That's is what a New Jersey 8th grader, McKenna Pope sees:
I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work. … 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.
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. … Help me in creating gender equality, and help the children of today become what they’re destined to be tomorrow.
She has a point. This toy oven doesn't look like the oven that's even used in the kitchen in anyone's house, let alone a professional kitchen. It looks like it's for turning out magical glitterbiscuits to be eaten by lavender unicorns who poop rainbows. Admittedly, I am a fan of wildly-colored kitchen implements, being of the DINKy homo neophilus gadget-loving breed--you can seriously get an espresso maker in any color you might want--but really? Defaulting to purple and pink? Why not stainless? And why aren't boys on the packaging?
The reason it gives me pause is because I'm seeing a metamorphosis backwards in gender roles and toy advertising. You all know about how awesome Legos are, right?
Well, here's Legos when I was a kid:
And seriously, there is more of that brand of sexism as girls get older, too.
Anyway, I think kids toys should be for kids, and not so gender stereotyped. And yes, that absolutely means boys should play with dolls if they like, and girls can definitely play with trucks and tools. I don't really get why this is a big deal. Grown men have children and feed and nurture them; grown women drive trucks and use tools where they work. Not knowing that is worse than childish. Thinking children can't figure it out is simply dumb. And restricting play based on gender stereotypes makes no sense if play is how kids figure out how the world works, whether it's how to bake cookies or how to make simple fireworks from a chemistry set. Or things like that.