Another day, another manufactured outrage that’s somehow all trans people’s fault.
Hasbro, owner of the Mr Potato Head toy, is bringing out a new version that will have both male-appearing and female-appearing pieces in the same box so that you can make an entire family. Because the resulting potato heads can be male, female or either or neither, this product isn’t going to be called Mr Potato Head or Mrs Potato Head. It’s just going to be called Potato Head.
Mr Potato Head will still be sold as Mr Potato Head, and Mrs Potato Head will still be Mrs Potato Head. But that’s not what people are being told.
Sky: Mr Potato Head is no more as classic toy goes gender neutral
The Guardian: “Mr Potato Head loses ‘mister” as Hasbro opts for gender-neutral brand name
BBC: Mr Potato Head to lose “Mr” title in gender neutral rebrand
The Scotsman: Potato Head: Toy company remove the Mister from toy’s name in move to update their classic brands.
This, you’re being told, is the latest example of the Snowflake Woke Gender Police threatening civilisation as we know it. According to Piers Morgan, this shows that “woke imbeciles are destroying the world.”
It shows nothing of the sort, of course: it’s a great example of how toys don’t necessarily have to be labelled THIS IS FOR BOYS ONLY and THIS IS FOR GIRLS ONLY. And it’s also a great example of how right-wing contrarians will knowingly spread bullshit to inflame their audiences. Morgan knows he’s talking shite, but he doesn’t care.
The problem with this nonsense is that it gets used as supposed evidence against, you’ve guessed it, the sinister trans lobby. The comments are full of it, so for example on the Metro version of the story: “Yet again the trendy, wokey, snowflake minority are dictating to the majority… soon they’ll be scrapping titles like Mr, Mrs, Miss or even Ms… you can’t even say you prefer one gender over the other… what next? Trans barbie that hides the last turkey in the shop window under its skirt”
I think that last one is supposed to mean Barbie with a penis. Because if there’s one thing trans people want, it’s children’s toys with large, visible genitals.
I mean, honestly. This is nothing to do with us. I spent two hours in a Zoom meeting with over 50 trans people last night, and the topic of discussion wasn’t about the gender of toys or policing people’s language or any of the other things we’re supposedly about: it was about the completely broken trans healthcare system and the horrific delays facing trans people who require life-saving treatment. In a just world the trans healthcare crisis would be a national scandal, but in this one the media would rather just invent shit about us and spread it as widely as they can.
Like Baa Baa Green Sheep and “political correctness gone mad” in previous decades, these stories don’t care about reality: they exist to get people furious about the newspapers’ and broadcasters’ chosen enemies.
I saw an example of that today. Remember the story from the Times a few days ago that lied about inclusive language for pregnant people? (short version: guidance for NHS staff asked them not to be insensitive to trans men; The Times reported it as an NHS ban on the use of the word “mother”) It’s made its way across oceans with the US and Australian right-wing press reporting it as fact. Meanwhile in England, there really was a successful attempt to exclude people with language: the UK government changed the wording of a law specifically to exclude trans men by swapping the gender-neutral word “people” for “women”.
As ever, the people the right wing are telling you to fear are the ones they are silencing, demonising and marginalising. They can take their potatoes and shove them where the sun doesn’t shine.