Freaky pervert spudfamily. Image by Hasbro, Inc.

Toymaker Hasbro threw the Wingnuttosphere into a minor tizzy with the news today that later this year, it plans to (mostly) make its Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head toys gender neutral, dropping the gendered identifiers and marketing the toy simply as Potato Head.

The Associated Press reports.

Many toymakers have been updating their classic brands in recent years, hoping to relate to kids today and to reflect more modern families.

"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."

But... but that's HORRIBLE and POLITICALLY CORRECT! Children should be given toys that strictly limit their perceptions of the world, because as we all know, the maintenance of entirely separate toy options for boys and girls has up until now prevented anyone from departing from traditional gender expectations.

In response to the news, we imagine the Family Research Council has embarked on a crash time travel research program so its operatives can zoom back to 1972 and keep Free to Be ... You and Me from ever airing, so no one will ever hear the song "William Wants a Doll."



It didn't take much time for the Usual Culture War Suspects to start griping. Sean Hannity's website, as is its wont, wrote up a straight-news story based on the AP coverage, then slapped on the moral panic headline, "MR POTATO HEAD CANCELED: Hasbro to Drop 'Gendered Toy', Will Release 'Potato Head' This Year," complete with this confusing photoshopped image, which seems designed to duggest Potato Head will be some kind of wacky crossdressing MAN potato wearing a dress, but with his hairy legs showing.

But the AP explains that

As part of the rebranding, Hasbro will release a new Potato Head playset 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.

You hear that? Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head aren't going away. There's just going to be a new Potato Head playset!

Not that the culture warriors were mollified in the least, because nothing makes for a good moral panic like the notion that someone else is raising their children wrong, which extends to such important hot-button issues as whether an Easy Bake oven is pink like God intended it to be.

Hasbro tweeted that despite the name change, gendered potatoes would remain available, albeit with the new, title-less name, for all the good it'll do:

Former CNN host Piers Morgan was aghast that Hasbro is doing gender politics "in the middle of a pandemic," which may indicate a certain confusion on his part as to what line of business Hasbro is in. Does he think the "Operation" game involves the provision of actual medical care?

We do have to say we were impressed by this incisive satirical-but-also-serious lament about all the lost brands from a guy calling himself a "Citizen Reporter & Video Journalist, Deplorable, [and] Soldier in America's Culture War."

Yes, the pathetic fart lozenge apparently believes the dumb rumor that Paw Patrol was cancelled by Black Lives Matter, which of course never happened. (LOL update from the shitposter who claims to have started that rumor, and seems to have receipts, not to mention retweets.)

As for Morgan, he couldn't shut up about it. He also wants those responsible found and sacked, as it were.

That tweet at least offers an interesting insight into how culture war discourse unfolds: As with the rightwing blather over "happy holidays" (or more seriously, racial diversity), the conservative moral panic sees only loss and destruction of what they think should be their precious norms. Hasbro can't possibly be trying to broaden the toy's appeal to a wider market, heavens no! It can only be kowtowing to some imagined liberal busybody who's offended by Mr. Potato Head's having a gender.

Dude. Nobody complained. Most likely, someone in the marketing department figured that if you package the plastic potato bodies with an assortment of accessories that could make the potato a boy, a girl, or neither, then you're selling a bigger collection of plastic doodads and potentially expanding your market appeal.

Similarly, if American culture recognizes that all Americans should be able to participate equally in political life and the economy, that will move us toward the promises of the Declaration of Independence. Or at least it'll help keep whitey down.

OPEN THREAD!

[AP]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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