Mckenna Pope of Garfield, NJ has started a petition -- with just over 23,000 signatures at time of writing (including mine) -- to Hasbro, asking them to produce a gender-neutral version of the Easy-Bake Oven, so that her cooking-crazed little brother won't feel excluded from his passions:
My little brother has always loved cooking. Being in the kitchen is his favorite out of school activity, and he yearns to have the opportunity to cook on his own, or at least with limited help.
Imagine my surprise when I walked into his room to find him "cooking" tortillas by placing them on top of his lamp's light bulb! Obviously, this is not a very safe way for him to be a chef, so when he asked Santa for his very own Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, produced by the Hasbro company, for me to help him be the cook he's always wanted to be, my parents and I were immediately convinced it was the truly perfect present.
However, we soon found it quite appalling that boys are not featured in packaging or promotional materials for Easy Bake Ovens -- this toy my brother's always dreamed about. And the oven comes in gender-specific hues: purple and pink.
I feel that this sends a clear message: women cook, men work.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.