Gone is the “Monsieur Patate” brand, cult toy of the Hasbro group: the manufacturer has announced that it will market a non-gendered potato family, even if it then insisted on ensuring that the gendered toys themselves would remain, only the brand and logo losing the attribute “Mr.”.
These toys, introduced in 1952, and featured in the “Toy Story” film series, are a staple of American families.
From a plastic potato shape, children are asked to create characters by adding attributes such as eyes – with eyebrows made up for Madame Patate, for example – a mouth, with lipstick for Madame – a mustache for Monsieur, shoes with heels or not, etc …
In a first press release posted on its website Thursday, Hasbro said it now wanted to “make sure everyone feels welcome in the world of potato heads by officially abandoning the + Mr. Potato Head + brand and logo”. With the intention of “promoting gender equality and inclusion”.
But another, shorter press release then replaced it, indicating that “the emblematic characters of Mr. and Mrs. Patate would not disappear”, without specifying however in what form they would be maintained.
The new text also removed any mention of inclusion or gender equality, simply stating that it was about “celebrating the different faces of families”.
Contacted, a spokesperson for the group did not respond to AFP’s requests for explanations on the reasons for these changes.
In recent years, toy manufacturers have repeatedly evolved traditional toys – starting with dolls – in response to denunciations of sexist, racist stereotypes, or encouraging traditional “beauty” canons.
“Mixed” toys, intended to avoid stereotypes of the male or female role, in particular, have multiplied.
Mattel, creator of Barbie dolls, has been at the forefront, with its “creatable world” range, dolls with the body of a child of 8-10 years old and with short hair.
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