Beloved Mr Potato Head, well-known for his appearance in Toy Story, will now come in a gender-neutral version as Potato Head.
Hasbro announced in a public statement that they are releasing a gender neutral Potato Head play-set. Hasbro is the latest among toy companies which are widening their audiences with gender-neutral toys. Mattel’s Creatable World dolls, released in 2019, are the first line of gender-neutral dolls. American Girl had also released a doll with lesbian aunts in Australia.
Hasbro’s announcement to drop the “Mr” from the brand’s name to be more inclusive has had a positive response from queer communities, including GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group. However, in a later tweet, Hasbro explained that the original Mr and Mrs. Potato Head will still remain. The new play-set allows children create their own types of families, including two mums or two dads.
“Hold that Tot- your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn’t going anywhere! While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name and 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,” tweeted the company, using a number of potato puns.
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
“Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be their authentic selves outside of the pressures of traditional gender norms,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s chief communications officer, in a statement.
This is the latest of toy companies bringing forth gender-neutral toys in an effort to promote inclusivity amongst queer children. “Dropping the ‘Mr’ from Potato Head’s name could encourage other companies to stop assigning gender to its toys, a trend that has already been happening,” said Ali Mierzejewski, the editor in chief at toy review site The Toy Insider.
“It’s a potato. But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with,” she added.
The original Mr Potato Head was “born” in 1952, and came with hands, feet, ears, eyes, moustache, and other assortments, which had to be stuck into potatoes. In 1964, Hasbro bought the brand and added in a plastic potato body within the toy set after complaints came in regarding rotting vegetables and new government safety regulations. It made appearances in shows like The Mr. Potato Head Show and Toy Story Franchise.