Dear Lego, I Have A Girl

Dear Lego,

I hear you have created some new Ladyfigs for girls.  The slimmed down, “attractive” Ladyfigs can play in pre-created scenes such as at a café or beach.

There is an awesome one called "Olivia's Inventor's Workshop," where Olivia does chemistry, robotics and complex math, but the truth is that the vast majority of the Ladyfig sets are not geared toward science, math, adventure or exploration.  Those sets are over in the Boy Aisle.

The new Girls Legos are wrapped in an explosion of pink and purple packaging in order to appeal to girls.

I believe you when you say that you have based these toys off of research that tells you “this is what girls want.”

Because this is what you and other mass retailers have told them they should want.  Children will listen.  Children and their parents will start to believe you when you constantly tell them that pink is for girls and blue is for boys.

Children will agree when you tell them every day in every way that girls like parties and make-up while boys like adventure and building.

And then when you ask the girls what they want to play with, they will dutifully answer, “princesses and jewelry, make-up and flowers.”  But it is an answer you have manufactured, with your traditional Legos that have been placed in the “Boys Aisles” and depicted in commercials with a smattering of little boys.

You know, Lego, I have a girl.  Last year you sent her a lovely generous collection of Star Wars Lego kits after learning that she had been taunted for being a girl who loves Star Wars.

K has a voice.  Why don’t you ask her what she thinks about the Ladyfigs?  K likes to play with Legos.  She traipses into the Boy Aisles to pick out Harry Potter Legos and Star Wars Legos.  Now, the taunt that those toys are “only for boys” will be roundly reinforced when she sees the new Ladyfigs in the Girl Aisles.

K is a girl.  K even likes pink, and I have no doubt she will enjoy the Ladyfigs.  But she also likes Star Wars and Harry Potter.  Why can’t K choose which toys to play with instead of being told which toys to play with?  Why can’t she play with both?

And what of the boys who want to play with the beach scenes and pool scenes?  I guess they are going to be told yet again that those toys are for girls and that they are doing something wrong if they buy them.

You see, this is how stereotypes are perpetuated.  And stereotypes lead to fear of those who are different.  I know.  I have a little girl who is different.  Different because she is adopted.  Different because she wears glasses.  And now, different because she will be a girl in the Boy Aisle buying the Boy Legos.

If you conduct research, but you have molded the environment in which the research subjects live, your results should be questioned.

We love Legos.  Don’t let us down.  Ask some more questions, and listen to the answers.

A Lego mom,

Portrait of an Adoption

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  • I don't think it's so much a lego problem as a store-merchandising problem. Why is there even a boy lego isle and a girl lego isle? I get that there are a LOT more legos than when I was a kid (of which I had a million), but what ever happened to the generic LEGO isle?

  • Whole lot of a ruckus about nothing. I have never once seen boy & girl Lego aisles, and we buy a lot of Legos. Lego makes a startling array of Lego kits in various sizes, themes, price points & there's nothing about any of their kits that would make a girl feel like they're not made for her, UNLESS what she wanted was pink & purple, princess-themed bricks. Now, those options are available too! There's Harry Potter, Atlantis, Lego City, Architecture, Aliens, Sponge Bob, Power Functions, etc. The possibilities are truly endless & limited only by one's imagination. Any creative, adventurous girl could enjoy any of the sets if she enjoys building and imaginative play.

  • My daughter also loves Star Wars, but she also loves princesses. To me there is nothing wrong with that. I understand the movement to empower girls to play with things outside of their gender stereotype. The problem is what is really wrong with princess, pink and play kitchens? Why can't little girls dress like princesses while they play with their Star Wars action figures, while pretending to bake a cake before scooting off to build a boat at their toy workbench? Can't girls like both? My daughter's first Lego set was a Star Wars set, though she's excited for the inventors workshop and she likes the figures.
    Lego did a lot of research to find out what would sell. That is good business sense. The change is not going to come from the businesses, the change is going to come from parents. They need to let the boys know it's ok to play with dolls, pretend to vacuum or cook, and they need to tell the girls that it's ok to play with action figures, or build things. When the demand changes, when kids want something different, then the business will change. That is what will sell.

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    Here's an article you might be interested in: http://www.hlntv.com/article/2011/12/21/boys-and-pink-lego-friends-gender-stereotypes

    I really enjoy reading your entries are gender stereotypes, and how they're harmful to both boys and girls.

  • I think you would appreciate this little girl's sentiment: http://gma.yahoo.com/video/news-26797925/little-girl-riley-angry-over-pink-stuff-toys-27718422.html

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    Lego used to be like this:
    http://jezebel.com/5317672/why-cant-there-be-more-ads-like-this-today

    What happened?

  • I can totally relate to this! I have a 20 year old who loved the yellow power ranger and everthing related to power rangers! she also loves star wars and spiderman. I really enjoyed your blog and agree with it 100%~ but i also think the stores need to put all toys together.. and quit seperating them according to gender. Put barbie next to superman.. who knows.. they might make a love connection!!!

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