay. People are crazy superstitious.
It is not feminizing to teach them to cook. Men who can't cook are ridiculous, and women who can't pump gas or change are tire look foolish as well. Time to grow up.
Don't they have the queasy bake oven? Or did they discontinue that?
Enough with the fear of "feminization." Nothing terrible is going to happen to you because you learned how to cook.
R34, We're NOT feminizing little boys, we're literally saving their lives. Those that can cook eat far more nutritious meals and at a lower cost than those that rely on fast food or packaged/frozen garbage. Cooking also teaches important math and budgeting and organizational skills. Do you think only little girls need to learn that?
[quote] I told her that my friends who were boys liked cake as much as I did, so that made no sense. What boy wouldn't want a machine that could make cake so he could have it whenever he wanted?
And that right THERE is how entire lines of toys are invented and marketed. Hasbro really missed the boat on that one all those years ago (though they were the first ones who sold dolls to boys as "action figures").
Is there really a stigma about boys cooking in 2012?
I would think that with Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain, and all the other guys on channels like the Food Network, cooking would be a pretty hip thing for a boy to do these days.
I am glad I was raised to take care of myself.
Have always cooked for myself. When I was in the military I sewed on all my uniform patches when I made rank while most guys paid someone to do it.
Cooking is not the same as getting an Easy Bake Oven. That is clearly a girl's toy. If you cook on a real stove that's one thing but getting an impressionable young boy a toy like that will only lead to psychological conflicts later in life.
I mean if you're five year old wanted a gun would you get him one? No, you'd at least wait till he was older and was able to comprehend the responsibility of using a gun.
Same with gender specific toys
When we hand out the award for "gayest thread of 2012" this will probably win.
I don't know who warped you, R44, but they did a good job.
Not getting an impressionable young boy a toy like this for gender role reasons when he desperately wants one can lead to psychological conflicts later in life.
It's your parents saying to you that who you are is not acceptable. An early kick of homophobia and a form of parental rejection that a child will internalize even if they don't properly understand the why yet. A lot of guys on this thread seem to remember exactly how it feels to not get it and to know why they didn't get it.
A toy oven is a toy oven. Even if it's pink. Comparing it to a gun is just bizarre. Unless you can kill someone with an Easy Bake.
"Unless you can kill someone with an Easy Bake."
Look at R42's link. Apparently one can.
And, OF COURSE, it's a woman standing up for her little brother. Do you dipshits ever stand up for women?
Good thing he didn't ask for a doll.
"A sewing machine. A SEWING MACHINE!! AAAHHHH"
The Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry gives the little "pre-gay" Greg a sewing machine for his birthday is priceless. That child actor was hilarious. Pure unadulterated joy.
As was the Swastika pillow sham he made for Suzy.
I'd like to hope in Larry's fictional world little Greg grows up to win Project Runway.
R47, for reasons I couldn't begin to articulate, your post really touched me.
On a related note ... anyone remember the ads for the game MYSTERY DATE? Even as a precocious child, when the girls squealed in horror over the scruffy "dud", I was like, "Oh my, YES!
I had no Easy Bake Oven (my mom herself hates to cook), but I did have a Creepy Crawlers set - is that close enough?
[quote]but I did have a Creepy Crawlers set - is that close enough?
What the Creepy Crawler style product that made things you could eat? They were sort of like Gummi Bears. They tasted like crap, but you could eat them.
Creepy Crawlers were NOT edible! If I said I made them while watching WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? on the 4:30 movie on channel 7 in NYC, is THAT gay?
I do have fond memories of roasting marshmallows over the electric range as a kid!
[quote]Seriously, I'm amazed by this.
Are you retarded?
[quote]Seriously, I'm amazed by this.
Are you retarded?
[quote]Seriously, I'm amazed by this.
Are you retarded?
They'll probably start including boys in the advertising for toy ovens, but then go overboard trying to make them gender specific anyway, like camouflage-patterned stoves for boys, or shaped like tanks or something.
R44 - Actually, denying a child a "gender inappropriate" toy he really wants will do far more psychological damage to him than just fucking getting him one. You're essentially telling him that the way he is is wrong. That he's damaged somehow and not good enough. That he's a freak because of the things he likes. It's forcing him to deal with gender identity issues in a negative, fearful way. It's setting him up for a lifetime of insecurity, anxiety, depression, and self-consciousness.
