It’s amazing how gendered toys are. If you see an action figure, you think boy. If you see a barbie, you think girl. If you see a boy with a barbie, you think gay. And now LEGO is saying if you see LEGOs, you should think boy – that is, unless it’s a LadyFigs LEGO set (pictured below), then you should think girl girl girl.
In releasing the LadyFigs and beginning a “LEGO for Girls” (my name, not theirs) ad campaign, LEGO has stated that they want to open up the product to the other 50% of the world. Hey, LEGO, in case you didn’t know, your products have always been open to 100% of the population – the same 100% of the population you’re now alienating by taking such a 60s approach to reinforcing stale, unhealthy gender roles.
Update: When I wrote this article, a petition was active on Change.org. Part of my goal in writing it was to help convince folks to sign the petition using my top 10 frustrations with this campaign:
10. The LEGO set in the picture is barely even a LEGO set, and more of a dollhouse. Are girls not able to piece LEGOs together themselves to make create a gender-stereotypical box in which they can mold themselves?
9. Diamonds? Seriously?! The hairbrush is one thing, LEGO, but diamonds the size of ostrich eggs? I think that’s one step too far. The girl is seven. I think the purse is already pushing it.
8. Is that a diary on her bed? Oh wait, let me guess: there is another set with a kitchen theme and it comes with a cookbook.
7. There are plenty of gender assignments subliminally attached to toys, we don’t need overt ones. LEGO going out of their way to say “these are for girls” means they aren’t for boys, and traditional LEGOs (AKA fun LEGOs) aren’t for girls.
6. LEGO is a powerful, trend-setting company; we don’t need trends that reverse progress. What if other toy companies did the same thing? Ohwait.
5. Diamonds? Seriously, seriously?! I can’t get over that. Are those actually mock diamonds? I really want to punch my computer screen in the face.
4. Girls don’t need LEGO telling them they aren’t as creative or ingenuitive as boys. They already hear that every day from television, their teachers, and, in sad cases, their parents.
3. Boys don’t need LEGO telling them they need to be more creative and ingenuitive than girls. What if a boy wants to sit in front of a mirror, surrounded by diamonds, and brush his hair? LEGO says, “no, sir.”
2. Toys should be marketed to kids, not boys or girls. Guess what, if you do this well, you’ll have twice (that’s 200%) the effective audience for your ads, AND you won’t be subliminally restricting children’s futures. Win win.
1. Why do the girls get all the pretty colors? Yeah, why?