Mr. Potato Head Is Becoming More Inclusive

The iconic children’s toy is offering more creative possibilities.

Mar 15, 2021


Mr. Potato Head Is Becoming More Inclusive | The iconic children’s toy is offering more creative possibilities.

Mr. Potato Head, the iconic preschool toy, is almost 70 and getting a make-over with a new gender-neutral spud family. But the old single male and female sets aren’t going anywhere, the boxes are just being rebranded for the 21st-century according to a press release from Hasbro.

The new Create Your Potato Head family is launching in the fall of 2021 and comes with two large bodies, a small child body, and 42 accessories.  The possibilities are endless by changing the parts around. Now baby spud can have two mommies or two daddies to reflect that families come in different packages.

This according to Associated Press News is just one way that toy brands are evolving to stay relevant with today’s kids. Barbie dolls now come in all shapes and sizes and even come with wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs.

The iconic toy has evolved since it was launched in 1952. In the beginning, only the plastic accessories were provided and families had to supply their own real potatoes. The first kit was for a male (Mr.) potato and a female (Mrs.) version was launched the next year. It was an instant success with over one million kits sold the first year.

Later, a Potato Head family was introduced with male and female spuds plus little ones. But now, the brand does not want to be locked into the traditional family structure which defines genders and leaves little room for non-traditional families.

But the announcement led to a lot of backlash on Twitter from consumers who didn’t like this change. Hasbro had to clarify on its Twitter account that the single gendered potato heads were not being discontinued but that the Mr and Mrs would be less prominently displayed on the bottom of the box.

The toy has been successful for so many years because of its silliness according to Kimberly Boyd, an SVP and GM at Hasbro who works on the Potato Head brand. She  told AP that kids like the idea of a potato person with an enormous moustache but that besides the initial enjoyment, kids continue to play with the toy because it provides a canvas for them to project their own personal experiences.

“Kids like dressing up the toy, then playing out scenarios from their life. This often takes the form of creating little potato families, because they’re learning what it means to be in a family,” said Boyd.

“Culture has evolved,” she said “Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists—with the “Mr.” and “Mrs.”—is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”

With the new non gendered potato head family, girls can wear pants and boys can wear earrings. Two boys can even dress like brides in pretend weddings. Children can project their own families or gender ideas without being boxed in and that is a very positive plus to Create Your Own Family.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.