Letter from 14 yr old girl to Lego

Ann Garth sent Reel Girl a copy of her excellent letter. Here it is:

Dear Lego,
My name is Ann Garth, I am 14 years old, and I love Legos. Some of my fondest memories of preschool are of the giant “Lego pit,” which was basically a container the size of a small table completely filled with Legos. Whenever we had free time I would rush over to the table and start constructing something, usually a spaceship or some sort of vessel, because you had all those little ladders and hoods and flippy things that I didn’t quite know what to do with but could make into windows, doors, and windshields. I would carefully construct walls, making sure to stagger the edges like real bricks so they wouldn’t fall apart, and when I was done I would set my creation carefully aside, making sure that no one else touched the masterpiece. Legos inspired me, helped me become more creative, and gave me something fun to do on countless long afternoons.

This is why I was so disappointed when I recently heard of Lego’s horrible, totally misguided decision to make and market a line of (very pink) Legos for girls, complete with a girl brushing her hair in the mirror, a bottle of perfume, and more. This is problematic for only two or three MILLION reasons, but let me pick the first, broadest, and most obvious: the idea that if you want to market a line to girls, it cannot involve any movement, adventure, or activity.

Quite honestly, I don’t have that much of a problem with you painting your new Legos pink. Lots of girls like pink, and while that fact is an inditement of our popular culture in itself, it’s not your fault. In addition, adding pink might encourage some girls to try Legos. My problem is with the theme of the collection, and the ideas it enshrines. You are telling girls that they can do, or should do, nothing more than sit and prink. You are telling girls that the boys get to have all the fun, while they have to stay home and be bored. You are saying that all girls care about is makeup and how they look, when in reality there is so much more.

I promise you, girls are do more. Girls ARE more. As a kid, my favorite things to do were read and write (incidentally, I’m not seeing any library Lego sets coming out lately), but what I loved almost as much were building forts and climbing trees. There is nothing as nice as sitting in the crook of a big green tree with your book and listening as the leaves flutter in the passing breeze on a quieter day, or scaling the heights and climbing out far past what your parents would be okay with on an an adventurous one. And, of course, there is always the fun of piling up the pillows for a fort, figuring out a way to hold the sheets up (I devised a complicated system involving three of my dad’s spring clips, our yard stick, and the space between the headboard and the wall, which worked fantastically), and then settling down with a book, bowl of popcorn, or even a set of Legos to relax after my labors.

And I am not the only one. Ask your daughter(s), Mr. Knudstorp. Or, if you’ve raised her (them) to play with only girly toys, as any one of the girls subscribing to New Moon Girls magazine. Ask those affiliated with Pigtail Pals or Reel Girl, be they parents or kids. Ask Lise Elliot, whose research has shown almost no differential in the play styles of boys and girls when they are young, but a substantial difference as they get older- a result of your company and others playing up stereotypes. Ask Peggy Orenstein, who wrote an incredible book about the “girly-girl culture,” Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Ask Jennifer Shewmaker, Amy Siskind, or any of the other incredible mothers, fathers, scientists, and doctors who are helping shape the movement to take back our girls.

I am sure that by now others have shown you your own company’s 1981 ad, the one with the adorable little girl in the overalls with the red braids holding up something she has made all herself, no pre-fab mirrors and perfume bottles needed, with the slogan “What it is is beautiful.” I am sure that someone (likely millions of someones) have brought your attention to the sick, horrible irony of what you gave that girl back then- the same as the boys, the same as everyone- and what you are giving her today- six new shades of lavender and pink; dolls who do nothing but sit by the pool; bottles of perfume and beauty parlors. More telling to me, though, is what you are not giving her today- tools, weapons, trees to climb, or spaceships, boats, and houses to make. Back when your first ad was made all of those things had to be made with blocks; there were endless opportunities. Now, there is nothing to do except climb in the pre-made tree house, shop in the store that is already there, and drive around in the car built by machine.

Please, Mr. Knudstorp. Please bring back real Legos. If you want to appeal to girls, create more sets. Expand your horizons. But instead of expanding into stereotypical girl territory, try hooking a bunch of boys as well by creating a library set, a computer room set, or a boat set. What about one with a soccer field, or a pool? Or- and I know that this may be shocking- what about simply giving kids the same old blocks in the same old colors and letting us make beautiful?

I think you might be surprised at the results.

Sincerely,
Ann Garth

P.S. If you take your current sexist set off the market, or even just market your new sets to boys and girls, I promise I will go buy some of your regular Legos.

Update: See this letter to LEGO from a 10 yr old girl and read LEGO’s dimwitted response.

134 thoughts on “Letter from 14 yr old girl to Lego

  1. Pingback: A female Graduate Lego Minifigure Should Not Be A New Idea By 2013 | femalegraduate42

  2. Dear Anne and her supporters,

    You must have a poor idea on marketing. What goes in this girls play set are thing that are popular in girls’ toys. Just look up “most popular girl’s toys” and you’ll find things there as in the Lego play set(but not in Lego form). Boys usually get the more action packed stuff because that’s what the boys market likes. Why isn’t there pink or purple in boys’ Lego sets? Because that’s not what the market proves to like, but the girl’s market very much so enjoys pink and purple and that’s why it’s there. Anne and followers, if you wanna criticize LEGO at least make sure the GIRL market agrees with or you’ll just look like feminists looking for a problem.

    • It doesn’t matter if your a boy or girl and quite frankly I could care less about the market. I’m a guy but I 100% agree that boy or girl can use any type of lego set AND everyone has their own opinion so don’t shoot someone down for it! I have friends at 14 girls and guys that like ALL lego sets it doesn’t matter to us. Don’t like the set itself make something else with it that what we do. I think that is a great idea and even if it wasn’t she can say what she wants that’s how she feels. FREEDOM OF SPEECH! If they don’t do it that’s up to them but that doesnt mean girls can’t be adventurous and stuff too. I know girls like that a lot actually so don’t talk the “market” cause that’s all a matter of opinion so if she requesting for them to make adventurous girl lego set DONT BE A JERK ABOUT DISAGREEING! Besides it still has to pass lego so it’s not like it’s official so get over your self Parsa

  3. Everyone – this is a very important post! Thank you so much for taking the time to write Lego, Ann. I always ingored the “girl” marketing growing up – but boy, did it ever annoy me too!

    Here’s agreat video you should all watch!

    • I feel some way Ann so does my wife.Growing up always girl thngs were pushed on her and not everyone likes pink.I think my wife hates it so much for the same old reason about pink being for girls.There are many colors girls and women like better than pink.In fact my wifes is green,mostly mint green and candy apple green as seen mostly on hot rods.So yes Lego better come in to the 21st.century or they are going to be left behind.I mean heck do you know on cable a new program is comming on called All Girls Garage on (Velco cannnel)in fact I am sure one of the ladies had worked with Chip Foose a great custom car maker and restorer that program is Over Hauling.So tell Lego that and spit in their eye.

  4. Dearest Ann,

    First of all, thank you! I could not agree with your mellifluously written letter any more. I’m completely fed up with these preconceived notions that girls aren’t good for anything but pink, makeup, and clothes. Though I have no quarrel with girls who enjoy those things, do you people see introspective, adventurous, nerdy, or tomboy girls on TV? Not usually. Here’s something for you to ruminate.