Yes, I speak from personal experience.
And R47 is right on the money. I knew precisely why I didn't get the oven, or the dollhouse, or the doll, or the twirling baton. I asked for them out of pure innocence and because I liked them. But then my parents, well-meaning but misguided, forced me to deal with all kinds of identity shit that I was too young to understand or handle.
It turned birthday and Christmas gift-receiving into a routine of disappointment and anxiety. I eventually grew to understand that I would never get what I really wanted so I gave up asking for anything. And then pretended to like whatever "boy" toy they gave me instead (which was promptly pushed under the bed never to see the light of day again). Although I did like the chemistry set I got one year. My Mom didn't like the explosion I made in the basement or the giant stain on the floor that ate through the carpet, but whatever. Fair play.
On the positive side it forced me to be creative. Whatever I didn't get I made myself or figured out ways to get them. I didn't get a dollhouse, so I made one out of cardboard boxes. I even constructed the furniture and made little curtains and painted the whole thing with cheap acrylic craft paints. I didn't get the doll, so I saved my pennies until I had enough to secretly buy a little one that I could hide and no one would know about or fin.
It also made me realize that I needed to hide. Hide who I was and who and what I liked from those who should have been the most supportive. Even now, at the age of 46, I still don't really tell my family very much about myself. They know I'm gay and they know my partner but I share very little about my life with them.
So by all means, R44. Go ahead and screw your kids up. If they're smart they'll learn to eventually shut you out.
Get rid of the microwave-style Easy Bake oven. Who bakes a cake in the effin' microwave?
Year ago, I worked at a Madison Ave toy store. There was a well know feminist who would come in with her three-year-old son. Her son always went to the battery operated toy washing machine. When it came time for his birthday, she asked for recommendations. I suggested the washing machine as it was clearly his favorite toy in the store. Surprisingly, her response was that his father would never allow it! Funny how feminist principles go out the window when it comes to their own sons.
R62, I could have written that post myself. The doll I saved for was a Malibu Ken and I had my friend (Lindy) buy it for me because I was too afraid of what the sales girl would think.
If you give a chimp a gun, it'll shoot someone eventually. If you give a boy a girl's toy he'll eventually turn to other girly things
And if you give a moron a computer, he can type something idiotic on datalounge.
R67 - Please don't have children. Please don't even go near a child.
Boys or men cooking is essential, the oven should be marketed accordingly.
That being said, even I as a gay man loathe it when young boys act effeminately - for their own good they should man-up.
[quote]for their own good they should man-up.
For your good, you mean.
A lot of gay males can't conform to gender stereotypes, it isn't their nature, and you loathing them for it does make you a bigoted tool indeed.
And for the record, I did not turn out particularly girly or effeminate. I am a fairly normal-looking, acting man. But I still love to create and cook and so on.
Why was was my use of the e.f.f.e.m.i.n.a.t.e translated into "[childish epithet posted by a bigoted tool]" ? It's a word that can be used in intelligent discourse.
[quote] It's a word that can be used in intelligent discourse.
Yes but there was a one-note troll going around using it as a put-down in countless threads, which lead to the word being banned.
I never wanted an Easy Bake oven, I just wanted the cups cakes which came out of it, but, there was a boy my age who lived down the street, Lionel, who did want one and said if I were to get him one, he would make me all the cupcakes I could eat. I never did get him one, but....
Thanks for proving the point.
Easy Bake ovens were for tootsie fruits.
Only tootsie fruits use phrases like "tootsie fruits".
Talk about smelling (and baking) cookies! Look at that kid.
Four-year-old Gavyn Boscio loves to cook and asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. But when his big sister went to buy one, she discovered to her disappointment that it comes only in girly pink and purple, with girls -- and only girls -- on the box and in the commercials.
So the eighth-grader from Garfield, N.J., started an online petition asking Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro to make the toy ovens in gender-neutral colors and feature boys on the package.
By Friday, 13-year-old McKenna Pope's petition had garnered more than 30,000 signatures in a little more than a week.
And celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who owned an Easy-Bake Oven as a boy, is among those weighing in on her side.
In a video McKenna made to accompany her petition on Change.org, Gavyn whips up a batch of cookies and tells his sister he wants a dinosaur and an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. When she asks him why there are no boys in the commercial for Easy-Bake Ovens, he explains: "Because only girls play with it."
