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Girls to Lego: What the Heck Are You Thinking? | Care2 Causes

Girls to Lego: What the Heck Are You Thinking?

178 comments Girls to Lego: What the Heck Are You Thinking?

 

When you think of girls playing with Legos, do you think of them building robots and competing internationally?

Or do you think of a girl sitting in front of a 1960s era vanity brushing her hair?

It’s probably no surprise that I like the first image better!  I wish I could say the same for Lego executives. Soon, Lego will roll out brand-new sets designed for girls ages 5 and up, with the theme “Friends.”  The sets were developed with four years (!) of company research into what girls want from Legos.

A group of girl-supporting bloggers are trying to raise Lego’s consciousness and I’m one of them. Powered by Girl – PBG started the ball rolling. Supporters include  Pigtail Pals, Reel Girl, Spark Summit, Shaping Youth, Princess-Free Zone, Peggy Orenstein, Jennifer Shewmaker, Amy Siskind and more every day.

My early research on what girls want from Lego was admittedly done with a smaller sample. My daughters loved and played with Legos constantly back in the days before any “sets.”  They built their own people from the basic red, green, blue and yellow pieces because those were all the colors there were and we didn’t have any people in our tub of pieces.  This led to people with wheels for feet and people of all shapes and sizes.

My point isn’t to be nostalgic. I welcome Legos of all colors and love the new pieces that make functioning Lego robots possible. But I’m not happy with Legos that disappointingly mimic other “girl toys” that already line the aisles with worn-out gender stereotypes.

Let’s ask Lego to expand their vision of girls and their interests in the next round of sets they design for girls.

Here’s a suggestion, Lego:  Take the four girls from The 4th Motor team of Wisconsin who won the 2011 First Lego League North American open robotics challenge (1st all-girl team to win)! One of the team members shared some of their experiences and hard work in New Moon Girls’ March-April 2011 magazine and on newmoon.com.  Here’s some video of them winning the N.A. competition. All this, and a little herstory about the first computer programmer Ada Lovelace show how easy it is to encourage girls to do creative problem-solving with Legos — inspiration, pure and simple.

This winning team of girls should lead development of Lego’s next set for girls. I’m more than glad to help Lego learn how to share power with girls in developing great products for them without reducing them to lowest-common-denominator stereotypes.  It can be done and sustained, as we’ve done at New Moon Girls for nearly 20 years now.

What do you say Lego? I and many girls and women are longtime fans of yours I’d love to see you step up and work with us to make things better for girls.

If you want to share this idea with Lego, write to them and also post your letter here or on Facebook:

LEGO Systems, Inc.

555 Taylor Road

P.O. Box 1138

Enfield, CT 06083-1138

Here’s a letter two Lego-loving NMG members wrote themselves and shared with Lego and me:

Dear Legos,

We are two girls ages nine and ten and we would like to give our opinions about your new girl Legos. What the heck are you thinking? Your new campaign is so sexist! Yes, it’s true that some girls like this but we’re just regular people and we’re not all obsessed with beauty. We care about our education and our life and just that we have faith in ourselves, not that we have to only think about combing our hair every day and looking in the mirror!

This makes us very mad. Girls like different things. When we think of Legos, we think of building architecture and building cool things, not building something to make our hair look better. We built a whole city, with our brothers, that had restaurants and boats and an ocean surrounding it. We used to build these structures with slides and pools and not once did we think about making a bathroom with hair accessories and a mirror, with perfume next to it!

You’re probably not going to make much money from this because no one is going to buy it because it’s not really what girls like, in our opinion. We’re writing this to help you! We are just giving you constructive criticism. Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,
Aliyah Newman (9) & Rusha Bartlett (10)

PS You might want to check your research!

 

Related Stories:

Sexism in the Toy Store Aisles

Are Women and Girls Groomed to Choose Oppression?

The Myth of the “Girl Brain”

 

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178 comments

+ add your own

3:51PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

eff’ing oliva likes to invent, but comes with a tree house? http://friends.lego.com/en-us/Characters/Olivia.aspx

http://friends.lego.com/en-us/Products/Details/3933.aspx

2:52PM PST on Jan 5, 2012

A letter from my 10 year old daughter Callie, which we’re sending to LEGO:

LEGO Systems, Inc.
555 Taylor Road
P.O. Box 1138
Enfield, CT 06083-1138 01/05/2012

Dear Lego Company,

Rosalind Elsie Franklin, Lise Meitner, and Grace Murray Hopper. Do you think those great women scientists spent time playing with vintage style dressing rooms when they were girls? Do you think they decided to sit and look at a girl brushing her hair? No. They would be walking in museums, reading, conducting experiments, researching, and doing creative thinking. Legos are a great way to do the latter and I congratulate you on that. Legos are amazing and a great idea. They’re fun, brain building and easy to use. But when you turn them into a stereotypical toy, that’s just destroying the individuality so many people have been working for. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for blacks and whites to be equal. Today people are fighting for the equality of gay people. Susan B. Anthony and Gloria Steinem were fighting for women’s equality. And when I walk into a toy store and an attendant leads me to an aisle plastered with putrid pink I think you just swept all those people fighting for equality out of the way and ignored what they said.

