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The real issue with the Mr. Potato Head drama

When it comes to inclusivity for all, a gendered potato might not necessarily help eradicate discrimination against people for who are they are.

The real issue with the Mr. Potato Head drama

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JULY 27: Mr. Potato Head and Mrs. Potato Head attend Variety's Power of Youth presented by Hasbro, Inc. and generationOn at Universal Studios Backlot on July 27, 2013 in Universal City, California.

(Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Variety)

Although this character hadn't crossed my mind since Toy Story, the classic Mr. Potato Head is making headlines. Why?

The toy will adopt a gender-inclusive identity by dropping the "Mr."

As of Thursday, Hasbro announced that they are ensuring "all feel welcome in the Potato Head world by officially dropping the Mr. from the Mr. Potato Head brand name and logo to promote gender equality and inclusion."


Some people thought this recent statement meant this would change the entire Mr. Potato Head character. Then, Hasbro made a whimsical yet clarifying statement to say that Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head will keep their customary titles.

"Hold that Tot — your main spud, MR. POTATO HEAD isn't going anywhere!" said the company. "While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the 'MR.' I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren't going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD."

Despite this, I've always wondered why an inanimate object like a potato would ever really need to be gendered in the first place.

Mr. Potato Head was created in the early 1940s by George Lerner, an inventor. Lerner created the "funny face man," aka Mr. Potato Head, for his litter sister out of fruits and vegetables from their mother's garden. He thought that adding some character and personality to vegetables would make it more fun for kids to eat.

However, when Lerner wanted to sell the idea to companies, he faced controversy.

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Just because someone may be different from what you believe doesn't mean that they aren't human beings that deserve to be treated with fairness and integrity.

Some companies thought that using potatoes as toys seemed problematic given World War II and food rations. His invention In 1952, Hasbro, Inc. (formerly known as the Hassenfeld brothers) bought the creation's rights.

Eventually, Mr. Potato Head went on to become the first toy to have a commercial advertisement. In 1964, a plastic potato head body was created to accompany the 28 plastic facial features.

Now decades later, this toy, among others, is being rebranded to not leave anyone out of the equation.

As great as this is when it comes to inclusivity for all, a gendered potato might not necessarily help eradicate discrimination against people for who are they are. Regardless, companies' strides to become more inclusive for others irrespective of race, gender, and sexual orientation is an amazing start.

What are your thoughts about Mr. Potato Head becoming more inclusive for all?

Have you got something to say about this subject? Submit a post here and start the conversation.

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