"Obviously, the way they're marketing this product is influencing what he thinks and the way that he acts," McKenna said in an interview. She said her little brother would probably be OK playing with a purple-and-pink oven by himself but would be too embarrassed to use it in front of his friends.
A spokesman for Hasbro did not return calls for comment.
In a letter McKenna received Monday, a Hasbro representative told her the company has featured boys on the packaging over the years and said a brother and sister were finalists for the Easy-Bake "Baker of the Year" award in 2009. Hasbro also pointed to Flay as an example of a chef who traced his career to an early experience with the Easy-Bake.
McKenna found the response disappointing.
"All they really told me is that boys play with their products. I already know boys do play with your products, so why are you only marketing them to girls?" she said. "I don't want them to make a boys' Easy-Bake Oven and girls' Easy-Bake Oven. I want them to make an Easy-Bake Oven for kids."
The debate over whether toy companies are reinforcing gender stereotypes -- pinks and princesses for girls, guns and gross things for boys -- seems to flare every year, particularly at Christmas, and has involved such things as Legos, toy microscopes and Barbie dolls. Now, it has extended to another one of the most beloved baby boomer toys, introduced in the 1960s.
Flay, 47, said he asked for an Easy-Bake for Christmas when he was about 5. He remembers it as a "putrid green" and recalls baking cakes with his mother from mixes. (The Easy-Bake Oven back then used a light bulb as a heating element; now it operates more like a real oven.) At the time, he said, the stereotype was that only women cooked, but a lot has changed since then.
"I cannot tell you how many young boys are my fans. And they want to grow up, and they want to cook," the Food Network star said.
Jim Silver, a toy expert and editor in chief of Timetoplaymag.com, played with an Easy-Bake himself as a kid and said boys still play with it, just as girls play with Hot Wheels cars. He said Hasbro is simply marketing to the audience most likely to buy the oven and there's nothing wrong with that.
About seven years ago, Hasbro had a cooking product aimed at boys, the Queasy Bake Cookerator, which included recipes for gross-sounding treats such as Dip n' Drool Dog Bones and Mud n' Crud Cake. "Sales failed miserably," Silver said.
Flay said he is not surprised it failed because Hasbro was trying to appeal to boys in a stereotypical way. Instead, he urged the toymaker to think about widening the market for the Easy-Bake.
"Why not actually create something that everybody knows the name, but also it comes in different colors so that boys, girls, doesn't matter, they can pick what color they want and it will make them a little more comfortable to buy it?" he said.
In the meantime, he said, Gavyn's family should buy him an Easy-Bake Oven anyway.
"Absolutely. If that's what he wants, why not get it for him? I mean, who cares what color it is?" he said.
I gotta agree with Flay - who cares what color it is? How did purple and pink come to be considered "girly" colors anyway? If a toy is manufactured in blue or black, no one asks for it to manufactured in pink so that girls will play with it, do they?
Usually on threads like these, someone points out that as recently as Edwardian times, blue was for girls, pink was for boys. It's only in the modern era that pink became assigned to girls, and such assignment is relatively exclusive to the Western world. There is nothing inherently "girly" about pink - it's just another artificial way to divide the sexes.
I baked with my sister's Easy-Bake Oven all the time. In the late 1960s they were greenish blue- the same color as Crest Toothpaste. I had no issue using every cake mix we could buy. Loved it.
I used to wail on boys who acted girly. Then I would come home, and put on my mom's pantyhose and bake in my sister's easy bake oven.
See there's no problem with me.
My sister had an Easy Bake back in 1978 and was very mad at me when I reenacted the camp scenes from the TV miniseries "Holocaust', using her Barbie and friends. Skipper in particular suffered.
Not sure where all the anti-feminist drivel on DL comes from, especially since feminism benefits men/boys (freeing them from rigid gender roles), not just females. I guess I'll just chalk it up to an unusually large number of dolts who post here.
You could go away then r86.
R86, actually feminist simply create different gender roles at best, and reinforce typical gender roles at worst. Most feminists despise anything that is culturally feminine and go out of there way to emphasize that those thing are of no value. As a friend of mine said back in the 70s, "Real feminism isn't seeing that the girls basket ball team gets the same funding as the boys basketball team. Real feminism is seeing that the Home Ec department gets the same funding as the boys basketball team."