Generalizing is saying any group of people is all one way, or likes one thing. Even if it’s complimentary, saying a group of people is all the same is just not true. Every person is unique and has a spark, different likes and disl

5:44PM PST on Jan 4, 2012

Lego was the best, not because there was stupid mirrors and perfume with a girl in front of it.

12:06PM PST on Jan 4, 2012

good luck fixing the toyworld. i still think it is a thing where if the majorty like and wants, that is what the want. if I ask 110 girls if they want xyz in a toy, and only 10 want zombies, then I will not make the zombies. It will not be lucrtive for me. Unless i can make a profit off of a nich market, have limmited supply and higher demand, and sell the zombie for girls toy at a higher price.

if LEGO got letters from girls asking “why do you have ninjas, knights and pirates but no town with fun stuff girls like?” then that is why they made lego friends.

really. I am seeing these things and toying with the idea of sending a protfolio to some design schools and seeing if people on this site, or others will “foot the bill” for my tuition.

but all those psych and sociology classes make my head hurt. I’d rather be a creap and ask kids in real life and on line what the want.

7:43AM PST on Jan 4, 2012

Oh for Pete’s sake – I’m sure there are plenty of little girls who will love playing with the new set of Legos!! What’s wrong with that – playing dress-up and pretending to primp and get all pretty? How is it any different than toys geared toward boys for “typical” play like construction sets? No one bitches about that sort of thing. People need to get off their high horse – a little girl – feminine-themed play set is perfectly fine. Don’t like it? Don’t buy one.

7:08AM PST on Jan 4, 2012

Why the hell do the girls’ toys always have to be pink, purple, frilly, and filling “girly” roles? All this does is perpetuate the idea that girls are only supposed to be soft, concerned with their appearance and popularity, and that they are expected to fulfill specific roles. I’d rather see toys that don’t have gender assignments and let kids play with ANYTHING. My toys growing up were the regular Legos, a set of child-size real tools (not those stupid plastic “tools” that just make noise and don’t build anything), Tinkertoys, Plasticine, and other such things that fostered imagination and creativity. I actually wished I could get the kind of Legos that built sci-fi stuff such as starships and such because I was and still am a science fiction nut. My cousin had those, and I spent a wonderful week during a family vacation playing with them and building a small star cruiser that I still have pictures of.

QUIT PIGEONHOLING OUR DAUGHTERS!!!!

4:50AM PST on Jan 4, 2012

where are the dirty, smelly princesses?

society, why do you put so much value on presentation. I want to go to a job interview unwashed and in street clothing. I want to work professional dressed as a thug.

I hate you world!

4:50AM PST on Jan 4, 2012

did any of you even visit the site? the one character has a tree house.

http://friends.lego.com/en-us/Characters/Olivia.aspx

http://friends.lego.com/en-us/Products/Details/3936.aspx good thing it dosen’t come with flaming gay man

http://friends.lego.com/en-us/Products/Details/3933.aspx sexist

http://friends.lego.com/en-us/Products/Details/3930.aspx leave professional baking to the men sweetie

os what the girl has a vanity in her bedroom. not ever female wants to be a carless slob with no heart for make up, fashion and dress up…who rolls out of bed and throws on what ever cloths were on the floor like a sterotypical teen male.

don’t most like that? why is it in highschool the bathroom was always cluttered with gaggaling, giggling girls doing makeup and brushing hair?(and smoking)

why do i encounter and see them with layers of glitz and glitter, eyeshadow and hair style that took an hour to do? fashion and jewlery.

could it be, a high percentage of them like it? impossible. we need to celebrate the plain, boring, and frumpy girls and women.
stupid movies where they make her over and she gets the world. the job. the man.

I am offended because I feel like I am “retarded”, “blind” or “autistic” to that whole world. I think I’m cool for wearing t shirts over long sleeve tees and turtle necks. I am neroticly modest, make up smells and is a hassle and so is hair, where is their a doll for girls who might be like me? who will always be like this.
whe

11:17PM PST on Jan 3, 2012

If you’re going to have anything at all to channel (restrict) the play, it should be in an add-on set, as Lego has done for years. I was not terribly happy with the gray castle set when it came out, first because it had only one presumed use (one that promoted imaginative play, granted, but only within the medieval-fighting-armies context), and second because it was not conceptually compatible with the regular ones; if the castle set didn’t exist, kids (boys and girls alike) could perfectly well build castles with basic Legos – but since it does exist, kids feel that they can’t build a proper castle with red Legos. After all, not only is it a proper stone color, it also has the knights in armor, and the banners, and everything they need. So, they “can’t” build a castle without the castle set, and they “can’t” build anything else with it.

So – make Lego sets in primary colors. Make them also in gray, and in camoflauge, and in pink & purple. Then make little people, and special parts, that are compatible with any color set. Then watch and see the children’s imaginations blossom!

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Estreno 22 de febrero 2012, Teatro El Milagro.

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