Mr. Potato head has been a popular children’s toy for nearly 70 years. However, as old as Mr. Potato head is, he never questioned his identity until recently.
According to Reuters, Hasbro has decided to drop the “Mr.” from the name, “Mr. Potato Head” in efforts to create a less gender-focus identity. Although many believe this to be a smart move for Hasbro; others will disagree.
To Support or Encourage LGTBQI+
I believe that dropping the “Mr.” from “Mr. Potato Head” creates an entirely new toy. Although I don’t have a problem with the change personally, it’s these small changes that turn into bigger ones.
As an American, I strongly believe in freedom. Therefore, if you are someone that would rather have your kids’ play with the gender neutral Potato Head-then I support your right to do so. However, I believe it is one thing to support the LGTBQI+ community and another to encourage. Let me further explain what I mean from these terms:
To support the LGTBQI+ community means to recognize them as the beautiful people they are. It is simply to acknowledge there differences and accept there choices, even if you disagree. For example, If I had a son who came out as gay-I’d be happy and supportive! However, I would not encourage him by dressing him in skirts myself. Nonetheless, if he wants to wear skirts, when he moves out then I’d support his choice.
To support the LGTBQI+ community means to simply recognize that people have the freedom to make these choices, completely on there own, with no outside influences. However, to encourage is LGTBQI+ values is a completely different thing. In my personal opinion, most people do not care if a man is wearing make-up. However, we start to care when we’re suddenly told to dress our in our sons in make-up because if you don’t-your homophobic.
Throughout my college career, I was required to take courses that encouraged gender identify in the classroom. For instance, I learned that sex and gender are two different things. Let me break this down for those who never heard of this before:
Sex is what you are born with; whereas gender is what you identify as. Therefore, if you are born as a boy (sex) you can still identity as girl (gender).
Anyways, I started to notice this mindset of encouragement when a professor of mine had me identity my sex and gender. Naturally, I identified my sex and gender as female (which really just means your straight). However, I was shocked when my professor and several peers responded saying, “Oh, well you don’t know until you try.” I thought to myself-well yes, I do- I know that I don’t have to kiss girls to know that I don’t want to. Nonetheless, this class comment made me feel as if I was expected to try the other team. By the end of this class discussion, I was very confused. In all honestly, I think I questioned whether or not I was straight for the rest of the day lol. Although this class activity confused me, it taught me one thing: is easy to question your identity when the world encourages you too.
The Encouragement Affect On Children
In 2019, the state of IL adopted The Inclusive Curriculum Law. This law mandates that student’s will learn about LGTBQI+ contributors by the time they reach 8th grade. Therefore, LGTBQI+ figures will be introduced just like any other. In all honesty, when I first heard about this law, I found it to be nice adjustment. After all, why not include some LGTBQI+ figures in a history curriculum? This could be fun and interesting! However, as we fast forward to 2021, we discover that schools are trying to do much more then introduce some LGTBQI+ figures.
According to the NYPost, lawmakers have introduced legislation that will mandate children to learn about gender identity as young as kindergarten. The article further states that children will learn about hormone blockers at age 8 and experience lectures on: vaginal, oral, and anal sex at age 11. In addition, student’s will also study a series of gender identities such as: queer, two-spirit, asexual, pansexual and more.
Now, as an Education Major-I learned about these topics in college and personally found them confusing. Therefore, if I-an adult found them confusing and uncomfortable, then why would a child not feel the same way? I personally, would much rather see children enjoying there childhood then having them question there own identity. This proposed law made me realize that this encouragement is getting a little out of hand. Why can’t we just go back to the days where kids can be kids again?
Once again, I do not believe that the gender fluid “Potato Head” is the problem, as the issue is much greater. After all, it is this continuous effort to encourage LGTBQI+ values within our schools that we need to worry about. I believe that children are vulnerable; therefore, we must be mindful in what we teach, along with the toys they play with.
Anyways, please stay tuned for my next article on the importance of identity in child development! Also, I’ve linked the sources and bill below! Feel free to have a look and let me know what you think in the comments!