Hasbro is de-gendering Mr. Potato Head, the toy will be offered as simply ‘Potato Head’

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Of all the anthropomorphized pop culture “characters,” Mr. Potato Head has to be one of the weirdest, right? I mean… who was the galaxy brain who was like “the toy is a potato and you can put different wigs and mustaches and hats on the potato, okay?” And Hasbro was like “MY GOD, it’s a million-dollar idea!” Was there ever a pull to extend the line? Miss Broccoli, Madame Fig, the Honorable Mr. Grapefruit? Anyway, because it’s 2021, we can no longer have gendered potatoes. The predictable people are mad about it, but I’m sort of charmed by the idea that Hasbro was like “let’s take a preemptive step to degender Potato Head.” I mean???

Mr. Potato Head is no longer a mister. Hasbro, the company that makes the potato-shaped plastic toy, is giving the spud a gender neutral new name: Potato Head. The change will appear on boxes this year. Many toymakers have been updating their classic brands in recent years, hoping to relate to today’s kids and reflect more modern families.

“It’s a potato,” said Ali Mierzejewski, editor in chief at toy review site The Toy Insider. “But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.”

Barbie, for example, has shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. Thomas the Tank Engine added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll. As part of the rebranding, Hasbro will release a new Potato Head playset this fall that will let kids create their own type of families, including two moms or two dads. The Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will live on in some form, Hasbro said, but didn’t provide details. Both have appeared in the “Toy Story” movies.

Dropping the “Mr.” from its name could encourage other companies to stop assigning genders to its toys, a trend that has already been happening, said Mierzejewski. Barbie maker Mattel released a gender-neutral doll line in 2019. But Mr. Potato Head is one of the biggest brands to do so.

“It’s setting this new standard,” Mierzejewski said.

Mr. Potato Head first hit the toy scene in 1952, when it didn’t even come with a plastic potato — kids had to supply their own vegetable to poke eyes, a nose or mustache into. Hasbro, which also makes Monopoly and My Little Pony, bought the brand and eventually added a plastic potato.

[From The Associated Press]

Kids had to provide their own potato!!!! I HAD NO IDEA. The secrets of anthropomorphized potatoes! Anyway, I’m honestly all for toy companies trying to be more inclusive and more gender-neutral in how they market toys. Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head were/are the same f–king plastic potato, they just came with different spudsy accoutrements. Now kids will learn that gender is something that can be snapped on and off! I AM JOKING. (Also: Hasbro confirmed that Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head will still exist, but they’re just also adding a nonbinary option.)

— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) February 25, 2021

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) February 25, 2021

— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) February 25, 2021

— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) February 25, 2021

— Hasbro (@Hasbro) February 25, 2021

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