North Texas Daily

Gender neutral toys push for inclusion

Gender neutral toys push for inclusion

Gender neutral toys push for inclusion
March 11
12:00 2021

The honorific title of ‘mister’ will be dropped from Mr. Potato Head this upcoming fall, Hasbro said in a statement on Feb. 25. The goal of this change is to allow children an endless number of possibilities when it comes to creating their own family. The company stated that they are not getting rid of the iconic toy “Mr. Potato Head,” but merely expanding on the idea. This move has made a lot of buzz in the press and more importantly, the general public.

Some conservatives felt “woke” culture was attempting to cancel a toy that has been on shelves for over 70 years. Twitter reactions went from comedic to condemnation, and some theorizing that the company is making this move to up the price of the toy. Some Twitter users counter-argued conservatives by stating it was hypocritical to be offended by the change in gender of a plastic toy.

While Hasbro stated that Mr. Potato Head isn’t going anywhere, I can see how some fans feel like this shift is a departure of the toy they grew up with. Mr. Potato Head is the name of the toy itself and always has been, so this change is sudden and drastic. For many people, these toys are iconic and have played a key role in the story of their childhoods. After the period of adjustment sets in, people have to understand that Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are still available for sale. The change is only in the brand name.

So, is this a good move by Hasbro? When it comes to pushing for inclusion and representation of all genders, it’s a bold yet welcoming move. Potato Head isn’t the direct consequence of a “PC Brigade.” This is an effort of a toy brand changing to reflect the times. It’s important for adults and parents to realize that the world they grew up is completely different from the one children are growing up in now. Society is making an effort to correct mistakes from the past that were once normalized.

While it’s important for boys and girls to have role models, there are still people who feel like they don’t belong to a gender from a very young age. They have no one to look up to and like a scientific discovery, society has defined a word that so many people felt they were, but could never pinpoint what it was.

It is important to teach kids to be understanding of others, no matter what their difference is. Acceptance will bring empathy and understanding, characteristics which are not ingrained into society enough.

If one refuses to understand the concept of non-binary people or the inclusion of gender non-specific names or toys, then so be it. Both progressive and conservative sides can agree to disagree without feelings of resentment or the need to one up each other. We do a disservice to children of our society by not teaching them how to understand those with different backgrounds or ideas from ours.

Toys teach children how to interact with one another and it helps them to forge a social bond. It is a fun way of learning, and whether a toy is gendered in a specific way or not, it doesn’t remove its purpose, which is to entertain children. Kids aren’t going to care about the gender of a plastic toy, as the Potato Head’s only have a gender in name alone. Despite whether they are intended to cater to any gender identity, what we can take away from the name change is a move for tolerance and who doesn’t want to be part of a world where we aren’t afraid to talk about social issues that can have an affect on all different people?

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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