One teen's crusade to make the Easy-Bake Oven boy-friendly is totally pointless

Not too long ago, my son Santiago was walking around with a sparkly, purple toy purse. He had put a bunch of his cars and an old cell phone in there and when my mom saw him, she was livid. "Boys don't play with purses, Santiago," she said. And he looked at her like she had lost her mind, but he obliged. I didn't even get involved because what's the sense in trying to make my mom understand that none of that matters. As soon as my mom left, Santiago went to get the purple purse and he continued playing with it.

While I could care less if the toys my kids play with are supposed to be for boy or for girls, I honestly don't see the point in having to go the gender-neutral route when it comes to marketing--unless you live your life is ruled by ads. That's why I find the petition by a 13-year-old girl from New Jersey for the toy manufacturer Hasbro to make its Easy-Bake Oven more boy-friendly to be completely unnecessary.

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 I know this is going to make me sound like the most politically incorrect mom in the country, but it doesn't change how I feel.

Mckenna Pope has started an online petition on Change.org aksing Hasbro to change its ads so that her 4-year-old brother can feel comfortable asking for the toy he so desperately wants for Christmas. From her petition: 

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.

So we're perpetuating the belief that purple and pink are girl-only colors? I'm confused...

Truth is that if Santiago, who is 3 years old and loves to cook too, wanted the Easy-Bake Oven, I would get it for him regardless of its color or the images featured on its packaging. At the preschool he attends--just like at home--my son has free will to play with whatever toy he desires. I've seen him playing with baby dolls just as well as he plays with dinosaurs and trucks. What I'm saying is that he could care less what the toy company--or society, for that matter--says he should be playing with.

My son knows it's okay for boys to cook because he sees his dad do it all the time. At the end of the day, leading by example is much more important because kids learn by imitating. So let's petition for more parents to get rid of gender sterotypes in their own homes because unless that changes, no amount of gender-neutral marketing will make a real difference. 

Image via Michael Bentley/flickr

Topics: toys  on parenting  how to parent