During the summers while I was still teaching in elementary school, I taught in an enriched program for gifted students. One of the programs was for those interested in Legos….aimed at both boys AND girls. The structures they were able to construct were mind blowing to me. There were roller coasters that came up to my knees. They built and played with helicopters, space shuttles, jetports, windmills, trains, cranes, on and on with motors and moving parts. The girls matched the ability of the boys in putting things together. The sets were marketed to both boys and girls.
Fast forward thirty years to the most recent offerings for girls by the Legos company. After marketing almost exclusively to boys for at least ten years or more, they’ve decided to go back to marketing to girls. Great, you say? No way. The sets they are marketing show sitting in a hot tub, lunching at the cafe, at the beauty shop, and at the splash pool. To be fair there is the musician (even if she is singing in a club), the inventor, and the vet all displayed in 1950s pastels, especially PINK! (and purple)
I realize this blog is about a month late already from being ground breaking news, but I am no longer aware of what is out there being marketed to children. It will be a few years yet before I have to be concerned when I buy for my yet to be born grandchild.
I am seeing arguments on both sides for these obviously sexist toys. They pander to what society is trying to shove off on growing girls. They are supposed to be self-absorbed empty headed beauty conscious girls content with lounging around and primping.
As toys for boys become more war-like (Legos Star Wars) toys for girls are speeding back to the 1950s honoring the domestic diva beauty queen. Maybe since I am from the generation who became aware there was more out there for young women in the 1970s, I am so upset about this turn around forty years later. What ever happened to this goal of gender equality toys?
Yes, there are girls who will love these new toys. There is a broad spectrum of interests among girls. There always have been. Legos is marketing to the top of the femininity scale…the sorority girls. I have no idea about what percentage that might be. But what about the rest of the girls, the independent girls, who prefer to be in the science labs, the engineering labs, the architect classes instead of trying out for cheerleading or participating in wet tee shirt contests?
It is my hope that the Legos Company would turn back the clock thirty years and start producing universal toys like they did back then. They were gender neutral. They demanded creativity. They didn’t emphasize sexual stereotypes with mini figs with boobs!
There is a petition from Change.org asking Legos to reconsider its latest entry into the girl’s market. If you don’t care about this matter don’t do anything. But if you do, speak up for the future of the current crop of girls who are learning self absorption is the primary goal of their lives. Namaste Attic Annie