    We know that, in America, advertising is exorbitantly prevalent in our modern-day, profit-driven culture. Specific age groups are targeted depending on what you watch. If viewing Nickelodeon, the commercials are for toys: Hot Wheels, Polly Pockets, action figures, and baby dolls. Now pause and think with me on this for a second, please. Surely you must see the gender stereotyping. The Hot Wheels commercial shows two boys zooming the cars around the tracks. The Polly Pocket commercial shows two or three girls “walking” the figures to malls and shops. Both of those are completely fine. What bothers me, however, are the nonexistent unisex, gender-equal toys. It’s hard for me to remember the last time I saw boys AND girls working and playing together, doing something to achieve a common goal. Another thing that irks me is the lack of any diversity in “girls toys.” When walking around in Toys R Us, you will see a boys isle, with everything from lightsabers to legos to nerf guns, and then the pink isle. There is zero diversity, zero deviation from anything but barbies, dolls, and Disney princess things. Why? Why is this? Why is the idea that girls aren’t good for anything but this thrust upon us? I simply do not and never will understand.

    Now, another one of my issues with previous comments. The fact that some of you are saying that 8th graders and/or freshmen can’t write like this is astounding. Your impertinence to even dream of saying something like this blows my mind. Shouldn’t you people be impressed? Proud? Reassured that there is hope for our generation? That not all of us are shallow, calumniating, and generally disrespectful? If people like you have the audacity to say something like this, then why do you act surprised when studies show that the U.S. is behind in academic performance? I seethe in my chair when I think about how, in our twisted society, the average children are considered “normal,” and those who use better words than “said” or “did” are accused of cheating or receiving help from their parents. Uh, hello? Ever heard of books? Documentaries? Parents who put a value on education? Apparently not. Sad.

    Here’s the other side of a girl that is, apparently, unbeknownst to people. First of all, I turned 16 five days ago. I play the marimba in our school’s marching band. I am in AP World History, Honors Chemistry, and Honors English II. The only shoes I own are three pairs of converse. My hobbies include reading anything I can get my hands on (typically in trees), writing poetry and novels (my aspiration since I could read at the age of three), taking pictures, drumming, singing, having epic nerf gun wars, and of course, building things with legos. Some of my best friends are my teachers. They call me an old soul. I own no makeup. (I’m a sophomore. This scares people.) My room is aqua blue with about eleven or twelve various Beatles posters or pictures mounted victoriously on my wall. I listen to my music on vinyl on the turntable by my door. My purse is a wookie (Chewbacca). Every Friday, I wear a blue cape and run down the hallways of my school. The thing that shocks people most about me, though, is my total disregard for popularity and what people generally think of me. Walking down the hallway with Chewy strapped on my back, whispers, mutterings, snickers, and straight-up pointing and laughing are not uncommon. Do I care? No. People can think what they want of me. I know where I’m going, I know who I want to be, and I won’t let the opinions of random people that I don’t even know change that. I wish that more girls could be like that. They get so wrapped up in trying to fit in to the molds that society has set before them that they make no attempt to embrace who they really are. The blind are leading the blind. Companies like Lego and others are doing nothing to promote any sort of gender equality. They are only indiscriminately contributing to these casts that girls feel like they have to conform to. Dearest parents, PLEASE raise your girls well. Encourage them to be their own person. I promise, life is so much more fulfilling that way.

    Well, there’s my accidental dissertation. I hope you can get something out of it. As for you, dearest Ann, if you’re reading this, do not deviate from the path you are on. Keep writing letters. Keep climbing trees. Break the stereotypes and the molds. Rise above society’s pitiful and pathetic standards it has set for you. Don’t stop. We need more people like you, love.

    With unexpurgated and imperforate sincerity, Lauren

    • Lauren-
      Thank you for your wonderful letter. This means a lot to me and it is great to know that there are other teens out there with similar views. (I own one pair on Converse and one pair of flats, never wear makeup, and talk more with my teachers than I do with my “friends”!). I promise I won’t deviate from my path if you don’t deviate from yours.

      In solidarity,
      Ann

    • Dear Lauren and Ann,

      You two absolutely rock. Reading your letters has ignited the wonderful woman power in me that I believe all girls have but are forced to subdue due to cultural taboos. I am a 22 year old woman and your letters both deeply touched me. It is interesting, I used to feel so passionately about gender equality (and other various causes) that sometimes I would feel ill when trying to articulate my feelings because I didn’t know how to express myself. That passion has taken a backseat as I have gotten older. It is still there, but I find myself fighting less for the causes I believe in. But you two have presented yourselves and your arguments so wonderfully I have an insurmountable amount of respect for both of you. So I would like to say thank you, both of you, for your beautiful, pure, articulate words. Please don’t ever let your voices quiet. Our country is better off with people like you in it. You two make more sense than most of my “adult” friends! And, for what it’s worth, the people I know (myself included) who had fun during their teenage years instead of worrying about popularity or trends are much happier and grounded than those who did not. You go girls!

      Jane

  5. Hey everybody,
    I’m not sure who may or may not read this, but just to let you all know, I’m a 31 year old in a long term committed relationship with a woman who I intend to marry and have children with. I grew up with LEGO and when I was looking for some when I was a preteen, no joke, I always wondered why there were little to no pink or purple ones.

    I would have no problem buying pink or purple LEGO brick sets, even for a boy child if/when I have one. I am not going to be gender-biased, or stereotypical with my children. If my son wants pink/purple, so be it. If my daughter wants a MMA fighter belt and gloves, so be it. If my child wants androgyny, so be it. I think Pink (and purple if they exist) LEGO would be wonderful for either gender, and I’d be happy to add those to the selection on the market for my kids to entertain themselves.

    I’ve already had to break the gender stereotypes with children I know. No joke, I play Dungeons and Dragons, and I literally created and played as the closest I could make Barbie (a Bard) who sang and danced and wore pink. The kids in the house were fascinated that me, a 6 foot tall 250lb man would do that.

    I understand that women can take this addition to the LEGO line up as inhibiting girls, but there’s a very important element not many consider – that girls don’t have to choose pink. Girls don’t have to choose purple. Girls can get the space set. Girls can get the ninja set. Girls can get the Star Wars set. Or, now, girls can get the pink set.

    Options do not equal suggestion.

    Cheers.

    • “I understand that women can take this addition to the LEGO line up as inhibiting girls, but there’s a very important element not many consider – that girls don’t have to choose pink. Girls don’t have to choose purple. Girls can get the space set. Girls can get the ninja set. Girls can get the Star Wars set. Or, now, girls can get the pink set.”

      the problem is in my opinion that the parents choose the sets the kids get, or at least influence them. so by introducing a “girls set” the parents without sensitivity for stereotyped toys give their kids the new “girly” version of lego, which enforces the stereotypes in the kids. if kids choose by themselves and without being influenced by TV commercials etc. that makeup and shopping and parfume are for girls (how likely is that anyways) then i’m very well fine with their decision.

      • Really? That’s your problem with it?

        In other words, your problem isn’t LEGO or the product, but bad parents? And because of bad parents you think the sets shouldn’t be available?

        Seems like kind of a backward “solution”. Here, let me write your letter to LEGO for you:

        “Dear LEGO, because some stupid parents might force gender stereotypes on their kids, please don’t make any products available with which above referenced problem could potentially take place. Of course I’m referring primarily to the horrible pink LEGO sets featuring girls brushing their hair. Please note that this also includes any sets you might market toward boys that include cars, superheroes, robots, sports, sci-fi, science or other “stereotypically boy things”. Or, if you’re going to include these things in your sets, please make sure you ONLY market them EQUALLY to boys and girls, because of course if you do that, all of a sudden the stupid parents will see the light and will buy dolls for their boys and trucks for their girls. Thank you.”

          • margotmagowan said:

            Lou, Everyone is influenced by gender stereotypes. Parents aren’t “bad” but Lego is trying to make a buck off of playing up to stereotypes. MM

            Speak for yourself. I’m surprised you would even say that given the nature of your blog here. I’m not influenced by gender stereotypes so I guess not “everyone” is influenced by them.

            And, yeah, there are, in fact, lots of bad parents out there. My point wasn’t that, but that if somebody’s problem is that PARENTS are enforcing gender stereotypes, then you (aka “people”) shouldn’t take it out on a company.

            LEGO is trying to make a buck, period.

            Again, you are either a) completely ignoring the content of the Friends sets that DON’T portray common gender stereotypes or you are b) being hypocritical by saying that girls SHOULDN’T like things that are commonly associated with gender stereotypes. (or both)

            Take your pick.

          • Margot, I hope you’re kidding. You honestly think everybody is influenced by gender stereotypes? That NOBODY can think for themselves?

            Give me a break.

          • Lou,

            Its not either/ or. Do you wear a skirt? Or a kilt? Do you have traditions that you grew up with and that you repeat? Most people do. Most people “think for themselves” as well.

            MM

          • Sorry, I thought you were talking just in the context of this conversation (what girls / boys “should” play with)

            Are you saying you also don’t like things like skirts? (I’m asking genuinely, not being facetious / sarcastic)

            BTW, kilts are worn by both men & women, but are actually traditionally associated with men, where they originated in Scottish / Celtic / Gaelic culture. I don’t wear one because I’m not Scottish / Celtic / Gaelic, but I have to say, when it’s 100 degrees during the summer, it doesn’t sound like a half bad idea 😉

        • Bravo, Lou..!!!!!!!! You seem to be the only one here making sense. This seems to be a “parent’s agenda” benind this “girl” post. They should let the children be and decide ..but not trying to be the advocate for other girs that loves pink and are girly…WHAT WRONG WITH THAT? . Obviously, is 2016 now,,,,and LEGO continues selling the LEGO FRIENDS….If they do it is because they have the market…!!!

      • @Lou
        i was specifically referring to the part i quoted (hence the full quote…). Mike was saying that kids can choose which set to get. IMO (not based on any statistics) a large number of kids CAN’T choose. that’s part of the problem, at young age they aren’t allowed to choose, and when they’re older, the stereotypes are already in their heads.

  6. While I can support the viewpoint the complaint letter offers, I can see the other way, as well. While there are thousands upon millions of girls that would like nothing more than a huge bucket of Legos to play with, there are also those raised in homes where their parents encouraged them to be prim and proper and pink. Those young ones are the kind to turn up their nose at anything *not* pink and exclaim, “But those are for boys!” I have a niece who was raised in conditions exactly like me (and my room had been painted with violent red and black dragons since I was 5) and refused to play with Duplos. When she was 3. She told me that “Tomma” (her name for her brother) played with those, so she shouldn’t, because they were for boys. Lego is simply trying to reach out to those ‘girly-girls’ and expand their market to those not interested in making spaceships and the like.

    • I don’t think that girls naturally would really be all that into the whole “girly girl” thing. While I think that the mothering instinct, and some feminine aspects of play are certainly natural, a large amount of this seems to be almost forced on girls. Peer pressure, and influence from both parents and marketing can make girls think that “adventurous” things, such as your average plastic army man or toy space shuttle, are for boys exclusively. In the spirit of equal opportunity, this is shameful. Females are just as capable of what Males are capable of, and for society to pressure otherwise is ridiculous.

      Good Job.

  7. Hi Ann, great letter! Regardless of how others have taken your words and interpreted them, you have done a good thing by opening this discussion.

    When my 10-year old Lego Fan son saw the commercials for the Friends set, he exclaimed “Lego isn’t for girls!”

    That gave me pause, and I wonder whether I have given him this impression (I haven’t bought Lego sets for my girls because they are still toddlers and play with duplos) or whether the marketing has given him this impression. His dad was the one to correct him and say, “Of course they’re not, they’re for everyone.”

    Okay, cool that Lego has offered a “girly” set. But how much better if the company went beyond this (which is what I believe you are saying) and created sport sets and library sets and tree-houses? Include more girl characters in the “boy” sets. I hope Lego listens.

  8. People. Stop insulting a teenage girl. I don’t think she decided to post this on this website. Even if she did, aren’t you at all bothered that you’re discouraging young people from trying to make a difference?
    Anna, I really do apologize if I sound patronizing. I’m not much older than you. It’s not intentional.
    I was one of those odd little girls. Speaking as a nerd, I feel the need to point out that I was already considered weird for not liking pink or playing with dolls. I know I most definitely didn’t want to do anything to become more of an outcast. It sucked. I bought barbie sets so that I could have the accessories because explaining and justifying myself made me incredibly aware of the weird looks I was getting.
    This being said, it would be nice if it were considered ‘normal’ for a girl to have a pirate ship. Our whatever she prefers. Somehow, I don’t see anyone having a problem finding something pink for girls. I, like most people on here, am not demanding companies kill tyre pink.

    . I

  9. How very sad that a girl so young and obviously so capable is so judgmental of and demeaning to girls whose interests differ from hers, and that her world view has been so tainted by someone else’s agenda that she sees the offering of a choice as a statement that girls (or anyone) shouldn’t have OTHER options. I have a daughter who loves hairstyles and make-up and toys with becoming a hairdresser–she might have liked these Legos. But the child I KNOW would have loved these Legos is the one who wants to be a forensic investigator for the FBI and taught herself to divide in kindergarten. I truly hope this poor child becomes a bit less rigid and able to respect other people’s choices as she matures.

  10. I was born and raised in Denmark and grew up with Lego as an integral part of the playscape– for myself and all my friends, be they male or female. As a point of reference, I have lived in the US for some 30 years now, but still go back to Denmark regularly as I have many relatives still there, many of whom now have kids “of Lego age.”

    A few things struck me, as I read the original letter… and then the attendant cloud of responses from both sides of the fence.

    For those who kept saying “no 14-year old could have written this,” I felt– quite frankly– a bit “insulated by association. *I* wrote like that when I was 14. Probably– as in Ann’s case– the result of growing up in a household without TV, and having primarily books for entertainment. I started reading adult literature around age 10, and you DO develop an extensive vocabulary from reading real books.

    Lego, for me, is a creative toy. I remember getting the boxes and there’d some picture on the box of something we might try to build… or not. I wasn’t much into “sets,” and would rather just have the boxes with x number of red, blue or whatever bricks of different sizes.

    I don’t really care about the whole “girls vs. boys” argument– what bugs me about this whole circus is the subtext that this all represents an overall “cultural dumbing down,” which Lego has become/is becoming part of… in which everything must be “labeled” and “pre-made” and “explained.” It’s not even “about Lego,” it’s about people’s ability/need to think for themselves slowly disappearing. We buy a box with a ceramic mug, and on the box is a drawing and the words “Suggested use: drinking coffee.” What the &%)*!?)! kind of generations are we sending into the world that they need to be TOLD what you do with a coffee mug??? And yes, I am being slightly sarcastic here…

    Finally, as a “bi-continental” person, reading the letter and feedback led me down the path of considering cultural differences, and the way different nations have different “reference points.” One of the things I’ve noticed about life in the US– coming here as a “foreigner,” at age 20– is that this country has a VERY strong need to “box” things neatly. We– as a society– tend to get uncomfortable if something isn’t neatly defined: “Girls.” “Boys.” “Men.” “Women.” “Black.” “White.” We squirm a bit in our seats if we’re left with the idea that someone is, simply, “a person.” That tendency is far less pronounced in northern Europe, where Lego hails from.

    How does that have ANY bearing on this whole ball of wax? Let’s face it, Lego is a “for profit” company. And a significant part of their recent success (since the 2003/04 meltdown) is built on huge growth in the US, the world’s largest toy market… and so I feel reasonably sure Lego’s product introductions are somewhat guided by “what will play well in the US,” as well as by the broader “Americanization” of the entire world. I can’t comment as to whether this is a “good” or “bad” thing– it simply IS.

    So… before we condemn Lego too much, perhaps we should pause (“We” meaning people in the US) and contemplate what *values* we are spreading to the population not only domestically, but abroad. What does it say about US– as a people– that a company like Lego even entertains the idea of creating a line of “pink girls with hairbrushes?” A marketing ploy? An evil empire wanting to take over the world? Oh, please! Corporations– by merit of the fact that they have a PROFIT motive– would not make things if people weren’t asking for them, and buying them…

    What’s in YOUR shopping basket?

    • @Peter

      I’d like to clarify something. The “Serving Suggestion” thing isn’t so much about dumbing down, but the overly-litigious nature of U.S. society and culture, where people are so moronic that they feel they need to sue the company that made the coffee mug because, when they opened the box, the table, chairs and kitchen weren’t actually included in the box, even though they’re pictured!

      I know your example was extreme, but it’s the truth. Companies feel the need to disclaim things because they don’t want to get sued by knuckleheads with nothing better to do.

      Re: the other idea, of putting things in boxes, yes, sadly, still an issue here in the U.S. more than in northern Europe. Not as bad as many other places, but still not where we should be.

      But as you (and I, and others have) said, LEGO has always been about creativity, period. The fact that they’re trying to CHANGE ages-old concepts of what defines boy play or girl play, and are attempting to use Friends to, hopefully, bring in girls who haven’t had the opportunity to play with “non-girl toys” is a good thing. The fact that it’s being met with such harsh criticism by many people shows that, unfortunately, there are people who are more eager to find fault in things than to think them through and see the benefits and long-term possibilities of something.

      Also, as a historical note, for decades, LEGO had different product lines in Europe compared with the U.S. Sometimes this meant a delay in when the U.S. got sets, sometimes we didn’t get sets available in Europe, and on occasion, we’d get sets here not available in Europe.

      In recent years, this changed, probably because a) it’s easier to maintain a single product catalog globally, and b) since LEGO started licensing, and started selling the Star Wars sets (a relatively recent point in the company’s history), the U.S. has had more say in what gets produced, because LEGO was starting a global downtrend before the Star Wars sets and other licensed products hit the market.

  11. My daughter, who is 10, also wrote a complaint letter to LEGO. She pointed out that if you search the Lego site for “Girls” only these new “Friends” sets come up, whereas there is no equivalent category for “Boys”. In other words, “Boys” is the default, the assumed normal, and “Girls” is a special interest!

    Also, about those science lab sets: notice how the the equipment is described as “accessories”, a very fashion-esque term? Not so in the more boy-centric sets.

    This is part of a larger issue of stratified gender marketing for kids. Go to any major toy store or department store and you’ll see a boy aisle and a pink aisle. The pink aisle will have mostly art, fashion, make-up, mothering and cooking themed toys, the boy aisle will have all the science, magic, and exploration, (and of course the war toys). I have heard clueless store clerks advise gift shoppers not to buy magic or chemistry sets for their nieces or granddaughters, because “girls don’t like magic”. Our local library had a gorgeous solar system mural in the children’s room: parents insisted we paint a fairy in the middle of it because “there was nothing in it for girls”.

    Is anyone forcing girls to choose the pink option?No, but why must we make girls feel weird for choosing action adventure or science toys? Why must we make boys feel weird for choosing cooking or nurturing or artistic toys?

    • @Lesley W:

      Remember that lack of evidence of something doesn’t mean the opposite is true.

      In other words, not having an equivalent category for Boys doesn’t mean that the perception is that Boys are “normal” or “default” or anything else.

      A Toys R Us (as an example) has a girls section with toys that are typically girl toys. They have a boys section with toys that are typically boy toys. They also have another section that’s tons of stuff all mixed up…creative toys, toys for toddlers, Thomas trains and, guess what, LEGO. LEGO isn’t in the Boys or Girls section, it’s in its own area, usually close to games, which are also not either in the Boys or Girls section.

  12. Clearly there are many ways to interpret things and each has its own value. Very good discussion points here between the fluff. I like pink but I never got the pink toys as a kid because my sister was blonder and blue-eyed. I got a gender-neutral green or orange or yellow. Not sure what that was about. Colors rule the world, though. They really do and color is power. That’s why the gays took purple. You can apply it to gender, gangs, race, science and so much more.

  13. I realize my opinion will probably be an unpopular one here, but nevertheless, I am going to give it.

    What’s wrong with girls liking to decorate and bake cupcakes as well as build spaceships? It’s not like Lego has said “this is the only Lego toy girls can play with.” They are just marketing to a different audience. They DO sell Lego Friends right next to Star Wars Legos. A girl can choose one or the other or both. I understand people’s frustrations with inappropriate gender stereotypes, but at least the Lego Friends are fully clothed. And I do understand the marketing issue-but it’s a parent’s job to expose their kids to a variety of toys and experiences, not the TV’s.

    But, I am also frustrated with women who think girls shouldn’t be girly because that means they are “giving in to the stereotype.” Whatever-some girls were made to be “girly.” It’s who they are and there’s nothing wrong with it! Let girls be “girly” if they want to be and “tomboys” if they want to be-why are we even defining it as such? As long as we as parents encourage our girls to be well-rounded, they will turn out fine. I was a total tomboy growing up and now I like to play in dirt AND wear pretty clothes. I like to build and create things, play video games and camp and be outdoors. I also like to decorate, bake cupcakes, and go to the hair salon. So, I am totally fine if my daughter wants to play with Lego Friends and build a firetruck for them to ride on-because Lego provides both options.

    • Apirl that is what I and my wife are saying or trying to get across.Just that there are those out there that do think they have to make a girly line of toys or things but they have the items already.You don’t have to make a special line just add the darn color,if anyone wants pink.As said many don’t like pink and my wife hate it,what can I say it gos back to being put in that sex box girls get a lot of pink things and play with girl things.Boys bet boys stuff.But it is not like that any more.Girls who want more girl style things fine just make sure they know they don’t have to be kept in that box any more.Its been broken open for all the world belongs to everyone and you can be anything or anybody.Go for it kids of the world be yea girl or be yea boy!God bless you all.

  14. I’m stunned that people are thinking that a 14 year old can’t write a letter this well. You do realize that a 14 year old is in high school- either a freshman or sophomore at that point.

    By this point in their education, some kids are in GT or AP classes, getting geared up for college already. Where I live, there’s a community college that has opened its doors for Juniors and Seniors that pass an entrance exam, taking college level courses for both high school and college credits.

    One more year and Ann could be amongst those students.

  15. I found this interesting http://www.brothers-brick.com/2012/01/18/lego-friends-father-daughter-review/

    I also noted a vet set and more, all of these seem to encourage imaginative play amongst children. My son would love playing with these.

    Also if you see what some of the big lego fans out there are doing with these sets you wouldn’t worry about it being stereotypical as some seriously creative stuff are being done with these kits.

    http://www.brothers-brick.com/2012/01/05/dissecting-the-new-lego-friends-mini-dolls-guest-post/

  16. Pingback: Friends Debate And New Star Wars Planets Sets - A Look At Lego Podcast

    • I read your post and am absolutely honored. You sound like a wonderful woman and mother, and I wish you all the best. Thanks for making my week. 🙂

  17. Pingback: Building Castles on the Ground « Yo Mama

  18. I agree whole heartedly that they should NOT use images of girls brushing their hair for their marketing campaign, HOWEVER, I would LOVE a set of pink legos! I would buy that in heartbeat. And let me clarify something…I’m the most tomboy girl you’ll ever meet. I ride a motorcycle, work on cars, go hunting and fishing, weight train, etc… I HATE shopping and playing with dolls and other stereotypes of girls, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the colour pink. That’s about the only “feminine” thing about me. So as much as I wouldn’t want to support their marketing, I’d be soo happy to get a set of pink legos!

    • It’s just mind-boggling how hypocritical some of you are being about this entire (non) issue.

      Betty, you are the PERFECT example of why none of this matters and why nobody should be offended by it.

      By your own words, you’re a tomboy, yet you love pink. Illustrating YET AGAIN that everybody is different, and your way isn’t any more right or correct than anybody else’s way.

        • Really? *I* don’t get it?

          Maybe you should re-read what you replied to.

          Did I say I didn’t understand why this issue is important to you? No, never, nowhere did I say that.

          What I said was mind-boggling was the hypocrisy of some people on here.

  19. So are there going to be guards standing in the toy aisles forbidding anyone that looks like a girl from buying any Lego kit that isn’t in the pink “Friends” line? No, I didn’t think so. But by wanting to stop Lego from having the “Friends” line, that is exactly what the nay-sayers are hoping to do to the girls that WANT to play with pink houses and make mini-figures brush their hair and bake cupcakes. Buy what you want, and let others do the same.

  20. As an older person who grew up with “Tinkertoys “, “Lincoln Logs”, and “Tom Swift ” books. I do see her point. Lego should stay sexless and totally creative. Anyone needing needing mirrors and hairbrushes can play with Barbie. My sons( no daughters) loved Legos and I “helped” them play.

    • Is there some kind of correlation between gender and creativity?

      What on earth does your comment “Lego should stay sexless and totally creative.” even mean?

      So, now, I guess, you’re in charge of telling people what they can and can’t play with? What they should and shouldn’t play with? So, if a girl wants to play with mirrors and hairbrushes, she should only be allowed to do so with Barbie dolls?

      Seems like you’re actually worse than the people you’re complaining about here.

      • Lou,

        When people argue that including females is somehow censoring, limiting creativity, or being PC, it shows how twisted our perceptions have become. Including women opens creativity and allows for imagination. Ignoring women and girls, we get the same recycled stories again and again and again.

        MM

      • Margot,

        I’m not clear who your last reply was directed to. Hopefully not me.

        My point was addressed to Marjorie, who stated “Lego should stay sexless and totally creative”.

        To me, that statement is nonsensical, because there IS no correlation between gender and creativity, so suggesting that gender and creativity are mutually exclusive is ridiculous IMO.

        And, although you never really seem to answer any of the more pointed questions I’ve posed here, I’ll ask another:

        Who do you think is ignoring women and girls? LEGO? Really? Based on what, exactly?

        LEGO has NEVER ignored women / girls. Female figures have been a part of LEGO sets as long as figures (both the old-school, larger scale LEGO figures and the mini-figs) as long LEGO sets have included figures. And LEGO often puts female mini-figs in sets with themes that aren’t traditionally thought of as “girl” themes.

        Even their current lineup has female mini-figs included with sets like a garbage truck, ambulance and recycling truck / center just to name a few.

        Again, just because you don’t like the fact that “stereotypically girl” elements such as brushes, mirrors and breasts 😛 are included in the Friends sets, doesn’t mean that LEGO is either a) ignoriing females (obviously) or b) telling females that those are things they “should” do or like.

        As has been pointed out in this thread several times, there are many more concepts, interests and activities included in the Friends sets: business ownership, science, the arts, love / care of animals, family, car ownership & care, etc.

        And, as has been pointed out in this thread several times, LEGO has never stated or implied that females can’t or shouldn’t play or build with ANY other LEGO sets, from basic building sets to Star Wars to Technic to good ol’ generic Town sets.

        Again, it’s extremely hypocritical to say “Don’t put girls in a box!” when you’re doing exactly the same thing. Gender equality isn’t about getting rid of the things that you, personally, don’t like. It’s about making sure that everybody has the choice to do what he or she wants to without being forced into something simply because of gender.

        You saying “Girls shouldn’t play with dolls or other toys that have to do with vanity or fashion” isn’t any better than people who think those are the only things girls should play with. You’re both trying to force limitations upon people based on their gender, instead of letting them make their own choices.

  21. Just play with the toys or not. If you don’t like them then don’t buy them but don’t try to start a crusade against somebody who is just trying to put a new line of toys out. They are only trying to compete.

  22. Ann,
    Great letter! I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” in 4th grade and used it for a book report. My teacher gave me a zero, because she thought I couldn’t have read it, and it was inappropriate for my age, anyway. My Mom stormed the school in outrage! Go, Mom! She won the battle.
    I agree with you wholeheartedly. More generic (not branded/characterized) sets need to be available to encourage creativity, and advertising/marketing should be devoid of sexual stereotypes, showing “boy” kits with girls on them, too.
    In response to folks who say generic sets ARE available, you just have to go to special places, not Wal-mart…I say, “That’s the point!” Most of us are shopping at Wal-mart! The nearest LEGO store to me is over 100 miles away! Let’s make creativity and un-stereotyped stuff mainstream available!

    Michelle

  23. Pingback: Lego Club membership – are you a girl, or are you normal? | impeus.com

  24. You’ve totally gone Lara Croft on them! But, in all honesty, not all girls are alike. Some might even like the pink stones with mirrors and brushes. And, some of the boys might, too.

  25. What disturbs me, is that as a girl I never saw lego as a boy’s toy. Lego was about building something… anything I wanted. As the years have gone by lego has moved away from pure creativity, creating more and more sets that are like model building packages with instructions, based on movies and video games, and more often than not focused on boys. But we all know that all those little models usually get built maybe once and then end up on the giant pile of lego in pieces, never to be joined in the same way again. Why? Because which kid wants to work with instructions when they can do their own thing? Which kid is organized enough to keep every set apart?
    The last time I went to a toy shop to buy a gift for a friend’s daughter I was shocked to see that they were not offering a single basic lego set. Only pirate ships, and airplanes that seemed a bit too masculine for her taste. (The discussed “Friends” line wasn’t available either, but that would have been too girly for her taste.) I found them on the internet in a product line called “Bricks and more” which is obviously being marketed to kids that have just grown out of their Duplos, and is suprisingly limited. Lego’s marketing team seems to be missing the point. After using boys as the dominant focus group for too long, they’ve noticed that they are losing the girl’s market so they come up with something stupid like “Friends” in hopes of gaining it back, which won’t really work. Because which girl wants the girly version of a “boy’s” toy?
    What they need is to take the emphasis off the model building thing and start marketing lego as what it really is: a fantastic building block. Look for solutions to the problems that kids really are having with the stuff. “I need purple, isn’t there a purple block somewhere?” “I dont have enough red blocks!” “This is the wrong shape!” More colors, colors available separately, more shapes, shapes available separatley. Market that to boys, to girls, and to parents, with creativity as the main benefit. “Look what I made with Lego!” Everything other product line, even “Friends” is fine with me too, but those are just extra’s that will come and go as the times change.
    At the moment the only way to get the blocks you want in the colors you want is with the fantastic but sadly overpriced Design by Me, which is very unfortunately being discontinued this week. Obviously this isn’t making lego enough profit. But if they were to keep the software and start selling supplicate packages with different shapes and colors in small amounts for fair prices I’m pretty certain the concept would take off.

    • I feel as though a lot of people are confusing LEGO’s effort to market a new product with them saying “this is what girls like” or “this is what girls do” or should do.

      The reason you didn’t see LEGO as a boy’s toy is because it ISN’T a boy’s toy. LEGO doesn’t market the vast majority of its products to one gender or another because it doesn’t need to. As you and many other people have said, kids love to create and once given the opportunity, most will do so with eagerness and pride.

      But just as a lot of people here are “offended” by the notion of LEGO including hair brushes, dog shows and pink bricks, the reality is that not everybody has the same parents or upbringing. The reality is that there ARE plenty of parents who force gender stereotypes on their kids out of whatever fear or ignorance etc. etc.

      That’s why things like Friends are actually a GOOD idea. They’re an introduction to LEGO for girls (specifically) who might not have one otherwise. Lots of people on here have said things like “I never NEEDED to be shown that LEGO was cool”, and that’s great for you, but this blog wouldn’t exist if sexual stereotyping and inequality weren’t still real issues.

      Rather than looking at this new product line and specifically picking out faults with it, try looking at it from a viewpoint…and a situation…that is 180 degrees different from your own or that of your kids. Think about the girls whose parents would never buy them a building set, or the boys whose parents would never buy them an action figure because “it’s too much like a doll”.

      Some of your other points I have to take exception with:

      LEGO has never been good about providing non-primary color bricks (black, white, yellow, blue, red, light gray) in quantity. Even when LEGO Service was still running, that was all there was, and in VERY limited quantities / piece types.

      Do you think LEGO decided to discontinue Design by Me because it was making them huge piles of cash? Again, as I’ve said in a previous reply, if there’s no market, it won’t sell.

      You have to consider the manufacturing process, shipping costs (they’re still made in Europe for the most part), labor costs associated with filling orders for things like Design by Me. It’s probably, very simply, too cost-prohibitive to run that program.

      Another thing you said, that LEGO’s instruction-based models are built once and never again is simply false. I have over 1,500 LEGO sets dating back to the ’50s, when they were sold by Samsonite out of Canada. About 98% of them are still in their original boxes. Many of the sets have been built numerous times since I was a kid. Every year, I build the holiday sets and put them out as part of our Christmas decorations. Sure, I also have big bins and countess Ziplock bags & hardware cabinets full of loose pieces, but both model building and free-form / original building are extremely commonplace in the LEGO community.

      There are also two other ways that you can get pieces you need. First of course is Pick-A-Brick at the LEGO stores, although of course that’s limited to the random nature of whatever happens to be available at the time.

      The second is BrickLink, which has approximately a zillion pieces for sale. These are enthusiasts who fund their own building needs by buying sets and selling elements they don’t need. I’ve bought many thousands of pieces from people on BrickLink and it’s a great way to get those pieces you can’t find anyplace else.

      If you’re not finding ANY “basic” LEGO sets, you’re looking in the wrong stores. You’ll almost never find that kind of thing at Wal-Mart. Target is usually better, having at least one or two (except during the holidays when they’re trying to sell all the new / hot sets that sell for a premium).

      Go to the LEGO shop on line and look in the Bricks & More, Architecture, Creator and Pick A Brick sections. You’ll find plenty of ways to get both basic bricks and some specialized pieces too. (the Architecture sets are often a great source of tons of basic bricks & plates).

      In the ’90s, many of us long-time LEGO fans were upset that LEGO started “dumbing down” the LEGOLAND sets and making them without much details. LEGO does in fact listen. Many of the newer sets in the last 5 years have had lots of nice details. And then there are the people like you who just want basic sets. They’ve listened to that, too, and have come out with some really nice products to fill those needs.

      But again, remember that they’re a business that needs to make money, and if they try something and it doesn’t work, financially, it’s not going to keep going. It’s not LEGO’s fault if there isn’t a market to support some of their efforts.

  26. When I was younger, I played with action figures and dolls, I built forts with blankets and constructed castles with Legos. I played Nintendo and dress up. I loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Barbie. I was never restricted by my parents. If it interested me, I was encouraged to pursue it. Legos doesn’t need to make and market a whole new line of different sets for girls. Instead, the company needs to break the social stereotype by encouraging and assuring both girls and boys that girls can play with Ninjago, Star Wars, spaceship, and alien Lego sets. Advertising, product placement, and target consumers should  include girls. GIRLS ALREADY LIKE LEGOS, the company just isn’t giving girls an opportunity to ask Santa for them. My 5 year old wanted pink Legos to build Hello Kitty, so I bought them. My 5 year old also likes Mario & Luigi, Zelda, kittens, swords, and zombies. My five year old is a boy. 
    Additionally,  to assume a 14 year old is not intelligent enough to write this and was coaxed by her parents is ignorant. It is discouraging that the expected level of intelligence of a young woman 4 years away from being what society considers an adult would be anything but. Ann you’re brilliant. The world needs more empowered, bright, independent, intelligent minds like yours. 

  27. What I find interesting is so many people saying, “a 14 year old girl didn’t write this” and then telling her that her opinion is wrong. You cannot discredit the validity of someone’s point of view. It’s her point of view and all the “well spoken, well written adults” on here should enjoy an opportunity to see something from the perspective of a modern and well educated 14 year old girl.

    Also, Ann at the age of 12 I was given an “F” on a paper because it was “written too well for a 12 year old girl”. I spent a month on that paper with notecards spread all over the floor of my room organizing and rewriting over and over. I can assure you I wrote that entire paper. The fact that the word “girl” is always thrown into the end of that statement really says the most about lingering sexist stereotypes in this “modern” world. I hate that you have been subjected to this too. You are a well spoken and smart girl and I enjoyed seeing a bit of your perspective. Thank you!!

    • Thanks so much; your story sounds horrible. I can imagine nothing worse than having such a thing happen to me! (And it is a very scary example of lingering sexism, you are absolutely right.) Thank you!!

  28. Hmmm. The girl likely did write the letter, but it sounds a wee bit coached. How much is the girl and how much is a parent with strong feelings influencing the girl?

    Honestly I don’t see what the big flipping deal is about the ‘girly lego’ sets. I get sooooo tired of people throwing fits when something is seen as ‘too girly’. Yes, girls can play with whatever they want…guns, clay, rocks, and so on but it also includes toys often seen as more traditionally female. And there’s not a damned thing wrong with that. They’re being marketed to bring a different sort of kid into the lego fold. A lego woman with molded breasts is bad? Real women have breasts. She sits in front of a mirror and combs her hair? Shockingly, many women do this as well. And then they go to work in any one of a zillion different professions, or to school, or take care of a family. Kids are much more sophisticated in their play habits than we give them credit for being; they mimic what they see around them.

    The entire idea behind feminism was that genders were created equal and should have the same rights and opportunities. The idea was not to stomp out the more traditional female options, but to expand them to include everything else. Saying that pink, girly legos are bad for girls is every bit as bad as saying that blue and red firemen legos are bad for girls. And how about the boys who may like the pink lego sets? How does this pitiful excuse for a controversy impact them?

    How about we let the kids just be themselves and stop trying to make everything some sort of neopolitical issue with the opportunity for someone to be offended? There’s no reason that lego can’t make something for everyone. And, if those pink lego sets with the princess who has molded breasts is so dreadful then don’t buy them.

    • First of all, I’m unsure of how often I will have to say this, but I assure you that I was not “coached” in my letter. In fact, no one except me even read it before I sent it to Lego. I promise. Cross my heart.

      To address your points:
      First of all, I would like to clear up what seems to be a misinterpretation on your part (which might be my fault, in which case I apologize) that I have a problem with girls who like the Friends set. This is not the case. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with girls who like pink, or perfume, or brushing their hair, so long as they have picked those things OVER other options. That is, it is cool for girls to like stereotypically “girly” things but only if they have selected those things from a list that includes weapons, science and math, building forts and making things with tools, and the colors black, blue, green, and red. If, after looking at every type of toy and style of playing, some girl (and I’m sure many will) decides that what she wants it to run a beauty salon, then for gosh sakes I’m sure she will have the best darn beauty salon in town.

      However, this is currently not the case. If you look at Lego’s overall marketing strategy (which gender features in their ads, which colors are represented, which section toys are placed in in stores, whether there are minifigs of both genders in sets, etc.), you will see that the only thing girls are “supposed” to buy, according to Lego’s messaging, is Friends. All other sets are in stereotypically “boy” colors, with only male minifigs and ONLY boys in the ads, and are in only “boy” aisles. As you yourself say, women “go to work in any one of a zillion different professions, or to school, or take care of a family. Kids are much more sophisticated in their play habits than we give them credit for being; they mimic what they see around them.” This is exactly why I think that they should see more than just pink and dress-up; that way, they can really choose what they like.

      “The entire idea behind feminism was that genders were created equal and should have the same rights and opportunities. The idea was not to stomp out the more traditional female options, but to expand them to include everything else.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • Ann, twenty five years ago my daughter wondered why there were “no girls” in the Lego commercials, she was five. Thank you

  29. I wrote that well at 14. In college, professors doubted that I wrote my papers – until they saw what I did with essay exams! I grew up without TV or coloring books, but with avalanches of books and art supplies, tools and scraps of wood. Friends warned my parents that I would be “unfeminine” because I didn’t like to play with dolls – I preferred live animals. (How’s this for “girly” creativity – make a wedding dress for a turtle!)

    I see the problem being in the expectation that the child has to color within the lines or has to build the item pictured on the box, to “do it right”. Model railroaders (yes, I do that too) have a concept of “kit-bashing”. Use kits as a souce of materials to make whatever you want to. An idea for parents: buy several sets, remove the pieces from the boxes and mix them all together in an unlabeled box. See what happens!

  30. Ann, I am extremely impressed with your letter and the way you are correcting those that would dare to question your intelligence level. Good for you!

  31. When I was a kid my parents did not buy my sister and I legos. When I went to friends houses who had brothers I absolutely loved playing with legos. My son loves both the regular blocks, and the kits. I am always surprised what he makes with the kits after building the picture on the side of the box, and then tearing them apart and blending them with the box of blocks and recreating something totally different.

    That said I am an artist and a writer, so creativity is encouraged in my home. I have been known to get down on the floor and play legos with both my daughter and son, who both had sets of blocks (she never really wanted the kits). She is now 18, and he is twelve, and they will still both get down on the floor and make things out of legos, they both also love to write creatively, and draw. My daughter is a wonderful poet, although at times her writings are so deep that you really have to study them to understand what she is saying. My son also plays computer games that you build with blocks and create things, not to mention play with physics. He and I will play them together, and just hang out together.

    I grew up with a pencil and paper drawing my world, my kids grew up playing in and with the boxes that the toys came in? The point is that as parents we have to spend time helping our kids explore and create their worlds. There is a lot to be said for a box of 500 or more lego blocks, pencil and paper, an organ or piano, some chairs and blankets. Let our kids create their own worlds!

    Peace be to you,
    Sallyjane Woods
    http://www.the777man.com Do you like to write? Would you like to try writing? Murder Mystory Contest open to all levels of writers on my blog!

  32. Ann, while your response is well thought out and your argument is mature and concise, I couldn’t help but get more and more enraged as the article went on. I am the mother of three girls and a boy, all of which have loved and spent countless hours creating with Legos. Just because a “girl’s” toy is portraying a girl brushing her hair, singing, or doing any of those other activities that you stated, does not mean that those are the activities young girls will “assume” is what girls should be doing. Growing up, my three girls played with very “girly” toys and quite a few not so “girly” toys. None of these toys made any impact on how my daughters thought girls should behave, act, or think about themselves. If my daughters acted more frilly, or more tom-boyish, it was never because of the color or style of toys they played with. It all has to do with personality and example. If a young girls plays with toys that portray girls brushing her hair and primping in the mirror and she honestly assumes that is what girls are supposed to do, then she obviously has no clear example of a LIVING person in her life to let her know that women can be firefighters, warriors, surgeons, and presidents of Fortune 500 companies.
    Even though my daughters played with extremely girly toys growing up, one now aspires to be a supreme court judge, one a professional soccer player, and one a marine biologist. You have to remember, Ann, that most girls in general absolutely love to play with pink, girly toys. And the marketing teams of these big toy companies know that. I, for one, am glad that Legos finally decided to cater more to girls. The new line will draw girls in and get their creativity flowing, opening new and exciting experiences to them. You needn’t worry about girls assuming that all they are good for is sitting in front of a mirror and brushing their hair just because there are toys that come with brushes. Those thoughts only occur to more mature girls who are getting to the age where playing with blocks is not as fun to them anymore, or who, frankly, don’t have a clear sense of who they are in life or where they belong in this world, which is not a result of playing with girly toys.

    • Hi Anna,

      Kids mimic what they see, its one way they learn. When the predominance of toys marketed to girls are brushing their hair and focused on their appearance, this influences them. I disagree this new line will gets girls creativity flowing. I see nothing creative about Friends Lego.

      Margot

    • I’m glad you like my essay, but I would have to respectfully disagree with your analysis. I, too, have no problem with girls who play with girly toys or pink. My favorite color as a kid was purple and I loved getting dressed up in my mom’s heels. My problem is not that this set exists but that it is a set made and marketed specifically for and to girls, and it is the ONLY Lego set for girls. If there were sets like Friends and also Ninjago sets which were marketed equally to boys and girls (encompassing which gender appears in its commercials, where it is placed in stores, which stereotypical colors it is made in, etc.) then I would be happy. To my mind, the only problem is that when girls look at Lego’s product list and commercials, they see a very clear message that there is only one thing they should buy, and that is Friends. If the people at Lego send a strong message that either Friends or Ninjago is okay for girls and a girl picks Friends, then that is totally her choice and I would be overjoyed.

  33. This issue has touched me for a while. I hate the way girls are raised and stereotyped to act in certain ways. I love pretty dresses as much as the next girl, but I am also a massive comic book and sci-fi nerd as well XD I think this issue also affects boys as well. To me there is nothing more disgusting than any child being told they cant play with something because ‘thats for girls’ or ‘thats for boys’. I am very glad someone raised this issue directly with a toy maker! 🙂

  34. I couldn’t agree more!

    The only thing I would add is this. I recently realised that if Lego are want to increase sales with girls, all they have to do is make 50% of the heads in the Lego sets look like girls. How you define ‘look like girls is another issue with it’s own mine field of sexism but my realisation came while Christmas shopping last month. I was in a Lego Shop and they have a stand where you can make a mini figure from any of a pile of figure pieces. I realised I had enough pieces to make Polly from Terry Pratchett’s book Monstrous Regiment, a play of which I am in, in February. Talking to an assistant she said that not long ago they had run our of the girl heads in that stand.

    This should tell them something shouldn’t it!? The gender equality of their figures should be the same as their staff. The way to market Lego to girls is to put more girls in the driving seats of all their vehicles. In fact, since they have started putting faces on both sides of their heads lately, couldn’t every head have a girl side and a boy side? It would do wonders for the mindset of girls AND boys.

    After reading about your letter, I think I should write to Lego myself with these suggestions.

    Good luck in your fight for equality Ann!

    Benjamin

  35. Ann,

    You rock on! Do what you do and don’t let skeptics say it’s not possible. My 12-year-old has a vocabulary similar to yours. All it shows is that you are well-read. Not that you are a liar. I think your letter is phenomenal and I would love to hear the response of the Lego corporation, because all that you say is what bothers myself and my daughter about these new Legos. It’s not the pink that’s the problem, it’s the fact that they are almost like Lego Barbies. Meh.

    Continue to stand up for what you think is right. Continue to challenge those who you see as harming your generation of girls.

    And thank you for writing this letter to Lego. Maybe they will listen when they hear what their target market has to say….

  36. For those of you who do not believe a child of fourteen could write this letter, you must not teach in the 8th grade classroom. I do. Excellent letter Ann!

