On Thursday, the internet got confused as it was announced that Mr. Potato Head is no longer a mister. Hasbro, the company that makes the potato-shaped plastic toy, is giving the spud a gender neutral new name: Potato Head.
The change will appear on boxes this year.
Toy makers have been updating their classic brands to appeal to kids today. Barbie has shed its blonde image and now comes in multiple skin tones and body shapes. Thomas the Tank Engine added more girl characters. And American Girl is now selling a boy doll.
Hasbro said Mr. Potato Head, which has been around for about 70 years, needed a modern makeover.
Kimberly Boyd, a Hasbro executive who works on the Potato Head brand, told Fast Company that kids love the toy because it provides a canvas onto which they can project their own experiences.
“The sweet spot for the toy is two to three years old. Kids like dressing up the toy, then playing out scenarios from their life. This often takes the form of creating little potato families, because they’re learning what it means to be in a family.”
The Potato Heads played into this tendency to create families over the decades. In 2012, the toy giant celebrated Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head‘s 60th wedding anniversary with a boxed set featuring the couple.
The company shared their desire to stop leaning so heavily into this traditional family structure. “Culture has evolved,” she tells Fast Company. “Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists—with the “Mr.” and “Mrs.”—is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”