A New Jersey eighth grader has taken toy manufacturer Hasbro to task for marketing its Easy-Bake Oven exclusively to girls. Her inspiration? The Christmas list of her 4-year-old brother Gavyn, an aspiring chef.
"My little brother has always loved cooking. Being in the kitchen is his favorite out of school activity, and he yearns to have the opportunity to cook on his own, or at least with limited help," McKenna Pope wrote last week as part of a petition on the website Change.org, which called on the company to include boys in its advertising materials. "When he asked Santa for his very own Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, produced by the Hasbro company, for me to help him be the cook he's always wanted to be, my parents and I were immediately convinced it was the truly perfect present."
But, Pope writes, she and her parents were in for a rude awakening when they went shopping for the toy.
"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," according to Pope. "I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work. ... 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. I want my brother to know that it's not "wrong" for him to want to be a chef."
As of Monday morning, Pope's petition had amassed more than 17,000 signatures.
Watch a video of McKenna interviewing Gavyn below: