Little LEGO men are harassing me? WTF?

As if LEGO, with its idiotic, dumbed down LEGO for girls, its pet-shops and hot tubs, isn’t offensive enough, now this? A worker calling out, “Hey babe!” Are you kidding me?

LEGO

Please Tweet: Hey @LEGO_Group, these stickers teach kids that #streetharassment is OK. I’m #NotBuyingIt

(via Miss Representation)

24 thoughts on “Little LEGO men are harassing me? WTF?

  1. Look, the vast majority of the time street harassment is not about finding me attractive. It’s about homosocial bonding. A young lad shouts ‘hey sexy’ at me to impress his mates. He doesn’t give a damn about me.

    Yes there is a class element to some of this. I dislike undue familitarity even when it comes from women. I don’t see why strangers are entitiled to petname me. But I don’t start having a go at people who are just being mildly patronising.

    If you are genuinely interested in how to appear non-threatening:
    1) Don’t approach a lone woman after dark
    2) Start with a non intimidating question such as “Excuse me, what’s the time?”, “Could you tell me the way to the station?”, or if you smoke “Do you have a light?”
    3) Surely you can tell that “nice tits” is going to offend more than “I like your bag”.

    I don’t believe that people who harass me are shy socially awkward people. They were probably the schoolyard bullies and they know exactly what they’re doing.

  2. I live in Brazil where it is common for guys on the street to shout at girls. They will literally stop and stare if a girl they find attractive passes by. Almost every day I will get shouts of “beautiful”, “hottie”, “sexy” or even “congratulations” (all in Portuguese). One day a guy even tried to flick my skirt up as I walked by. Being from western Europe, I found this CRAZY and NOT WELCOME however here it is seen as common (the comments, not the skirt lifting!) and I have even heard tourists and brazilian girls say they miss it when they are in other countries. Why do we have to feel like we are being the ones to make a fuss when we say this behaviour is unwelcome? Why does a girl end up feeling bad when she walks by a construction site? Why is it certain types of guys in certain industries that do this more commonly? Lego without doubt went too far by doing this, however it is so tolerated in our culture already how do we change?

  3. Hi Emily. Thank you for getting in touch with us and we’re very sorry about this. We’d like to explain that this product was made by a former company called Creative Imagination, under a LEGO license. We really do appreciate your feedback, particularly in this case. We typically use humor to communicate the LEGO experience to children but we can understand that this is not the case here! We’d like to assure you this product was, in fact, discontinued in Summer 2010 and it is now officially no longer available to buy. Unfortunately, some have still found their way into the marketplace. We will definitely forward your comments to our Licensing team for their future evaluation of how we can best deliver a great experience for all of our licensed products. Apologies once again and thanks!

  4. Lego creating this reflects how “normal” and “accepted” it is in our culture for construction workers (or whomever) to comment on the women walking by. I remember as a youngster in several TV shows, movies and adverts–this was commonly shown–not just construction workers but men in general whistling at women, making “compliments” to show approval. So I thought it was pretty normal, except when I started getting the catcalls and whistles at age 12 it put fear into me (as I already said) and caused me to change my normal walking routes. As an older teenager and into my twenties men would drive by and yell loudly “Hey baby” or even “show us your tits” and this type of thing. The yelling and commenting would come at an unexpected moment as I was walking along or trying to cross a busy street and I would jump up about 10 feet. This was followed by howls of laughter from the guys in the car. This doesn’t feel like a compliment, it feels hostile.
    I have been given compliments from men I didn’t know and it was done in a respectful polite and quiet manner. I also know that all men don’t participate in cat-calling and street harassment. I know the differences and most women do too.

  5. Seriously mkfreeberg? It’s not about starting a normal, civil conversation and getting sued for harassment by one of those imaginary, vengeful, man-haters that are everywhere in some men’s imagination. It’s about the inappropriate nature of (usually groups of) men yelling sexual comments at passing females, which results in said females feeling embarrassed, fearful, ganged-up on, facing unwanted sexual attention from complete strangers, feeling panic, feeling unsafe, disrespected, and reduced to the status of a sexual plaything when out walking in public, for the amusement of a bunch of strange men. A little lego man playing at doing this is normalising the behaviour for kids and saying it is ok within everyday society.

    • So the feelings of men are to be doubted and trivialized, and the feelings of women are to be embellished.

      And my original inquiry had to do with whether the objective of equality had been discarded somewhere along the line. I think you just gave me my answer. Thanks!

  6. I remember the first time (s) in my life I was “Hey baby” ed and hooted and hollered at by construction workers. I was 12 years old and it scared the shit out of me! After several times I changed my route home to avoid the site.

    • I just went for a walk braced myself out of habit as I walked by a row of men sitting on the sidewalk. What is it like not to have to do that? Not to think of it?

