I’m not sure if you have heard yet, but Lego Friends are coming soon:
Lego Is for Girls
Why, how condescending! Last I checked, I was a girl, and you know what? I grew up loving Legos. I still do – we have all of my husband’s childhood pieces, and they take up most of the cupboard in our daughter’s room. She has a few Duplo kits (and a big bucket of Duplo waiting under the tree!), and we are… were… looking forward to building and creating and playing with her. I don’t know that I can in good conscience give money, any money, to a company that has decided even more strongly that my sex/gender *need* little boobied dolls amongst our Lego pieces to have fun. After all, I’m the eldest of four children, three of whom are girls, and not a one of us needed, wanted, or desired vapid little fashionistas in our play. To the contrary – I only ever played with dolls when tutoring the two mentally retarded girls next door in Mississippi – they were 2 and 3 years older than me with IQs in the 60s, and I didn’t join them often, preferring to stick to my crochet.
But then, my generation had that freedom – the feminist movement had won enough of a reprieve that we could express ourselves and play as we saw fit. I think that’s why many don’t see the danger of what’s going on now, and why those who are realizing that even gloriously neutral play toys like Lego are understandably up in arms. These aren’t dour feminists – they are honest to goodness women who played or whose children grew up playing with Lego. Special colors and themes weren’t needed – our imagination was our guide! And while there is nothing wrong with having pink and purple blocks, why not… oh.. scattered with the rest? Truly, I think Lego would lose a lot of the flack if they dropped the Ladyfigs, and put some of these set concepts in with the rest of the Lego City range. Drop the sexist advertising and polarization of childhood and let kids know that the entire range is for all of them, and suddenly – you have a winner!
Unsurprisingly, I’m not a lone wolf in being upset with their current plans. There is already a huge backlash:
Bring back beautiful: ‘Girl friendly’ LEGO range sparks social media backlash
Lego’s Facebook Wall
And don’t forget the meme-worthy tagged in – https://www.facebook.com/LEGOGROUP?sk=photos. That spunky little redhead and thousands of her clones flying by, occasionally studded with the lesser-known, but even possibly cuter blonde girl, the brother-sister pair, and assorted other pictures. And Lego continues to miss the point – nobody thinks the big mixed buckets are going away. They’re just concerned that you’re focused on helping make childhood even more divisive rather than encouraging kids to play together.
Which brings me to my next to last point – the naysayers of the naysayers. Their general consensus seems to be that, in addition to being dour feminists, the complainants are obviously lazy because they’re not wanting to teach their kids about the differences in boys and girls. That is flat-out bullcrap, and it is not unreasonable for parents to be disappointed that a previous bastion of good friendly play has thrown in the hat to join in the psuedo-science exploitation of children (aka – little consumers). This sort of crap is insidious, and children aren’t stupid or unconcerned; they learn from the examples in the great wide world. To refer to a friend’s anecdote – the first three years of her life were spent in a log cabin that had neither running water nor electricity. Yet still, she got the message that she was supposed to want to be ‘beautiful’, and applied permanent market pen to her face to try and do make-up. She still has no idea how the message got to her, but it did. Our children aren’t so ‘lucky’ to be that cut off – the battle is damned hard enough as-is, and each company that joins in makes it even harder to help grow healthy children.
With that in mind, I invite you to join me in signing a petition:
Tell LEGO to stop selling out girls!
Sign it, pass it along, share your own stories of Lego play. If we all let Lego know how we feel, and how we played and wanted to play, maybe they’ll finally get the lesson. For now, for me? I’ll keep making cute little rolling houses and castles and strange fantastical shapes with what I have, and hope for a day I can feel comfortable giving Lego the company my affection and support. It hurts like the dickens to cut off a 30 year old relationship, but until I see that they love me and understand me and don’t want to belittle me, it’s just how it’s going to have to go.
I’ll likely slack off this weekend, considering what weekend it is, but either way – see you in passing, and have a fantastic holiday weekend (whatever your religion, enjoy the R&R).