Easy Bake Oven

Standard

It was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and I was in a Wal-Mart in the metro area of a large city in the Southwest. I was in a hurry. I’d grabbed what I needed and was booking it to the check out counter to pay for my purchases and get the hell out of there.

On the outskirts of the toy department, I saw an endcap stacked with boxes of Easy Bake Ovens.

I always wanted one of those and never got one, I thought idly.

Then I saw a young boy pictured on the box.

That’s nice, I thought. Hasbro is showing that boys like to bake too. Inclusivity is a wonderful thing…

Then I thought, WAIT! WHAT? as I realized the boy was dominating the use of the Easy Bake Oven.

Ever hear about those studies of toy advertisements that show boys are depicted as being more active while girls are depicted as passive? Thought that kind of thing went out of fashion in the 70s or maybe the 80s at the latest? Uh, no. We’re living in the second decade of the 21st century, and I’m showing you a real world example of sexism aimed right at kids.

So yeah, the boy is taking the active role in the baking game while the girls look on in admiration and wonder. Wow! the girl in the middle seems to be thinking, He sure can slide in that cookie sheet! (Gag! I hadn’t even thought of the sexual undertones of having the boy slide something long and thin into a small opening until I started ranting here. How could that seem like a good idea to the Hasbro’s marketing people?)

The girl in the purple shirt seems to be adoring his baking prowess.

In an article called “Care Bears vs. Transformers: Gender Stereotypes in Advertisements” (http://www.sociology.org/care-bears-vs-transformers-gender-stereotypes-in-advertisements/), references a study by B.A. Browne published in the Journal of Advertising in 1998 [Browne, B.A. (1998), “Gender stereotypes in advertising on children’s television in the 1990s: a cross-national analysis”.  Journal of Advertising, 27 (1), 83-97.] The study

provides further evidence of the substantial gender stereotyping that is found in advertisements.  According to Browne,

Boys appeared in greater numbers, assumed more dominant roles, and were more active and aggressive than girls. (p. 12)  In commercials containing both boys and girls, boys were significantly more likely to demonstrate and/or explain the product even when the product used was not sex-typed.

So um, yeah, Hasbro, sociologists already know this kind of gender stereotyping is a problem. You too should know it’s a problem and YOU SHOULDN’T DO IT!

While I’m ranting, can I point out just how white that group of kids looks? I know we can’t determine everything there is to know about a person’s ethnic and cultural heritage by the tone of her or his skin (and maybe the girl in the purple shirt is Latinx), but some diversity in skin tone could have gone a long way here.

What can parents do to combat this sexism and racism? Contact Hasbro and call them out on it. Send them links to this blog if you like. More importantly, talk to your kids–your girls AND your boys about this kind of gender stereotyping and racism. Point it out and have a discussion when only white kids are pictured playing with a certain toy. Tell your girls they don’t have to look at a boy with adoration simply because he knows his way around the kitchen, and tell your boys not to expect a girl to think they’re the greatest things since sliced bread just because they can put cookies in an oven.

In my ideal world, all people will take turns baking for each other because baking is fun and a cupcake is a lovely gift.

I took the photo in this post.

 

3 Responses »

  1. Nothing has changed in the 21st century that hasn’t been going on for thousands of years — more’s the pity. It has simply been more refined. If you went to a really nice restaurant and had a spectacular dinner, and then wanted to speak to the chef to say how much you loved it, would you expect a man? Probably — you’ve been programmed to expect that. Men are the chefs, women are the salad fixers and dish washers. Despite the fact that women have prepared most family meals for the last 10,000 years or more.

    Every facet of our thinking is manipulated. Back in the 1930s, the Nazis used tiny amounts of a tasteless, odorless powder put in the food to keep the Holocaust victims docile in their prisons. You would probably never guess what it was: FLUORIDE. You know — that stuff that that’s in nearly every water supply in America, and that you brush your teeth with twice a day? Yeah, that’s the stuff. And the kicker? It doesn’t do anything to prevent cavities. Only good nutrition prevents cavities, from the inside, out. The thyroid gland keeps your memory working and your brain functioning. Start ingesting Fluoride, and it shuts down most of the access from the thyroid to the brain, and you get stupid people. (Do you see much of that around?)

    It also affects our genes and their functions. Research at the International Institute for the Study of Human Reproduction, Columbia University of College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the University of Missouri have proven beyond all doubt that fluoride damages our genes even in the small amounts received in water supplies. Forty years ago, when I was young, we didn’t have the horrendous number of medical conditions that we have now: cancer, autism, ADD, ADHD, Down’s Syndrome, Asperger’s, depression, anorexia, postpartum depression, schizophrenia, bulimia, hoarding disorder, pedophilia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers and Dementia, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, domestic violence, overwhelming drug use, suicides and many, many others. Two-thirds of the 33,000 gun deaths in the U.S. are suicides. A third are homicides, half of whom are young men, and two-thirds of them are black (maybe inner city neighborhoods get an extra dose of Fluoride?).

    Guess what else FLUOride is in? Heard of Prozac, the third most-prescribed antidepressant? It has 26 other product names/synonyms, but it’s real name is FLUOxetine Hydrochloride. Here’s it’s Material Safety & Data Sheet: http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9924084 If you look at Section 3, it says “CARCINOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. MUTAGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. TERATOGENIC EFFECTS: Not available. DEVELOPMENTAL TOXICITY: Not available.

    There seems to be a lot of “not available” information on something so widely used. Or, they know exactly, and just aren’t saying?

    The substance may be toxic to liver, central nervous system (CNS). Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage.” In Section 11, it gives a looooong list of Toxic Effects that is 22 lines long!

    Now, add ingestion of Fluoride and advertising mind control of the type you posted…. DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM HERE?

    By the way, it took me a full 15 minutes at WalMart to search all the toothpastes, ask for help at the pharmacy counter to find a fluoride-free toothpaste, and with the young woman’s help, I finally found a tube in the children’s toothpaste section called HELLO, for $4. I am within a local water department in my small town, and they don’t add Fluoride, and they only add chlorine once a year to clean the holding tanks. When I hit the road, I’ll have to find some way to filter fluoride out of the water. At FluorideAlert.org website http://fluoridealert.org/content/top_ten/ they say that most water filters DON’T filter out fluoride. Whooppee.

Leave a Reply