Check out this Lego fig coming out in 2012: Bilbo or Frodo?

The Journal Inquirer reports  that brand new Legos are coming out in 2012: “The Lego Group has inked a deal with Warner Bros. Consumer Products to create building sets based on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movie trilogy and two new films based on ‘The Hobbit,’ scheduled for release in 2012.”

Lord of the Rings. Hmmm. How many females were in that high grossing, Academy Award winning series? How many males?

Check out the link from the Journal Inquirer that pictures Lego’s new toy. It won’t let me copy the photo, but the Legos pictured are so much cooler than the Friends for girls and guess what– all male.

Other best-selling Lego sets are based on the Indiana Jones and Star Wars movies.

Do you see the sexism chain reaction here? When girl characters are excluded from movies, they’re left out of toys and branding on all kinds of kids clothing and products as well. Please take a look at Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing from Kids’ Movies in 2011. These movies predominantly star males, feature multiple males in the cast, and have names of males in the movie titles. Whereas in 2010, Disney switched a movie title from “Rapunzel” to “Tangled” just to downplay the female. This kind of blatant sexism repeatedly teaches kids that boys are more important than girls, and that’s a horrible lesson for both genders to learn.

Of course The Hobbit was a book long before it was a movie. J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic came out in 1937. But it’s Hollywood’s appropriation of the story that makes it massively popular with a new generation, grounding it in pop culture and inciting the creation of a slew of toys timed to hit stores around the same  time the movie hits theaters.

On Dec 16 PRNewsWire reported on the new Legos and the upcoming movie’s cast:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be released beginning December 14, 2012.  The second film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, is slated for release the following year, beginning December 13, 2013.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey, the character he played in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and Martin Freeman in the central role of Bilbo Baggins.  Also reprising their roles from “The Lord of the Rings” movies are: Cate Blanchett as Galadriel; Ian Holm as the elder Bilbo; Christopher Lee as Saruman; Hugo Weaving as Elrond; Elijah Wood as Frodo; Orlando Bloom as Legolas; and Andy Serkis as Gollum.  The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, and Aidan Turner.

Do you think the 2 females listed above will make it into the Lego set?

As long as Hollywood keeps girl characters out of its films, it’s going to be challenging to convince toy companies to represent heroic females in their toys. It’s asking them to use a lot more imagination. Of course, toy companies should be imaginative. Isn’t that the point of a toy? Especially a toy company like Lego that claims to be a learning toy “fostering creative play?” But instead, Lego prefers to spend its time and money “researching” the best way to copy Disney.

On its Facebook page, Lego keeps responding to hundreds of people upset about the “for girls” sets, that there are many other Legos out there to choose from. But Lego isn’t aggressively marketing those sets to girls. On its own FB welcome page, Lego has two boys pictured flying a Lego airplane. Will Lego be marketing the new “Lord of the Rings” set to girls? How?

If you go into any mega chain like Target or Walmart or Pottery Barn, all of them have “boy aisles” and “girl aisles.” The “Lord of the Rings” sets and the other  building sets mostly show boys pictured on the boxes and contain multiple male figs inside of those boxes. Where do you think the “Lord of the Rings” set will be? Where will the Kim Kardashian wannabe Friends Lego set be found? How’s a girl going to feel being dragged by her mother into the “boy aisle” where all the photos are telling her she’s in the wrong place? If a highly paid researcher was studying this girl’s behavior, what do you think he would record?

Maybe Target should stop with the boy and girl aisles. (The London toy store Hamley’s has done just that, giving up gender segregation for sections on arts and crafts, outdoor toys, building toys, soft toys etc.) Maybe Hollywood should make more movies with multiple girl roles and put females front and center. Maybe parents should demand more of those movies and get upset when girls remain invisible.

Hollywood shows our kids animals who talk, rats who cook, toys who come to life, and singing lions who befriend warthogs. Is it too much to ask to see imaginary worlds where girls and boys are treated equally? How long do we have to wait?

Anyone see “Arthur Christmas” this year?

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