In the latest example of inanimate objects being eradicated of gender, the classic children's toy, Mr. Potato Head, was announced as gender-neutral in a 21st Century rebrand...
But, after an overwhelming backlash online, the toy's manufacturer suddenly backtracked.
Here's the full story...
Now, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head have been a toy box essential for over seventy years.
Since its debut in 1952, the toy has been a trailblazer and was the first toy to be advertised on television, according to the National Toy Hall of Fame.
The plastic potato features interchangeable features...
Including eyes, mouths, hair-pieces, hats, and, of course, the iconic moustache.
Over the years, the original toy was eventually joined by Mrs. Potato Head...
Which came with more feminine features, such as long hair, makeup, and jewellery.
And, when the Potato Heads were featured in 1995's Toy Story...
Their popularity only grew.
Over the years, the Potato Head family has remained relatively unproblematic.
The toy has never made headlines for any modern issues surrounding unrealistic body expectations, as Barbie has all too frequently - you know, because they're modeled off potatoes.
But this week, the toy's manufacturer announced a groundbreaking makeover to improve its inclusivity:
The Potato Head family are going gender-neutral.
Hasbro, the toy's manufacturer, initially revealed that the Potato Heads would be losing their "Mr" and "Mrs" titles in an attempt to make those who identify as gender-neutral feel represented.
Represented in a potato, that is.
On the name change, Hasbro said this:
"Hasbro is making sure all feel welcome in the Potato Head world by officially dropping the Mr from the Mr. Potato Head brand name and logo to promote gender equality and inclusion."
The company added that the toy will allow children "to imagine and create their own Potato Head family."
corporations: 💕we hear you💕we're listening💕we're learning💕— princess diana is in all of us🚩👑 (@joinaunionpls) February 25, 2021
us: nobody asked for this
Well, there was an instant social media uproar.
literally nobody cared about the gender of mr potato head, all this headline does is give conservatives an opportunity to mock LGBTQ people https://t.co/cRMG58Tb8u— matt (@mattxiv) February 25, 2021
wait hasnt mr potato head always had the option to mix n match traditional gender pieces?— trees and flowers (@thosflowers) February 26, 2021
am i misremembering?
So they're dropping the Mr from Mr Potato Head, really?!#stoptheworldiwanttogetoff— Richard Callard (@RichardCallard) February 26, 2021
Funny how people are freaking out over a toy that has always encouraged removing and swapping body parts.— Mike Marlow (@MKEMarlow) February 25, 2021
@Hasbro figured out how to get free publicity for an old toy.— A/Prof Samantha Pugh 💙 (@SamLP) February 26, 2021
exactly. just make a new alternative to give people choice. Not replacing a well-beloved old brand with a new one to pander to people's needs whether they like it or not.....— Soham Chowdhury (@soham56ftw) February 25, 2021
Warning: not a tweet about gender. Not a tweet siding with any side of the culture wars. Culture wars are a shit idea.— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) February 26, 2021
Having established that:
Mr Potato Head is funnier than Potato Head. Because the formality of the title juxtaposes funnily with the silly name.
Well, following this backlash, Hasbro had a sudden change of heart.
OOPS. Did someone set fire to their brand?— ThatUmbrellaGuy (BOW to your PARASOL OVERLORDZ) (@ThatUmbrella) February 26, 2021
The company hastily took to Twitter to announce that the "Mr" and "Mrs" titles would be making a comeback, just hours after their first announcement.
They tweeted this:
Hold that Tot – your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn’t going anywhere! While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD pic.twitter.com/6I84KrxOLQ— Hasbro (@Hasbro) February 25, 2021
"Hold that Tot – your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn't going anywhere! While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the 'MR.' I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren't going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD."
But the company insists that their rebrand will still remain inclusive to all identities.
Writing on their website, they explained:
"Hasbro is officially renaming the MR. POTATO HEAD brand to POTATO HEAD to better reflect the full line. But rest assured, the iconic MR. and MRS. POTATO HEAD characters aren't going anywhere and will remain MR. and MRS. POTATO HEAD.
"Launching this Fall, the CREATE YOUR POTATO HEAD FAMILY is a celebration of the many faces of families allowing kids to imagine and create their own Potato Head family with 2 large potato bodies, 1 small potato body, and 42 accessories. The possibilities to create your own families are endless with mixing and mashing all the parts and pieces."