How one smart cookie made a difference

I love it when kids buck the system and take charge, undaunted by their age. That’s what happened recently to a 13-year-old Jersey girl named McKenna Pope.

McKenna’s 4-year-old brother, Gavyn, loves to cook and asked for an “Easy Bake Oven” for Christmas. When his sister went to buy one, she found they only come in pink or purple, and the boxes and commercials only feature girls.

That didn’t sit right with McKenna so she started an online petition asking toy maker Hasbro to make the ovens in gender-neutral colors and add a dash of  boys to the packaging.

In less than a week, her online video and petition cooked up more than 44,000 signatures and she had caught the attention of celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Turns out Flay had an “Easy Bake” when he was a kid and remembered it fondly, despite the girly colors.

easybakeoven for boysHasbro got wind of McKenna’s efforts and invited her and her family to its Rhode Island headquarters Monday to hear her ideas and see their future models, which are more gender neutral. So Gavyn and Bobby will get their wish with a silver or black Easy Bake Oven when they roll out next year.

If you watch the video above you’ll see how smart and poised McKenna is in her plea to Hasbro. She saw a problem and instead of just complaining, decided to do something about it.

She showed her brother and the world that kids– with a little help from social media–  have the power to stir change.

That girl’s going places.

When I hear a story like that it makes me wish my kids had that kind of diligence, and tenacity. My boys (7, 9, and 12) are all smart and personable. I’d like to think they could do something enterprising like McKenna but so far, I don’t see any evidence of social consciousness.

Just a lot of sports stats, inappropriate song lyrics, and bodily function noises.

12-year-old Jacob can be extremely persistent when it comes to selfish causes, like lobbying for a cellphone upgrade or a sleepover. Maybe it will just take the right cause to awaken their sense of justice.

I’m going to tell my boys McKenna’s story and hope they get inspired.  Today an Easy Bake Oven for boys… tomorrow, who knows?

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One response to “How one smart cookie made a difference

  1. I love it!!! My kids got an Easy Bake Oven last year for Christmas. Not because they asked for one, but because I always wanted one as a kid and my parents refused to get me one. * Sigh * Yes, I’m living vicariously through my children’s tiny cakes and cookies.