Is The Easy Bake Oven For Boys The End Of Masculinity As We Know It?
So in a world riddled with debt, school shootings, dangerous regimes, and men wearing leggings, this is news.
In case you missed it last week, the Internets blew up at Hasbro when they responded poorly to McKenna Pope’s petition. McKenna, and about 40,000 other people, would like to see a version of the Easy Bake oven that appeals to boys and girls. She isn’t asking a lot, just some gender neutral styling and colors.
Hasbro’s public relations department responded with some history of the oven, explained that boys do play with their toys, and have been featured on packaging in the past. They stopped short of indicating a uni-sex version was planned, or even possible. As expected, the response went viral and spread like wildfire through Facebook and Twitter and even caught the attention of some celebrity chefs.
Today Hasbro invited Ms McKenna and her family to their headquarters and revealed a new line of ovens available in black, silver, or blue. The official announcement was not be made until the NY Toy Fair in February. It appears that Hasbro has been working on the color scheme for about 18 months and expects it to be on shelves by summer.
Some of my more conservative friends are pretty up in arms about this. They think it’s a bad idea, and part of the long-ongoing emasculation of boys – a thing which I believe is a real problem, so I can’t say I blame them.
That said, I can’t get that worked up about this. My mom picked me up a red and black (boy colors) Easy Bake for 50 cents from a garage sale when I was about six. It looked like this:
As you can see, – ugly as sin, but not remotely girly. In fact, I’m pretty sure this was designed by the same people that gave us the Pontiac Aztek. (Just ask Walter White what a chick magnet that thing is.) Fast forward thirty years, and this is what the Easy Bake ovens look like now. My six-year-old self wouldn’t have been caught dead with one of these things:
So I had this oven now and I decided to take a break from my usual fort building, weapon creating, bike riding, tree climbing, invention making, robot-pretending activities and made a couple mini cakes and cookies – one at a time. Because who the hell doesn’t like dessert? I learned three things:
1) You can cook shit with a lightbulb. How awesome is that? That rocked my world of known physics at the time.
2) That little metal pan will MELT YOUR FLESH FROM YOUR BONES if you don’t use the pusher-thingy to get it out (and it often got stuck in the track, which was fun) which makes point #1 even more amazing.
3) It’s stupid to make baked goods in quantities smaller than you can eat them. If you’re not making enough cookies that you will be sick from eating them all, you’re doing it wrong.
At the end of the day, though, it sparked my interest in cooking, and I kept at it. I ditched the easy bake and moved on to the real deal. My parents started calling me “chef boyar-Steve”. By the time I was in college, all the chicks would come over to my house and eat whenever I’d make dinner. And I could make killer desserts, which most guys never learn how to do because I guess it’s supposed to be girly. Whatever.
I think it worked out pretty well. And I never fell down the slippery slope and asked for a barbie. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I don’t want people pushing barbies, dresses, and jewelry-making kits on my boys, but if they make an oven that looks like an effing killer robot and you bake cookies inside its mouth and they learn how to make them and start feeding them to me when they get good enough at it, I’m on board.