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IAmA 13 year old girl who started a petition to Hasbro regarding gender inequality in the Easy Bake Oven, and won. AMA

Dec 19th 2012 by easybakepetitio • 23 Questions • 876 Points

My name is McKenna Pope, and I started a petition on change.org after my little brother wanted an Easy Bake Oven from Santa, asking them to use both males and females in their packaging, commercials, and promotional materials, and feature it in gender neutral colors, because it currently only comes in colors gender specific to girls: pink and purple. This past Monday, Hasbro invited me to their offices and showed me a black, silver, and blue prototype which will come out next year. They also promised they are going to market this one in a gender-neutral fashion. I thought people might be interested in this, so go ahead, AMA! Proof!

EDIT: If anyone wants me to ask my brother a question, I guess I could do that too!

EDIT: Kay, gonna get off now. Bedtime, sadly :( It's been fun, though! If you wanna put more questions, though, feel free, I'll try to get to them in the morning. But for now, bye, and happy redditing!

Q:

Will you now get one Easy Bake Oven for free?

A:

From Hasbro? Not sure. But we did get one of the current ones from when I was interviewed by Inside Edition.


Q:

You know your drive, the spirit which made you start this petition against a HUGE company who might not have listened?

McKenna, please keep that for ever. Its people like you who change things for the better.

Hugs from England.

A:

Yay, hugs are fun!


Q:

I saw this all over the news today -- congratulations to you and I sincerely hope this AMA takes off. What was the timeline of events in getting the change done from the time you decided to petition to the time you went to Hasbro's headquarters?

Also, I imagine this must have been quite an experience for you, can you walk us through some of the conversations you had while at their headquarters and with any of their executives?

A:

After I started the petition, the thing basically exploded overnight. I appeared on many news stations and all over the interwebz. I finally got a reply from Hasbro about a week after the petition started, but it was a pretty generic response, that didn't really address anything I was talking about. However, a few days later, Bobby Flay and a multitude of other celebrity chefs got together and made a video for me and my brother, showing their support! Hasbro finally invited me on down a few days afterward, and Monday, there I was at headquarters!

As for your second question, while I don't remember specific conversations, Hasbro was awesome. They showed me how their toys are manufactured, how they do their market testing, and even how their commercials get made!


Q:

if you message the mods with proof that you are who you say you are, you might get more people interested.

A:

How do I do this? Been a reddit lurker for a while, but I'm kinda new to posting...


Q:

Did your mom/dad play a role in this or is this a pure McKenna's intiative?

I saw your interview on TV btw, you are very well spoken.

A:

It was all me, to most people's surprise. A lot of people seem to think that my mom wrote and did everything and is just using me as her outlet, but that's actually not true at all. And thank you c:


Q:

Firstly congratulations, secondly I can't believe this AMA hasn't taken off.

What is the first thing your brother is going to bake?

A:

The cupcakes c: He keeps talking about how delicious they look whenever the commercial comes on


Q:

I approve!

A:

Woo to the hoo for cupcakes!


Q:

Do you have a favorite pony?

A:

From Friendship is Magic? Pinky Pie, of course c:


Q:

Pretty neat to hear about this - as a sociology major at university, I've had to do reading about how toys are really gendered in how they are sold.

Question for you, do you think it's getting any easier for people your age and kids to break "gender rules" - or what people expect from boys and girls?

A:

I think that it's definitely a whole lot easier for females to break gender rules than it is for boys; a girl plays with NERF guns and is called, at worst, a tomboy. However, if a boy wants a Baby Alive doll so he can prepare himself for eventual fatherhood? All hell breaks loose.


Q:

How have people responded to this? Has it been overwhelmingly positive? Have you received any negitive feedback from people?

Also, I just wanted to thank you for this. Thank you for fighting dumb gender sterotypes in America.

A:

I've gotten my fair share of negativity, but hey, there's always gonna be haters, right? c:


Q:

What was the negativity about? And in what form did you receive it?

