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December 5 2012

The Grinch who Stole the Easy-Bake Oven

Sabrina Schaeffer

As the holidays approach there are a few favorite toys that will never go out of style. One of them is the old fashioned Easy-Bake Oven, which gives kids a chance to bake and decorate all sorts of tasty treats. But this year we have the grinch who stole the Easy Bake Oven.

I’ve written before about the attempt by radical feminists to limit girl’s imaginative play by protesting the “pink and pretty culture.”Most of us desire a healthy balance in our daughter’s lives. We want them to enjoy all-things “girly” and recognize that they can pursue anything – from sports to science – that boys can.  But for many feminists this balance is no longer enough, and a hysteria has erupted over anything targeted specifically at girls.

The newest craz(iness) comes from an eighth-grader McKenna Pope, who has no doubt drank the gender-neutral Kool-Aid from her feminist leaders. In a video appeal on Change.org, Pope petitions Hasbro, the creator of the generations-old Easy Bake Oven, to use boys in its marketing appeals.

Maybe this is where some basic economics would serve Pope well (that is when she actually gets to high school). No doubt over the decades – the Easy Bake Oven was introduced in 1963! – Hasbro has conducted some market research. And without seeing the reports, I’m pretty sure they learned one thing: girls like to bake!

I feel pretty confident in saying that Hasbro is not looking to fight the tide of gender equality, but that they know their target market. Of course, this doesn’t preclude boys from using the tiny little spatulas and helping frost the cupcakes – I know all my kids enjoy helping me in the kitchen.

And clearly we haven’t seen a shortage of men rise to top positions in the culinary world. (That is assuming rising-feminist Pope is concerned about our boys’ future.) In fact, perhaps our feminist friends should consider even more marketing to girls by Hasbro because women are highly underrepresented as top chefs.

It’s sad that the message of inequality advanced by feminists of the 1960s and 1970s persists today and that young girls like Pope continue to believe that they live in an unfair, patriarchal society. (Of course it’s hard not to when your president suggests that girls don’t have the same opportunities as boys.)  I’d encourage Pope to read some of IWF friend Christina Hoff Sommers’s work, which explores the reality that women and men are “equal but different.”

As a mother of two girls and one boy, I want to see all of my children have equal opportunities to learn and pursue anything they want. But I’m not blind to the fact that my son may not enjoy ballet as much as my daughters; or that my daughters may not gravitate to hockey like my son. And more importantly, I don’t want to deny them the interests or enjoyments or proclivities that come to them naturally, whether it’s baking or baseball.

The greatest gift we could give our daughters this holiday season is to let girls be girls. 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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