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26 Feb, 2021 13:55

Mr. Potato Head drops the title and is now just ‘Potato Head’ finally giving gender neutral vegetables the visibility they deserve

Mr. Potato Head drops the title and is now just ‘Potato Head’ finally giving gender neutral vegetables the visibility they deserve

Since when was a potato ever male or female anyway? A potato is a potato, but Hasbro are keen to cash in on the lucrative woke parent market so have dispensed with the formalities to make the 70-year-old toy less “limiting.”

Where do baby potatoes come from, dad?” Funny, but my kids have never actually asked me that one. But here goes anyway.

Well, son, sometimes daddy potato gets home a little drunk from the pub and, even though mummy potato does her best to hide out in the shrubbery, he always finds her. And then he…

He sticks his thingy in her?

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Ah son, well, eh? This is where it all gets a little bit complicated. In the Mr. Potato Head box, did it come with a man's thingy or a girl's thingy?

Nope dad, and there's no tits in there either.”

Exactly son. He's a potato. She's a potato. Don't ask stupid bloody questions, go and do your homework.” 

Let’s call a spud a spud. Potatoes are pretty much born gender neutral and, for this reason, surely, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head must always have been just about the most woke toy you could ever buy, right? You could form that plastic spud into any image you felt inside. 

I liked to put his ears where his eyes were supposed to be and an arm where, traditionally, there should have been a nose. 

The toymaker Hasbro doesn't actually grow potatoes but they do make the plastic version. In fact, when Mr. Potato Head first arrived in kids' bedrooms in the 1950s, it was basically just a kit of parts that you stuck into a real potato. Ears and eyes and a nose, a bowler hat and a mustache, and such like. 

You must know what I mean because you're sure to have owned a Mr. Potato Head or got one for your kids. Mr. Potato Head has been in everyone's life.

And I haven't checked every version of the toy giant's back catalogue, but I'm willing to make a firm bet of at least one pound sterling that none of those kits ever came with a penis (or several, in various colors and sizes?). There was probably never a vagina in the box either, though I daresay it's feasible to fashion your own from other handy household foodstuffs. Maybe this is where your average pervert gets started.

You just don't give kids little plastic penises and vaginas to play with, that would be kind of twisted..

Hasbro, sort of did and then actually sort of didn't, announce that they had removed the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ designations in time for next Christmas. They're rebranding it to just Potato Head so that all could feel “welcome in the Potato Head world.” But the Mr. and Mrs. characters will still exist. Hasbro have, really, just redesigned the box a bit, and the Mr. and Mrs. monikers are down the bottom.

This is, if you ask me, absolutely nothing to do with the kids. It's all about their woke parents wanting to share the woke with their offspring. Your average three year-old either can't yet read the names on the box or simply...doesn't care.

This from Kimberly Boyd, Hasbro’s senior vice president of global brands: “Culture has evolved... 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.”

Righto. Now kids can have two moms or two dads, should they wish. But, err, couldn't they always? They just needed to buy two to get the necessary bits (vagina and breasts not included, but she did come with a pink handbag). 

And it opens up a whole raft of options for the inevitable next installment of the Toy Story franchise. I say let's get Mr. Potato Head into ‘kink’, how about tights and a mask... oh, hang on, superheroes have been doing that since the 1930s.

The woke folks over at GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group are – of course – well pleased. “Hasbro is helping kids to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be their authentic selves outside of the pressures of traditional gender norms,” said their public relations bloke Rich Ferraro.

Oh God, please save us from GLAAD. But it's too late. I pity poor kids today, don't they have enough to worry about? 

And Mr. Potato Head, of course, is not the first toy to feel the chill winds of the accelerating and ever-expanding world of woke. Barbie is no longer just a blonde bimbo, now there's a load of 'gender neutral' versions. Even Thomas The Tank Engine has added two more female trains, Nia and Rebecca – in order to ‘correct the gender imbalance’ that was such a huge worry to us all. Girls, it seems, are into trains too. Fair enough.

So, what's next? You can be sure something's coming down the track, same as Rebecca and Nia the tank engines. 

Well, I reckon it's high time we had a transgender Disney Princess, with interchangeable genitalia – you can make her/him pre- or post-op. And it would add a whole new element to ‘Operation’, the mad doctor's game. 

Come on Hasbro, you know it's a winner. There's plenty of time till Christmas.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.