Tis fast approaching the season for rampant consumerism and the purchase of more dollies and toy cars than one home can possibly have room for.
It's also the season for precocious kiddies to lecture us on gender stereotyping and challenge toymakers on how they market their wares.
Step forward McKenna Pope, a 13-year-old who is petitioning Hasbro to put an image of a boy on its Easy Bake Oven box.
McKenna, who was inspired by her little brother's love of cooking, has so far collected more than 27,000 signatures on a Change.org petition.
In her pitch she describes how her family decided to buy four-year-old Gavin an Easy Bake Oven.
However, 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.
I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work.
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.
I want my brother to know that it's not "wrong" for him to want to be a chef, that it's okay to go against what society believes to be appropriate. There are, as a matter of fact, a multitude of very talented and successful male culinary geniuses, i.e. Emeril, Gordon Ramsey, etc. Unfortunately, Hasbro has made going against the societal norm that girls are the ones in the kitchen even more difficult.
In an accompanying video, McKenna adds: "We continue to force this stereotype that men don't cook, they work. Please, sign this petition and join me in my fight to create gender equality in our products and in our youth."
Hasbro has not yet commented on the petition but McKenna's mission is gathering speed with appearances on several talk shows and news channels.
The teenager is not the first youngster to point out the gender stereotyping many toy manufacturers indulge in.
Last year a video of five-year-old Riley Barry delivering an impassioned speech on the matter went viral.
Standing against a backdrop of pink baby dolls, Riley Barry says it isn’t fair “for all the girls to buy princesses and all the boys to buy superheroes.”
Slapping her forehead for emphasis, the erudite toddler points out: “Girls want superheroes and the boys want superheroes.”
When asked why she thinks toys at marketed like that, Riley points at the doll display and says: “Because the companies who make these try to trick the girls into buying the pink stuff instead of stuff that boys want to buy, right?”
Her tirade continues: “Well then, why does all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different colour stuff?”
The man behind the camera concedes: “It’s a good question Riley.”
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