A:

Mostly about how I was either obviously some overreacting femnazi, or a girl with overzealous parents who are using me as an outlet to force their political propaganda on others. That upset me more than anything though; judge me all you want, but don't judge my family, or how they raised me.


Q:

You go girl! Glad to find someone my age willing to raise awareness about something. You gave me an idea for my huge project for my Girl Scouts Silver Award. I just want to say thanks :D

A:

Your welcome! And good luck with your Award! :D


Q:

Is activism something you generally believe in? Or was this just one issue you wanted to fight? Do you plan to continue being an activist?

A:

I believe strongly in activism; it's an amazing way to make social change, just as I did here. And yes, I will forever continue to fight for what's right c:


Q:

I'd like to say that you're awesome and I appreciate the way you're helping to make things a little smoother for non-traditionally-gender-conforming individuals.

Sometimes, change is about starting on the little things and simply rolling with it when they suddenly grow and become bigger things. You're proof that everyone can create positive change by simply finding a problem and starting somewhere. Thank you!

Good job! =^.^=

~CedarWolf, /r/genderqueer mod

P.S. Also, I'm sure the bronies and pegasisters on /r/mylittlepony would be interested to know if you got a glimpse of anything pony-related while you were chilling at Hasbro's offices.

A:

Thank you so much! And of course I did, they gave me a Pinky Pie! :D


Q:

Ah; I got my first ever Twilight Sparkle this past week from the Secret Santa, which took me by pleasant surprise. I like Twilight; she's the first pony I identified with in Season 1 because she's a bookworm like me.

(I have to envy her a little bit because she lives in a library. Maybe someday I'll have a library of my own, too.)

A:

I wish I could've done the Secret Santa. Unfortunately, I'm way too broke for shipping costs.


Q:

You are super duper awesome!

A:

Thanks! c:


Q:

Did you know that Hasbro already had a boys version (The Queasy Bake Cookerator) and a gender neutral version (Real Meal Oven)? Your video seemed to make a lot of assumptions that Hasbro were gender biased, when in reality they were just profitability biased.

A:

I was aware; however, they don't currently offer anything other than that marketed to girls, which is what I'm trying to get at.


Q:

How did you hear about reddit?

A:

My friend, about 2 years ago, told me about it. I used to be a 9gagger, but I'm now a happy redditor :D


Q:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

A:

I'm attempting to decide between three things that are pretty random... Either a defense lawyer, a large animal veterinarian, or a Broadway actress.


Q:

Today Easy-Bake ovens, tomorrow the world!

A:

Not exactly sure, but I know I'll do something new after this one's... cooled down a little bit. However, I've only won one battle, and there's a thousand more that I can fight!


Q:

Congrats on getting your voice heard, and even more congratulations for winning!

Kinda random, but... Why Broadway actress?

Is this something that you got an interest in thru your mom or Dad? Have you seen any shows there?

A:

I've seen seven Broadway and off-Broadway shows. And my parents actually don't really like Broadway; they find my constant belting of "Defying Gravity" a little annoying after a while. xD I became interested in Broadway through seeing the movie version of RENT. As a matter of fact, Idina Menzel, a popular and amazing Broadway actress, is basically my idol.


Q:

From your perspective who (group or person) poses the biggest risk to gender inequality in the world?

A:

Hmm, that's a hard one. But I would probably say society as a whole, if that makes sense. Gender stereotypes stem from what we see in the media each and every single day, so we all really contribute by buying into what others tell us we should be.


Q:

Do you ever think about other areas you could find this inequality?

Do you have any idea how open minded you are as a 13 year old and what an awesome thing that is?

I'm trying to become a civil defense lawyer and tax attorney, you've already won your first case, so to speak. _^ Please, continue the awesomeness.

A:

I'm not really sure I get your first question, but if you mean other toys, it's everywhere. Walk through any toy store and you'll see the pink lined girl toy aisles and the blue and red lined boy toy ones. However, winning this could potentially start a chain reaction of change in the toy industry! And yes, I am quite aware of my awesomeness ;D