The toy company that makes the Easy-Bake Oven says its product can be enjoyed by both boys and girls and is inviting a New Jersey family to visit after a local teen campaigned for a gender-neutral version.
Rhode Island-based Hasbro said in a statement Wednesday that 13-year-old McKenna Pope and her family are invited to visit the company "and meet with our Easy-Bake team."
Pope has campaigned, through a video on change.org, for the company to create an oven for boys as well as girls. Her family wanted the toy for her 4-year-old brother, Gavin, but was unable to find one that wasn't marketed exclusively to girls.
“I found it pretty appalling that they did not feature males of any sort in any of their packaging and promotional materials or anything,” McKenna told NBC 4 New York.
McKenna said she felt this was not the message Hasbro should be sending to kids.
“Why are women in the kitchen and guys working? That's basically what Hasbro is saying,” McKenna said. “This company that I've grown to love so much would resort to conforming to societal gender rules? I don't see why.”
Hasbro said Wednesday that market research and buying patterns show "the primary interest in the Easy-Bake Oven comes from girls," adding that the product can be enjoyed by both boys and girls from age 8 and up.
McKenna's mother, Erica Boscio, said in an email to NBC 4 New York Wednesday that she was "ecstatic" to receive the invitation.
"Just the fact that they have taken the initiative to meet with McKenna shows me that she is already making progress," Boscio said. "We look forward to sharing our ideas with Hasbro next week!"