Are American audiences ready for sophisticated messages about gender?

As marketers try to catch up to the latest science around gender identity and update products for modern consumers, they must take care to bring their audiences along for the ride.

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When it comes to a discussion about gender, many Americans aren’t ready for a nuanced discussion about the identity politics, structural injustices and concerns that come with it.

When Gillette tried in 2019 to have a conversation about toxic masculinity, the blowback was intense online as some audiences felt attacked by the brands’ call for men to “strive to be better.” Later that year, the brand shared another ad, this time featuring a transgender man experiencing his first shave, which won some applause on social media.

However, the debate on gender in American culture is not settled, as evidenced by the flare up over Hasbro’s decision to drop the “Mr.” from its Potato Head toy in an attempt to offer a more inclusive experience to children.

AP reported:

“While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD,” the company tweeted.

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