LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Mr. Potato Head, a popular child’s toy perhaps best known from Disney’s “Toy Story” franchise, is going gender neutral.
Hasbro, the company that makes the 70-year-old potato-shaped plastic toy, is giving the spud a new name: Potato Head. The change will appear on boxes this year.READ MORE: Airbnb Blocks Some One-Night Rentals For July Fourth Weekend To Help Prevent Parties
As of Thursday, the official Hasbro website still included the “Mr. Potato Head” branding on its toys.
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.
“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.”
Many toymakers have been updating their classic brands in recent years, hoping to relate to kids today and to reflect more modern families.READ MORE: COVID Vaccination Site Opens In Chinatown To Help Area Seniors With Access
Barbie, for example, has shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. Thomas the Tank Engine added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll.
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 potato.
The switch comes as state lawmakers in Sacramento are backing legislation to require retailers to offer a gender-neutral format for toys and other children’s products
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) co-introduced the bill along with Assemblyman Evan Low (D–Cupertino) that, if passed, would fine stores up to $1,000 for separating products or clothing based on gender.
Under the bill, stores would be required to display most products and clothing for children in a “unisex” area and would be prohibited from any signage to indicate gender for items being sold.MORE NEWS: Former LASD Deputy Gets 7 Years In Federal Prison For $2M Marijuana Heist
(Copyright 2021 CBS Corp. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.)