It’s 2013 and Kinder eggs just became gender-specific
Recently, 13-year-old McKenna Pope from New Jersey began a campaign to create gender-neutral packaging and designs for Easy-Bake Ovens. Many years earlier, Kinder Surprise launched a girl-specific line of their famous chocolate eggs, appropriately pink-coloured and marketed alongside Barbie’s face.
Actually, the events were only months apart, with Pope’s work beginning towards the end of 2012, and Kinder’s pink egg appearing in early 2013 after the gender-neutral oven was available in stores. It’s difficult to understand how the two toy-and gender-centered events could occur within such a short time period, let alone in the same decade.
As a longtime lover of Kinder Surprise eggs and all of the associated spin-offs (Kinder Bueno, Schoko Buns, those delicious Kinder sticks that perfectly concentrate the Kinder flavour into a candy bar), the move by Ferrero, the Italian company behind Kinder products, to blatantly ignore the popular movement towards gender-neutrality comes off as more than a little odd.
Especially in the setting of the U of G, where the gender-neutral bathroom challenge is currently taking place, the gender-specific nature of the new eggs seems to exist in complete opposition to the beliefs of at least a few (likely many) people in this modern day and age. More than that, the idea that all girls are attracted to pink, and love dolls/cute animals/pretty things is outdated as well as completely insulting to females, and people who identify with the gender.
The concept is also confusing, particularly to people who ate Kinder eggs as children, and never seemed to mind, or even contemplate, whether the toys were intended for boys or girls. Because, really, who thinks about stuff like that as a child, unless some company decides that their advertising or packaging will be geared towards males or females. (The “creative” decision for instance to sell Barbie dolls in pink cases and Hot Wheels in blue is the spawn of such decision-making, and one we’re all familiar with.)
Seemingly only small colour choices, the effects of this colour coding and the associated gender-specificity are considerable.
For one, there have been innumerable studies, reports, and just plain old news articles looking at the links between childhood toy choices and one’s future sexuality. It is not enough to simply declare a particular sexuality and be done with it. We have to trace the development of a specific sexuality right to the beginning of its “pollination” in the individual, often for the benefit of worried parents.
And the process starts with looking at toys and the innocent child, who has no idea why they picked up a Lego box instead of a Bratz doll, or why they go to the clothing aisles rather than the video game section upon entering a store.
Thanks to Kinder, children everywhere can heave a sigh of relief. Now, they have one more way to check and double-check if they are aligning their outward actions with the way that they happen to look on the outside.
The “girl” eggs also reveal the backwards thinking of high-up business individuals working for Ferrero in terms of gender equality. After all, there are no male-specific eggs, which means that the company didn’t feel the need to segregate boys from the general population.
After decades (and possibly centuries, depending on your analysis) of women trying to demonstrate their potential outside of their socially-imposed femininity, Ferrero transports us back to a time period when women predominantly cooked, cleaned, and wore pretty dresses. And of course, loved pastels and pink. This pink egg cannot be the summation of the gender equality for which society has worked towards since the early 20th century.
For the good of the consumer’s psyche, I suggest Ferrero quickly return their essentialist gender idea to the Kinder vault, and maybe start working on a Kinder ice cream or something that Kinder lovers like me will eat without experiencing psychological torment. I don’t want to think about whether I’m advancing or reversing the work of the LGBTQ community and gender equality activists by picking up a pink Kinder egg that happens to be on my way to the cash register. And, I don’t want the latter to be represented by such a minute action.
I just want to eat my chocolate in peace.
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