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Easy Bake ovens aren't just for girls anymore

Gavin Pope isn't like a lot of 4-year-old boys. Sure, he likes to play with dinosaurs. But he also likes to cook. So he's been pretty bummed because the number one gift on his Christmas list seems to be exclusively for girls. Luckily, his 13-year-old sister McKenna was willing to take up his quest for an Easy Bake Oven for boys.

"Is this really the message we want to send to our youth? I thought that as a society we had far moved past that. But no we continue to force the stereotype that men don't cook," McKenna says in a widely viewed YouTube video and Change.org petition to get Hasbro to make a gender-neutral color for the popular toy and include boys in the ads.

It clearly struck a chord. Over 40,000 signatures later, the company went back to the kitchen and cooked up a new model of the timeless classic. This week it unveiled a shiny new black and silver Easy Bake oven.

"It did seem like a very girly thing to me but maybe that's just because all the commercials were about pink and making cupcakes and doing girlish things," says Ross and Burbank host Luke Burbank.

Burbank says he's actually surprised the company didn't do it much sooner.

"For anybody who's championing it as Hasbro striking this great blow for gender equality it's like 'no doy.' They can sell many more of their products. Why wouldn't they?"

Guest co-host David Boze thinks Hasbro could go a lot farther to make the Easy Bake more appealing to young boys.

"I think race car, tractor and dinosaur would be among my first templates if I was trying to get that going. Maybe some giant robot looking Easy Bake oven or Godzilla," he laughs.

Hasbro welcomed McKenna to its headquarters this week to unveil the new model, but the company insists it had actually been in development for 18 months and pointed out it's offered a variety of colors since 1963 including green, yellow, silver, blue and purple.

Now that McKenna's gotten her way, she's going to have to take up a new cause - getting the Easy Bake oven to actually bake something thoroughly. Like many others, Luke has had to deal with disappointment of getting something half baked from the timeless toy.

"I just remember this one time trying to make something in one of those ovens and just being so psyched because I had seen the commercial. And I was just like this is going to be a delicious feast. And then getting some kind of half-cooked brownie goo out of there and just being very disillusioned."

But who knows. Maybe thanks to his sister and Hasbro, Gavin will become the next Tom Douglas. Or like most boys, he can always just smash it with his dinosaur.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com Reporter
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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