  7. mkfreeburg,

    A “compliment” in the right time and place is nice. Getting harassed on the street by a stranger, or groups of strangers, is unwanted, intrusive, and often scary.

    Margot

    • Okay, I was just concerned about the equality aspect of it, but now you’re raising the issue of “scary.” That shifts focus somewhat because there’s really nothing scary about a plastic toy giving a thumbs-up and anthropomorphically “yelling” out something like “hey, babe.” It certainly isn’t as scary as being a man, and going to work in a place where a woman may find her attraction to you is unrequited, and file some paperwork to exact her revenge. So now you’ve complicated the issue somewhat.

      We have: A man’s audible attention may be unwanted, intrusive and scary. As far as rules, maybe I’m reading something into it but I don’t see how — the only way to fix this is, it’s the woman’s place to initiate the conversation. After all, how’s the man going to know he’s creeping her out, until it’s too late.

      We have: Society ought to be putting some effort into making things less scary; men and women both have a right not to be scared.

      We have: Men and women should be each enjoying equal levels of respect and opportunity; men, and women, should expect & demand nothing less.

      So I guess my question now becomes one of: Which one of those do you wish to jettison, so that the other two can live on without unworkable contradictions? I have a son myself, and I’m not too interested in raising him into a world of “men should never speak unless they’re spoken to.”

      • Wow, you are more clueless than I thought. 90% of the violence in the world is perpetrated against women and you’re saying the biggest danger is a woman scorned? Sad and misguided.

        • Women have recourse. Criminally, civilly, and within the workplace organization, which can impact a man’s ability to earn a living for quite some time. Without regard, might I add, to whether the woman’s complaints have merit.

          “It is important to remember that the intent of the accused is entirely irrelevant; it is the impression of the person offended that decides everything.”

          As women are given more of these weapons and tools to make the environment safer for them — it becomes a legitimate issue, that some entirely innocent men may have reason to be scared. That is, after all, the whole object of the exercise isn’t it? To give them something to be scared of?

          So back to my question. Are you giving up on the goal of equal treatment & privileges & rights for men and women? Or is it alright for men to initiate the conversation sometimes, without fear of retaliation? Which is it?

          • I don’t think ‘Hey babe’ is a good conversation starter. I think you and your sons can have lots of chances to initiate contact with women without patronising them in such a way.

          • Okay, well that has nothing to do with “scary.” What you’re talking about has to do with class.

            So AGAIN, back to my question…especially since the two of you seem to be arguing about “new rules for society,” something that’s been beaten to death for a few decades now. And it looks like you’re still not happy with the results.

            Is the solution to just say, men are speaking outside of their field when they dare to initiate a conversation with a woman? Or when they do so, it’s something that should meet with your approval…and not the woman’s? If that’s the case, then how do they contact you?

            And, also, what happened to the goal of making men and women equal, in terms of the privileges they enjoy and the respect they are owed?

            I think I get what you’re trying to complain about, but the example you’ve found is a plastic toy construction worker with a pleasant expression on his plastic face going “Hey babe.” That’s supposed to be scary; I point out, this really isn’t that scary — suddenly we’re talking about class, or something. Is the problem that he’s treating a woman he doesn’t know, as a familiar? Okay I agree, there is room for improvement there. But again, I’ve been approached similarly by women I don’t know, and I thought it was no big deal.

            Women will never be equal, really, as long as they continue to act like victims.

          • Yeah, you’re right, violence, threats of violence, and intimidation are really not classy.

          • A smile, thumbs-up and a “hey babe” is a threat of violence now.

            You know, I’m going to have to go ahead and disagree with that. I think most people would.

  8. I live in NY where there are a ton of construction sites and I have never seen anyone harassed. Yet we’re teaching it to our children. Great job, LEGO.

  9. Occasionally, a delusional young lady has complimented me on being handsome. At least, back in the day…

    Should I have gotten offended? Filed something? Did I have cause?

    I’m serious.

    • “Should I have gotten offended?”

      No. You also should not not have gotten offended. You never should feel something, you feel what you feel. Have you gotten offended? That’s valid. Have you not? That’s valid.

      Did you have a cause? No. People don’t file it everytime they’re cat called. They usually file after they feel threatened for a reason or another, and even then, it’s usually consequence-free.

      A clarification should be made that when women say “cat-calling” they’re not quite saying “delusional person compliments my visual/my body…”, they’re more saying “delusional person yells at me like he never found himself on a civilization”, “delusional person yells at me for the n-th time as I’m walking place X, I think he’s following me, is he going to kill me?”, “delusional person looks drunk and dangerous, I’m gonna start running”, “delusional person has a lot of “pals” in here, I’ve seen them together before, better smile least he thinks I’m a bitch and attacks me, but if I do, maybe I’m leading him on.”

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