Conservative parents are boiling at a decision by Hasbro to play with the names of popular kids’ toy Mr Potato Head.
But calm your plastic farms, everyone’s favourite married Potato couple isn’t going anywhere – here’s what’s really going on.
Hasbro sparked outrage and confusion online when it announced the Mr Potato Head brand would go gender neutral. Well, sort of.
The manufacturer announced on Thursday (US time) that it planned to drop the “Mr” from its famous spud, setting off a fracas in a frying pan.
Hasbro has been making the potato-shaped plastic toy for nearly 70 years. It said it decided to drop the honorific to ensure “all feel welcome in the Potato Head world”.
The company also announced the release of a new Potato Head play set that will let kids put their own unique spin on their potato families.
That’s right, kids will be able to dress their plastic potatoes up however they like – including making two mums or two dads. The world is their potato.
Predictably, social media went wild – with some outlandish takes.
“How woke and pathetic is it that Mr Potato Head is having a name change to just Potato Head so it’s classed as gender neutral… world’s gone mad!” wrote one Twitter user.
But much of the outrage was due to a misunderstanding about the decision, which Hasbro was quick to clarify.
The toymaker hastily explained that Mr and Mrs Potato Head will still exist. Only the branding on the box will change.
“While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I am proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD,” the company tweeted.
Editor in chief at toy review site The Toy Insider Ali Mierzejewski told Associated Press that kids want toys to imitate their life.
“It’s a potato,” Ms Mierzejewski said.
“But kids like to see themselves in the toys they are playing with.”
The move to change the name to something more inclusive also sparked some hilarious pseudo-backlash on Twitter.
“Political correctness has gone too far this time. Who will my son – who is a potato – look up to now?!” one user tweeted.
“Corporations wants us to teach our sons (who are potatoes) to be ashamed of their mashedulinity. We won’t stand for it!!”
Columnist Jessica Valenti also sarcastically slammed the move.
“How dare Hasbro de-gender our most beloved traditional male archetype: The potato,” she tweeted.
Mr and Mrs Potato Head are not the first classic toy brand to be updated to stay relatable.
For example, Mattel has made multiple changes to Barbie over the years to update her image.
Barbie is no longer just a blonde living her fantastic life in plastic, she now comes with a variety of hair colours, skin tones and body shapes.