Bette Midler Speaks Out About Mr. Potato Head

by Thad Mitchell

Outspoken actress Bette Midler has a few things to say about the recent decision of toy company Hasbro to “rebrand” their Mr. Potato Head toy.

The toy company said last week that it will re-release the famous child’s toy as the gender-neutral “Potato Head.” Bette Midler is no stranger to controversy and often uses her platform on social media to express her thoughts and opinions. However, her thoughts on the Potato Head controversy have taken some of her followers by surprise. The politically outspoken actress says in a Monday tweet that parents of young children should be more concerned about how Potato Heads’ parts are stored.

“#Hasbro announced they are removing ‘Mr.’ from Mr. Potato Head’s label, but that Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head will still exist,” she writes. “I can’t believe people are worried about THAT, when what they SHOULD be worried about is how you store a bunch of dismembered body parts in the potato’s a**!”

Hasbro’s decision to make the lovable toy gender-neutral has sparked a great deal of conversation on a national stage. Company Senior Vice President of Global Brands and General Manager Kimberly Boyd says the decision reflects an evolving culture.

“Culture has evolved,” she says to 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.”

Bette Midler Tweet Draws Attention and Discussion

Bette Midler’s tweet set off a fire storm of social media responses and political conversation. Some say the controversy is overblown and that Hasbro is guilt of being “hypervigilan.”

“People worry about the strangest things, and its the absolute minority who wreck it for the majority,” one commenter says. “Some really sad people out there. The fear of upsetting one or two overwhelms society. We really need to stop pandering and live a little.”

Another social media user takes a different side of the discussion on Bette Midler’s tweet but comes out with the same result.

“While I’m all for not pushing gender on clothes and toys, who as a child only used the Mr. parts and the Mrs. parts separately?” the commenter says. “Didn’t we all just mix them up? Kids know it doesn’t matter. Why couldn’t they just make a potato without a gender and keep the Mr. and Mrs.?”

With discussion on gender neutrality not going away anytime soon, it is likely the debate over this popular toy will continue on.