The Editorial: Easy Bake Boy

The Editorial: Easy Bake Boy

Feminism is so 1970s. While we love us an empowered lady (and know that equal rights still have quite a ways to go in many cases), the notion of a strong, independent woman now just seems a bit too… binary. Because, feminism is a two-way street: when men were Archie Bunker, of course they had no choice but to punch those chauvinists in the nose! But in retrospect, it’s important to remember that most activist feminists wanted power, and not necessarily equality: a stereotypically alpha-male approach for escaping alpha-male oppression. Hmm.

But today, “man” can mean sensitive bearded hipster and James Franco and “manscaping” and drastic, provocative fashion. It’s in this progress of what it means to be a man that we seem to have at long last discovered the finer shades of both genders, far beyond the heretofore black and white previously admitted. When women don’t have blockheads to react against, they can be anything they want. We’ve got latitude at long last, but ours is anything but a post-gender world.

It follows that among the more fascinating cultural shifts over the next several years will be just how the traditional boy vs. girl iconography evolves in relation to this latitude. Google “1950s family,” and there, in impossibly saturated colours, will be most literal icons of the lock-step identities marketers are still actively trying to create. Children’s toys, that means both Tonka trucks and My Little Pony, are charged with polar gender associations that are both exclusive and limiting. It’s slightly sad, but once the marketers fully grasp that they can make boatloads of money by selling Barbie to boys and Bob the Builder to girls, the toy boxes of the world will be more equal places. And I, for one, will be ecstatic to inhabit a world of yellow mixed with green instead of blue versus pink.

Recently, a little girl named McKenna Pope launched a campaign on change.org to have boys included on the packaging of everyone’s favourite kitchen toy, the Easy Bake Oven. For generations, our sisters have made us icky, chalky cupcakes in the ugly little apparatus – but just why is it only for them? It’s always been marketed as a girl’s toy, that’s why: a training tool for those fortunate future housewives, taught from the age of 5 to drown in the halogen glow of domestic bliss. (Batteries required.) But, boys can bake. Hell, they should be baking, instead of sitting around while their poor, overworked sisters slave over a warm lightbulb…

Let’s all do little McKenna and ourselves a solid and sign her petition. Get with the times, Hasbro.

Tag Christof