(CNSNews.com) – A teenage girl is asking the toymaker Hasbro to make a non-gender-specific colored version of its iconic Easy-Bake Oven for her 4-year-old brother so she can “encourage his passion for cooking,” according to the liberal website Change.org, which allows people to launch online petitions.
Four-year-old Gavyn Pope asked for the oven for Christmas and his 13-year-old sister, McKenna Pope, was “disappointed that all the Easy-Bake Ovens were pink and purple with images of girls on the boxes,” states a press release issued by Change.org.
McKenna is asking Hasbro “to feature boys on their packaging materials and to make the oven available in non-gender specific colors to encourage her little brother to pursue his passion for cooking,” the press release states.
McKenna calls the Easy-Bake Oven in its current incarnation “hurtful.”
“I want my brother to know that he can grow up to be anything he wants -- including a successful chef,” McKenna said. “At home, my mom and step-dad share the cooking, and it’s hurtful that Hasbro’s marketing could make Gavyn think cooking is only for girls.”
“Is this really the message Hasbro wants to send to kids?” McKenna said.
At the website, McKenna Pope is quoted as saying, “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.”
“Unfortunately, Hasbro has made going against the societal norm that girls are the ones in the kitchen even more difficult,” says Pope. “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.”
The press release from Change.org states that a representative from Hasbro responded to McKenna’s concerns on Monday, Dec. 3.
“We can tell you that we have used images of both boys and girls on our product packaging over the years,” the representative said. “The 2009 Easy-Bake ‘Baker of the Year’ contest included a brother and sister duo who were both contestant finalists and each whipped up some delicious desserts.”
“You also might want to check out a book that is currently available, ‘The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet,’ by David Hoffman,” the representative said. “In this book, renowned chefs provide recipes for the EASY-BAKE Oven and some even trace their culinary careers to an early experience with the Easy-Back Oven, including Bobby Flay.”
McKenna has expressed “disappointment” to the response, according to Change.org.
More than 31,000 signatures have been collected so far, the press release states.