r Potato Head is no longer a mister.
“It’s a potato,” said Ali Mierzejewski, editor in chief at toy review site The Toy Insider. “But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.”
Barbie, for example, has shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. The Thomas the Tank Engine toy line added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll.
As part of the rebranding, Hasbro will release a new Potato Head playset this fall that will let kids create their own type of families, including two moms or two dads.
The Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will live on in some form, Hasbro said, but didn’t provide details. Both have appeared in the “Toy Story” movies.
Dropping the “Mr.” from its name could encourage other companies to stop assigning genders to its toys, a trend that has already been happening, said Mierzejewski. Barbie maker Mattel released a gender-neutral doll line in 2019. But Mr. Potato Head is one of the biggest brands to do so.
“It’s setting this new standard,” Mierzejewski said.
GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, applauded the genderless toy potato.
“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 Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s chief communications officer, in a statement.
Mr. Potato Head first hit the toy scene in 1952, when it didn’t even come with a plastic potato — kids had to supply their own vegetable to poke eyes, a nose or mustache into. Hasbro, which also makes Monopoly and My Little Pony, bought the brand and eventually added a plastic spud.