Mr. Potato Head becomes non-sexist and will be called from now on Potato Head; Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head will live in one form or another, says Hasbro

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NEW YORK (AP) – Mr. Potato Head is no longer a gentleman.

Hasbro, the company that has been making the plastic potato-shaped toy for almost 70 years, is giving the potato a new gender-neutral name: Potato Head. The change will appear on the boxes this year.

Many toy makers have updated their classic brands in recent years, hoping to relate to today’s kids and reflect more modern families.

“It’s a potato,” said Ali Mierzejewski, editor of toy review site The Toy Insider. “But kids like to see themselves in the toys they play with.”

Barbie, for example, tried to shed her blonde image and now comes in several skin tones and body shapes. The Thomas the Tank Engine toy line added more female characters. And American Girl now sells a boy doll.

As part of the rebranding, Hasbro will launch a new Potato Head playset this fall that will allow kids to create their own kind of family, including two moms or two dads.

The characters of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head will live in one form or another, Hasbro said, but did not provide details. Both have appeared in the “Toy Story” films.

Dropping the “Mr.” in his name could cause other companies to stop assigning genres to his toys, a trend that has already happened, Mierzejewski said. Barbie maker Mattel launched a line of gender neutral dolls in 2019. But Mr. Potato Head is one of the biggest brands to do so.

“It sets this new standard,” Mierzejewski said.

GLAAD, an LGBTQ rights group, applauded the genderless toy potato.

“Hasbro helps children to simply see toys as toys, which encourages them to be authentic themselves outside the pressures of traditional gender norms,” Rich Ferraro, GLAAD communications director, said in a statement. .

Mr. Potato Head first appeared on the toy scene in 1952, when he wasn’t even accompanied by a plastic potato – kids had to provide their own vegetable to stick their eyes, nose into or the mustache. Hasbro, which also makes Monopoly and My Little Pony, bought the brand and eventually added a plastic spud.

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