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Iconic toy Mr. Potato Head goes gender neutral

NEW YORK: The Mr. Potato Head brand is going gender neutral, the company that makes the popular plastic toy announced.

Hasbro said in a statement it was dropping the honorific from the logo and packaging “to promote gender equality and inclusion.” From later this year, the toy launched almost 70 years ago, will officially be known as “Potato Head.”

“Hasbro today announced the iconic brand will be reimagined for the modern consumer,” read an initial statement on the manufacturer’s website.

A non-gender-specific family of the toy, in which children add facial characteristics and clothes to the body of plastic spuds, will hit shelves in the fall.

It “is a celebration of the many faces of families,” Hasbro said in a later statement that clarified that individual Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters would continue to exist in some form.

They “aren’t going anywhere,” the new release said, without providing any more information. The updated statement also dropped the earlier reference to equality and inclusion.

Mr. Potato Head first went on sale in 1952. On the back of its success, Mrs. Potato Head, along with traditional feminized accessories, was launched the following year.

“The way the brand currently exists — with the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mrs.’ — is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure,” Hasbro general manager Kimberly Boyd told a business magazine. “Culture has evolved,” she added.

The move follows other updates to classic brands, including Barbie, who was initially known for being tall, white and blonde but now comes in a range of ethnicities and body shapes. In 2019, global toy giant Mattel released a line of gender-neutral dolls.