Hasbro has decided to drop the “Mr.” in Potato Head after 70 years of the classic toy. Moving forward, the spud will be known only as Potato Head. The gender-neutral change will go into effect this year, as Hasbro and other toy makers continue to update their classic toys for a new generation of children and collectors. Barbie has gone through several changes over the last handful of years, adding different skin tones and body shapes. Thomas the Tank Engine added more female characters, while the American Girl franchise has added a boy to the lineup.
According to Kimberly Boyd, Hasbro’s senior vice president of global brands, it was time for a Mr. Potato Head change. “Culture has evolved,” Boyd stated. “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.” A new Potato Head set will be available later this year, which will allow kids to make whatever kind of Potato Head family they desire.
The gender-neutral Potato Head will allow kids to create the families they have at home, which could have two dads or two moms. While Hasbro is rebranding, they have promised that the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will still be around, though they did not go into details about how they will be utilized in the future. “It’s a potato,” says Ali Mierzejewski from toy review site The Toy Insider. “But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.” Mierzejewski believes that other toy companies with follow in Hasbro’s lead.
Hasbro is setting a new standard with its upcoming Potato Head line. Some have criticized the move by calling it “woke” and weird to label a vegetable as “non-binary.” The criticism was unavoidable, but it seems that, for the most part, people are applauding Hasbro for leading a new charge for the future of toys and a generation that sees themselves differently from the ones that came before. Whatever the case may be, Mr. Potato Head has been around for quite a lot of changes since the toy originally debuted in 1952.
Mr. Potato Head is a plastic model of a potato which can be decorated with a variety of plastic parts that can attach to the main body, including eyes, lips, arms, a hat, nose, mustache, and more. George Lerner came up with the toy idea for the toy back in 1949, though his original idea was to create custom push pins that children could stick into a real potato. After being advised of potato rot and children possibly injuring themselves, the plastic spud was designed. The iconic toy had its own show for a little while, but gained a brand-new popularity boost when the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters appeared in the Toy Story franchise with voices by Don Rickles and Estelle Harris. ABC News was one of the first outlets to report on the new Mr. Potato Head gender-neutral rebranding.