December 11 2012
Last week I wrote over at the Inkwell about the Grinch who stole the Easy Bake Oven. In case you haven’t heard, an eighth-grade girl named McKenna Pope has staged a protest against the all-time favorite toy oven in an effort to make it more “gender-neutral.”
Contrary to Pope’s suggestion, I suspect that Hasbro is not looking to stem the tide of gender equality or send the message to young girls that their place is in the kitchen. Instead, one can only assume that substantial market-based research, which has led to 11 different models of the oven, ranging from 1960s “avocado green” to a faux “stainless steel” version today, has told the producers that girls like to bake.
Now celebrity chef Bobby Flay is joining the protest, admitting that at the time that he owned an Easy Bake, “the stereotype was that only women cooked,” but that “a lot has changed since then.”
Indeed it has. In fact, men dominate in the culinary world and women are highly underrepresented as top chefs.
It’s true, as Pope claims, that there are no boys featured on the Easy Bake Oven box; but it’s worth pointing out that this is not because Hasbro views boys' role as removed from the kitchen. A recent trip to Target landed me in the toy aisle, where I found the Easy Bake Oven, right next to the Icee Slurpee machine and the Dairy Queen Blizzard makers, both of which featured boys on the box. Clearly there is a market for boys in the kitchen, but it takes the form of loud ice-shaving machines!
It’s terrible that young girls like Pope have been indoctrinated by the message of inequality advanced not only by women’s groups on the left, but even by our president. At some point we would be smart to teach young girls — and boys — that we are “equal but different.” Boys and girls will always have different strengths, aptitudes and interests.
And putting a boy on the box won’t actually change that.
Sabrina L. Schaeffer is executive director of the Independent Women’s Forum and mother of two girly girls and one rough-and-tumble boy.