After 70 years Mr. Potato Head is ditching the binary and going by a new, gender-neutral name.
Hasbro has announced that it was dropping the “Mr.” from the Mr. Potato Head brand, in an effort to make sure that “all feel welcome in the Potato Head world.”
News of the name change emerged at an investors meeting. Hasbro later tweeted about it, assuring fans that although the brand name is changing, the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head “aren’t going anywhere.” Those character names will still appear on the boxes under the new brand name.
The new name is part of efforts to bring classic toys into the 21st century, and followers similar updates from rival toymakers.
Toy companies, including Hasbro (HAS) competitor Mattel (MAT), are taking steps forward in inclusivity and have been adapting to shifting cultural cues for years. Mattel’s Barbie, which became a hit as an impossibly proportioned female figurine, has become more body-inclusive and racially diverse. Mattel said a year ago it wanted to bring “a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion” when it launched a series of dolls with disabilities, hair loss and vitiligo.
Unfortunately this has been met with different reactions. Fans of the popular spud toy were quick to take to social media with their opinions.
Piers Morgan decided Potato Head had been made gender-neutral to avoid “upsetting wokies”, despite literally no-one ever asking Hasbro to rebrand the toy.
Sean Hannity posted “MR POTATO HEAD CANCELED: Hasbro to Drop ‘Gendered Toy’, Will Release ‘Potato Head’ this Year.
Most of the responses have been positive while also poking fun at the fact that some were up in arms about the gender of “a plastic toy”.
Popular Youtuber Randy Rainbow said, “It’s been a long day for the potato head community. Going to sleep now with a prayer in my heart and a nose in my ear hole.”
Jon Stewart posted, “First they came for Mister Potato Head…and I said nothing…because it didn’t seem like something to get that upset about.”
“By offering a toy that exists outside of the binary of male and female, 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, a spokesperson for the LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD.