A piece in yesterday’s Telegraph:
With his luxuriant moustache, there was little doubt that Mr Potato Head was the head of the household.
With his wife, Mrs Potato Head, and two children, Spud and Yam, he was the traditional father figure loved by children across the world for seven decades.
But no more as Hasbro, the world’s third-largest toy manufacture, signalled that the traditional nuclear family should not be set in stone.
Hasbro has decided that the Mr Potato Head brand will in future just be known as Potato Head.
The gender-neutral branding, which will appear on boxes later this year, is just one of the changes being introduced as the company wants to reflect the changing nature of family life.
Hasbro Senior Vice President Kimberly Boyd said that the existing gender identities were limiting.
Even though Mr and Mrs Potato head are not being killed off, the new range of toys will reflect cultural changes, taking into account single-parent and same-sex potato families.
“The iconic characters Mr and Mrs Potato Head will still live on as part of the brand along with the new variations Hasbro is introducing to reflect the diverse families found across the US,” a company spokesman told the Telegraph.
“New for 2021, we are introducing Create Your Potato Head Family, a product which will celebrate the many faces of families and allow kids to imagine and create their own Potato Head family.”
Potato Head is just the latest toy to be revamped to reflect modern – or what critics would call “woke” – tastes.
The change attracted ridicule on social media.
“When will the activists demand Joe Biden stops use of the ‘Come On, Man’ catchphrase? For inclusivity’s sake, it should be ‘Come On, Person!'” wrote Republican congresswoman, Lauren Bobert.
It is estimated that at least 100 million Mr – and Mrs – Potato Heads have been sold in 30 countries since the toy was created by Brooklyn inventor, George Lerner.
In its first incarnation, Mr Potato Head was made out of real potatoes, with children then creating their own character by sticking feet, hair, eyes and ears onto the vegetable.
Mr Potato Head found love in 1953 when he wed Mrs Potato Head. Their two children Yam and Spud arrived soon afterwards, along with their friends Kate the Carrot, Pete the Pepper, Oscar the Orange, and Cookie Cucumber.
By the 1960s, US toy safety laws forced a major redesign.
Concern at the danger posed by children making their own Mr Potato Heads by inserting sharp accessories into a vegetable, Hasbro brought out an all-plastic design.
In recent decades Mr Potato Head has continued to evolve. His pipe went in 1987 as part of a campaign to discourage smoking.
Then five years later he gave up his “couch potato” lifestyle. Only last year Mr Potato Head went green, with traditional plastic being replaced by a renewable plastic derived from sugar cane.
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