Josh’s View | So I guess we’re debating plastic potatoes now

The Potato Head toy line is just a cog in the machine of consumer products changing its standards in a more tolerant world. But what does this mean for classic toy fans?


Courtesy of Flickr

Joshua LeBerte, Contributing Writer

Parties divided. Religious observations in question. All in pursuit of one answer: is Mr. Potato Head really “Mister Potato Head?” 

It all began on Feb. 25. Hasbro, the multinational toy conglomerate, dropped the courtesy title from its highly successful potato toy Mr. Potato Head, a prospect that has remained consistent since the toy’s inception in 1952.

Earlier that day, the multinational toy and game conglomerate released a corporate message onto its website. Attached was a product release trailer alongside a written announcement

Hasbro said the decision to drop the “Mr.” in “Mr. Potato Head” was to better suit the entire line of toys including the Mrs. Potato Head and other potato family toy sets.

“Rest assured, the iconic Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters aren’t going anywhere and will remain Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head,” the company said. 

The statement also promoted an upcoming mix-and-match potato family toy set complete with two adult potatoes and one baby potato alongside 42 changeable accessories. This toy set, as seen in the video, makes it possible for the potato family to include two fathers or two mothers. The toy set will release this fall.

“With Potato Head, there’s no wrong way to play,” the video said.

Following quick criticisms, the company reached out to consumers over Twitter in an attempt to double down on the characters’ titles. The tweet was published on the same day.

“Hold that tot,” Hasbro said. “Your main spud, Mr. Potato head isn’t going anywhere! While it was announced today that the Potato Head brand name & logo are dropping the ‘Mr.’ I yam proud to confirm that Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head aren’t going anywhere and will remain Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head.”

Some users said the company made the tweet to backpedal from the sudden backlash.

One user said the toy company needs to pick a side and stick to it.

Other Twitter users went beyond the original tweet to speak for or against the company’s marketing decision.

One political analyst, David Brody, took to the transphobic, anti-scientific adage of ‘‘there are only two genders,” which discredited intersex people or individuals born with genitals, internal sex organs or chromosome combinations that do not adhere to the gender binary and also discredited non-binary people, who are usually not intersex but have gender identities that do not adhere to the gender binary. 

It’s an argument that’s malignant at worst and misguided at best.


Brody was prompted to answer former Human Rights Campaign press secretary Charlotte Clymer in his replies.

When asked how he knew Mr. Potato Head was in truth a mister, Brody went for secondary sex characteristics—traits that can be manipulated or not manipulated due to hormonal imbalance or changes.

Insert all the possible face palms. 

Secondary sex characteristics are not necessarily synonymous with one particular sex over the other. Though biological men might be more likely to grow facial hair or be taller than biological women, there are countless amounts of members of either sex who stray away from the norm. There should be no rhetoric to suffice an argument this ignorant.

For example, biological women may develop hirsutism, a form of hair growth on the chest, back and face similar to male pattern hair growth. Similarly, biological men may develop gynecomastia, the development of breast tissue in one or both breasts as a result of a hormonal imbalance of estrogen or androgen.

Clymer proceeded to school the Christian Broadcasting Network commentator. Some might call this unlikely “beef” unnecessary, but Brody has a platform of nearly 30,000 followers. He needs to have a critic set him straight.

While some users continued to duke it out, others simply wanted peace.

I simply could not agree more.

Hasbro has not since tweeted anymore on the matter. The company has remained hushed on the platform as of Feb. 28, with its latest tweet announcing an upcoming Peppa Pig toy collection celebrating the show’s 10th anniversary.

Who would’ve thought that in a world where countless older adults point the finger at Millennials and Gen Z-ers for being overly stimulated by conservative opinions that a mere toy company could get those same older people up in arms? It is a potato. A potato. A vegetable that already has no apparent primary or secondary sex characteristics. 

I don’t see why Hasbro needed to gender the potato toy anyways. As I said, it’s a potato. Wouldn’t it be more accurate for the potato to be gender neutral to begin with? How are so many people upset with a toy conglomerate for removing a label that never made sense in the first place? 

While I hate to politicize or appear to politicize deaths plaguing the nation, there are bigger fish to fry. COVID-19 continues to kill countless Americans even as conservatives ramble at audiences about a vegetable-themed toy not having the appropriate nonexistent private parts.