When I was a kid, my twin and I played with tanka trucks, batman, and He-Man. But we also bought all the She-Ra figures (even peekablue,sweet bee, and the Crystal Castle) and many of the Barbie dolls.
Dad didn't like it when mom bought the barbie dolls, but she did it anyways.
However, when we came out in our early 20s it was mom that freaked out! I thought she knew already!
I have a cousin who is straight (married with kids) and super-Christian (pastor) and he slept with a baby doll until he was in middle school.
I played with dolls (loved fixing their hair), but I never played with baby dolls.
I'm a math professor now, so playing with dolls' hair didn't hurt my development at all.
[quote]Real feminism isn't seeing that the girls basket ball team gets the same funding as the boys basketball team. Real feminism is seeing that the Home Ec department gets the same funding as the boys basketball team.
I don't see why "real feminism" can't be BOTH of those things. I think that's a false dilemma.
If it were both those things, you would have a point. Unfortunately,the reality is that feminism is only one of those things. Have you ever heard a feminist say anything positive about Home Ec? It is all about getting women to be doctors, lawyers, or car mechanics.
I don't think there's only one school of feminist thought. Some women think that the best way to gain equal respect to men is to redefine femininity, and in the process they end up devaluing it. But it's certainly not only feminists who devalue femininity.
I consider myself a feminist and I see nothing wrong with Home Ec, as long as it's not assigned or restricted to girls only. One of the basic tenets of feminism is the belief that there be equal opportunities for males and females. There may not be a consensus on everything, and it may not be a perfect movement, but I'm not willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
As an old feminist, I have great respect for homemakers and the traditionally feminine arts, and totally understand why some women want nothing more than to be mothers and homemakers. Of course, when I was young that was ALL anyone expected me to be, even though personally, I'd rather die than be a housewife. But true feminism is about giving both women and men the right to the pursuit of happiness, unrestricted by gender roles.
Men are not the enemy, the bugaboo is partiarchal values which diminsh women and limit men. And one patriarchal value I particularly dislike is the devaluation of anything feminine; the contempt for "women's work", and the belief that if a real man washes a dish his dick will fall off.
The kid won. Unisex ovens are on the way:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Hasbro says it will soon reveal a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven after meeting with a New Jersey girl who started a campaign calling on the toy maker to make one that appeals to all kids.
McKenna Pope, 13, of Garfield, N.J., got more than 40,000 signatures on her online petition at Change.org and the support of celebrity chefs including Bobby Flay, who backed her call for Hasbro to make a gender-neutral oven and to include boys in the ads.
She was prompted to start the petition after shopping for an Easy-Bake as a Christmas present for her 4-year-old brother, Gavyn Boscio, and finding them only in purple and pink.
Hasbro invited McKenna and her family to its Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters to meet with its Easy-Bake team, and on Monday, they drove to Rhode Island from New Jersey. During the meeting, Hasbro executives showed off a prototype of their newest Easy-Bake: one that's black, silver and blue.
Hasbro has been working on the new color scheme and design for about 18 months, and decided to invite McKenna to see it and offer her thoughts, said John Frascotti, Hasbro's chief marketing officer.
McKenna said the company is doing everything she asked, 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," she said, adding that Gavyn thought the new design was "awesome."
Frascotti pointed out that the classic toy has had about a dozen different color schemes, from yellow to green to teal to silver, since first being introduced in 1963. The most recent iteration, introduced in 2011, is mostly purple with pink accents.
He said it's sold well since then, and that prompted the company to look for a way to update it and to broaden the consumer base by doing it in different colors.
"It's actually a product that's played with by both boys and girls," he said. "We will continue to offer the existing product too because it's so popular."
Hasbro plans to introduce the new color scheme at the industry's Toy Fair in New York in February. Frascotti said people are likely to see it on store shelves next summer.
As for McKenna's Christmas present for her brother, she said the TV show "Inside Edition" gave the family an Easy-Bake Oven after learning of her campaign. For Christmas, she said, she'll probably buy him some mixes to bake in it.
Thanks for the update, R94. First good news I've heard for a while.
As already posted, Hasbro has decided to release gender-neutral Easy Bake Ovens and to start featuring boys in their advertising. However, this video was made to support McKenna Pope and her brother's cause.
Any boy who wants an Easy Bake Oven is a sissy and if he gets his ass kicked, it's his own fault.
The same way if you take a fistful of hundred dollar bills and walk through the ghetto. Don't yell if you get robbed.