Starting Next Summer, Easy Bake Ovens Will Be Gender Neutral

Due in large part to the inspired efforts of 13-year-old McKenna Pope of New Jersey, Hasbro will start manufacturing gender-neutral Easy-Bake Ovens. The new ovens, which will be black, silver and blue instead of the standard purple and pink, should available sometime next summer.

The campaign was launched in late November after Pope's four-year-old younger brother asked for an Easy-Bake Oven for Christmas. Pope, who'd previously noted her brothers penchant for cooking (he used to "cook" tortillas over a lightbulb in his room), was happy to oblige but was appalled to discover the ovens are only manufactured in pink and purple. As she put it on her online petition:

I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work.

I have always been adamantly against anything that promotes specific roles in society for men and women, and having grown up with toys produced by the Hasbro corporation, it truly saddens me that such a successful business would resort to conforming to society's views on what boys do and what girls do.

The petition quickly went viral and has since gained over 44,000 signatures in just 18 days. Celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Lomonaco have also publicly supported the campaign.

Hasbro eventually took notice and invited Pope, along with her family, to their Rhode Island headquarters on Monday for a meeting, where executives showed off their fancy new unisex ovens. Apparently, the company's been working on the new design for 18 months, which, side note, seems insane considering the only change is in the color scheme. The new ovens are set to debut at Feburary's Toy Fair in New York and will be available for purchase sometime next summer.

And, as Pope requested in her petition, the company is also putting boys in their new advertisements.

Said Pope: "I think that they really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do, and they really amazed me."

[Image via AP]