jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Sunday 28th February 2021
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
A gender-neutral makeover will see Mr Potato Head become the toy formerly known as Mr Potato Head.
The classic toy’s branding is being “reimagined for the modern consumer”, its US maker Hasbro announced on Thursday.
From later this year, the toy – launched almost 70 years ago – will be named Potato Head on packaging.
Other toy companies have taken similar decisions in recent years, breaking with traditional gender norms.
“Hasbro is making sure all feel welcome in the Potato Head world by officially dropping the Mr from the Mr Potato Head brand name and logo to promote gender equality and inclusion,” Hasbro said of the name change.
The rebranded toy, which can be assembled with a selection of different body parts and clothes, will be released in autumn this year, Hasbro said.
The company said the toy will allow children “to imagine and create their own Potato Head family”.
However, in a later tweet on Thursday, the company said the Mr and Mrs Potato Head characters would still be available to buy, but didn’t provide more details.
Twitter – “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”
Potato Head doesn’t belong in the ‘culture wars’ – just stop all the right-wing wailing
Chris Stevenson in the INDEPENDENT
“It’s just a potato” will be the response of many – whichever way you feel – about the news that
the “Mr” and “Mrs” from the branding of the potato head toys.
For people like Piers Morgan and Ben Shapiro, it is a step too far. Morgan oddly roped the move in with the Covid-19 crisis, as if that has anything to do with it, saying: “Imagine doing this in the middle of a global pandemic because you’re terrified of offending a few wokies… So spineless and depressing.” As for Shapiro, his acid take was: “Barbie must be renamed something more gender-neutral. This is imperative.” There have been plenty of others suggesting – completely appropriately – that this is merely the latest step towards destroying all that is good and decent.
Beyond the needless vitriol, they are right in one sense. Mr and Mrs Potato Head are just potatoes – why the need to remove the honorific on something that has been that way for decades? Well, the reverse is true also. What are you losing by taking the honorifics out of the branding? Nothing. Hasbro has been at pains to point out that the characters will retain the names – but the branding on the toy will not. So, in actual fact, they are arguing over two or three letters on a box.
Hasbro, not unlike many companies before it, has gone for the Schrödinger approach – a move that is both significant and insignificant (with the change only really happening when you open the box). For those households who want to keep the honorifics, there is nothing stopping you once the two are out of the box – Hasbro has said the individual names are not changing.
But for those who would prefer not to use them, this change offers a choice. In the grand scheme of things it isn’t a big one – but it will matter to some. It is the type of change that will be insignificant until it isn’t – until you have that one person it is very significant to. Less so for the actual dropping of the honorifics, but more for the general move towards less clearly defined boundaries.
Some may not like it, but in reality it affects the vast majority of people very little – and isn’t that worth it for the few that it does affect? After a couple of days of wailing from right-wing Twitter and statements like this one from GLAAD, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group – “Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys” – the hype will die down and the toy (perhaps with another convulsion of Twitter vitriol) will launch later in the year.
So no, Potato Head shouldn’t be part of the “culture wars”, as it is all about choice. You have a choice to buy the toy or not. You have a choice to use the honorifics or not. While I think that Hasbro is trying to have its cake and eat it, and anyone is well within their rights to dismiss the move as faintly ridiculous (without the Morgan-level vitriol), this decision means there is more choice out in the world. Isn’t that a good thing?
I think it’s just about Hasbro out to get some free marketting and publicity and it has worked very well.
TOP TEN MINUS 3 OF THE DAY
TOP 7 COST OF EACH STREAMING SERVICE PER MONTH
SERVICE PRICE PER MONTH
- Disney+ £7.99
- Netflix (standard package) £9.99
- Amazon Prime Video £7.99
- Apple TV £4.99
- Now TV (Entertainment pass) £9.99
- Britbox £5.99
- Licence fee £13.13
DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH EVERYDAY
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE FOR THE DAY
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C S Lewis
Happiness is…being a child owning all the toys Hasbro has ever made
GRANDAD’S ONE LINER JOKE OF THE DAY
Last week my Doctor told me I was going deaf. I haven’t heard from him since.
Love is…sharing your popcorn.
A time for Mr Potato Head…A time for Mrs Potato Head…And a time for Potato Head.
1951 8th Golden Globes: “Sunset Boulevard”, Jose Ferrer, & Gloria Swanson win
1966 23rd Golden Globes: “Doctor Zhivago”, Omar Sharif, & Samantha Eggar win
1976 18th Grammy Awards: “Love Will Keep Us Together” Record of the Year, Natalie Cole 1st African American to win Best New Artist
1983 Final TV episode of “M*A*S*M*A*S*H” airs (CBS); record 125 million watch in the US
LITTLE NUMBERS: SOME HORRBLE SOME NICE
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©2021 Phil M Robinson