McKenna Pope is a girl after my own heart. Or is that brain?
McKenna, 13, has started a petition drive to change the packaging and marketing of today’s Easy Bake Oven. See, McKenna’s brother Gavin, 4, wants to be a chef. For Christmas, he wants an Easy Bake and a dinosaur.
That was fine until Gavin saw the box and apparently realized he had crossed into the dreaded “girl toy” territory. The box has lots of pink and purple and features only pictures of girls.
So McKenna, who lives in New Jersey, has started a campaign to send petitions to Hasbro asking for a change in the marketing of the Easy Bake. Show some boys! Maybe un-pink that color scheme a little.
If things like online petition drives and Internet searches had existed when I was 13, I might have led a campaign too. I have no objection to pink or purple – or girls, for that matter. I used to be one too.
But I’m definitely offended by the oven itself. It no longer looks anything like an oven. It’s very purple and it’s shaped like a boom box from outer space. A really rockin’ boom box that spits out cupcake tops.
Who wants to cook from that?
My own Easy Bake experience in the 1960s had none of these issues. I got an early Easy Bake when I was around 7. In those days, Easy Bakes weren’t pink or purple, they were sort of turquoise-green. And they looked like real stoves with light bulbs inside.
I can’t tell you what sort of pictures were on the packaging because that was before “Antiques Roadshow” taught us to save the box. I don’t think I ever saw it, just that lovely greenish stove that Santa left under the tree.
My best friend was a boy named David, and that was also the year he scored an Incredible Edibles maker: It was like a forerunner of the George Foreman grill, except you squirted goo into metal molds and heated them to make worm-shaped things you could eat. As I recall, they tasted like root beer-flavored plastic. I probably still have some stuck inside me somewhere.
David and I had the best kind of kid friendship – one based on yelling. We invested hours in shouting at each other. One epic debate was over the issue of cooking. I would lay claim to cooking on behalf of all womanhood, and David would flatly declare that men were better cooks because they could be chefs.
He had me there.
But when I got my Easy Bake and David got his Incredible Edible cooker, we were content. We could be left for hours of unsupervised play that involved hot light bulbs, electrical sockets and chewable plastic. Lemonade-stand fare in our neighborhood definitely kicked up a notch.
So fight on, McKenna Pope. Keep gathering those petitions at www.change.org/easybake. There were 39,784 when I checked Tuesday afternoon.
I’ll make it 39,785 if we can get them to make an Easy Bake that looks like an oven.