  37. Ann,

    Nice letter, but you should be aware that LEGO has created and marketed “girl sets” (including many with pink as a main theme color) for decades. This is not new.

    Try to remember, too, that the new Friends sets from LEGO aren’t meant to discourage girls from creative building or making things with movement or gears or whatever else you enjoy, but rather to help introduce girls whose preference in toys may currently be things like Polly Pocket or other “dollhouse” type play.

    As a long-time LEGO fan and AFOL, I think the Friends line is a great idea.

    It’s not meant to REPLACE the LEGO you love (so your comment about “bringing back real lego” is a bit misplaced in that sense), but to introduce NEW people to LEGO who might not INITIALLY be swayed by the aspects of LEGO that you and many millions of people of all ages and both sexes already love.

    Lou

    • Lou,

      It’s the multi-million dollar marketing campaign that is new. Also, I think the breasts are new. As far as introducing new kids– we all see these horrific commercials for the Friends Lego. Boys see these commercial are well. They make girls look frivolous and stupid.

      Margot

      • @Margot,

        First, I have no idea what LEGO spent on previous marketing campaigns for “girl sets”, do you?

        Second, breasts aren’t new in LEGO. There was a mini-figure among the old LEGOLAND Pirate sets that had cleavage. Sure, it was painted, not molded, but still…not new.

        Third, I’m sorry, but I don’t get what you’re finding so offensive about activities such as brushing hair and going to dog shows, especially in the context of things being gender offensive. Are you saying that girls don’t actually do / like those things? And are you saying that LEGO is implying that those are the ONLY things girls do / like?

        What about LEGO marketed towards boys? By this, I mean any ad campaign that doesn’t feature girls in it. Do you think playing with cars or having alien spaceships shoot at each other is any less frivolous than the girls’ sets?

        Many of my guy friends don’t care about / know much about cars, and almost none of them believe in aliens.

        My point is that these “boy” sets have as little to do with what defines a boy as a boy as a dollhouse-oriented set has to do with what defines a girl as a girl.

        Just because a toy / TV show / movie / magazine article / book / take your pick depicts or describes people of a certain gender doing certain things doesn’t necessarily imply that the maker of said product is demanding that people of that gender behave the same way.

        Companies generally try to make products they think will appeal to consumers so that they sell more products.

        Let’s move the subject away from LEGO for a second and talk about dolls. For years, Barbie was the reigning queen of dolls. But then, when Bratz became so popular, suddently Barbie comes out with the My Scene brand that had the general look of the Bratz dolls, but under the Barbie brand name.

        (yes, I realize there’s some dispute over where the concept for dolls that look like Bratz / My Scene actually originated…just making a point)

        Do you really think that either MGA or Mattell was telling girls “You should aspire to have an oversized head”? No, they were both trying to make money by appealing to what they thought people would buy.

        I think people are getting awfully worked up over a non-issue here. When the Paradisa sets were out (and, by the way, I think own all of these even though I’m a guy…wtf?!), they all pretty much show people laying on the beach, surfing, drinking, etc.

        Do you think people who live near a beach should have been up in arms that the depiction of beach community residents shows them doing absolutely nothing productive or meaningful?

        Do you think men should’ve been offended because pretty much all of the service staff (waiters, chefs, lifeguards) were men, and we should’ve opposed that depiction of our gender, because so many of us aspire to so much more than that?

        And let’s actually look at some of the Friends sets:

        3065 Olivia’s Tree House shows her with a telescope. There’s some science right there.

        3061 City Park Cafe appears to show the Cafe owned by a woman. Woman-owned business? Are you going to complain about that?

        3183 Stephanie’s Cool Convertible – well, there’s a car. Wait, that’s a boy toy! Oh, and in addition to the iPod, hairbrush and mirror (all of which seem VERY inappropriately placed in a set having to do with a driving-age teen girl!…um, yes, I’m being sarcastic), there’s also a bucket and cleaning supplies, indicating that this young lady is responsible enough to actually care for and maintain her car. Nothin’ wrong with that.

        3315 Olivia’s House has the dad grilling. Wait. I don’t even own a grill. I’m more of a sautee guy myself. I FIND THIS SET OFFENSIVE!

        No, I’m not serious.

        It’s a toy. If you like it, buy it. If you don’t, don’t. But don’t try to give the manufacturer a hard time for marketing something to girls in a way that you don’t appreciate. Just don’t buy it. Trust me, if there’s no market for it, it won’t sell.

      • What’s wrong with breasts?? Most adult women sport a natural set.

        My lego-crazed boys think the commercials would definitely attract little girls and my dinosaur obsessed, Jane Goodall worshipping, fire orange loving five year old niece can’t get enough of these “Girl Only, Aunt Daphne!” lego sets.

        You need to lighten up, if this pretty pink line of products sparks more girls into eventually entering the STEM fields, a goal most intelligent women agree should be aggressively pursued, then we ought to applaud one of the few manufacturers committed to designing creative, stimulating, critical thinking, math centric, aesthetically appealing building toys for capitalizing on a simple gender preference (pink, puppies, breasts) to attract more girls into this wonderful world of architecturally dynamic eye candy that promotes serious some spatial manipulation.

        Lego seems a poor prop to vent your spleen.

        …They make girls look frivolous and stupid.

        Wince worthy. That one sentence says more about your ingrained frame of warped bias than anything Lego is peddling. As a feminist, you ought to rethink that line of misogynist crap.

        Little girls don’t come in standard packages marked one size fits all. Some are like your eloquent, introspective Ann. Others don’t resemble her at all.

        There’s room for diversity at the women’s table, don’t you think?

          • @Margot

            Nor should you keep repeating your argument.

            I believe Daphne’s point is that your argument goes both ways.

            Just as not all girls are into their looks, there ARE girls who are into their looks. Just as some girls would rather play with LEGO than dolls, some girls would rather play with dolls than LEGO.

            Surely you aren’t judging the girls whose choices differ from those you’d make or encourage for you or your kids?

            It would be impossible for people to take you seriously as somebody advocating gender equality if the only products and activities you condone are the ones you, personally, prefer.

            A girl who plays with a doll isn’t wrong or bad for doing so. A parent who won’t let her daughter play with LEGO because they feel it’s not a girl toy, yeah, that’s a bad situation. But if the girl chooses to play with dolls, or Friends LEGO, are you going to say she’s wrong for doing so? What if she likes them? What if she likes them in addition to her books about bugs and her telescope and her dresses and her Hot Wheels cars?

            Are you now going to say she should ONLY play with the non-Friends LEGO, the bug books and the Hot Wheels because they’re not stereotypical “girl toys”?

            If so, you’re as much in the wrong as the parents who won’t let their daughter play with LEGO.

            This is not a situation where LEGO is stating that “Girls should play with these LEGO sets BUT NOT ANY OTHER ONES!” They’re simply offering another choice to kids, and yes, predominantly girls, who they think will appreciate what the Friends sets have to offer.

          • Hi Lou,

            This is truly not about diversity. If the anorexic supermodel was one image among many powerful, ubiquitous ones, she wouldn’t bother me either. Everywhere girls turn, they are told– by Hollywood, by toys, by commercials, by their parents, by people on the street who call them “Princess” and tell them how pretty they are– they what they look like matters most of all. Saying they have a choice about the toys would be fine an true if we lived in a perfect world but we don’t. That’s like claiming girls can choose any color they want, pink is just one. In their worlds, sadly, it’s not.

            Margot

      • Margot, you said:

        “Saying they have a choice about the toys would be fine an true if we lived in a perfect world but we don’t. That’s like claiming girls can choose any color they want, pink is just one. In their worlds, sadly, it’s not.”

        Honestly, I now have no idea what you’re talking about. They DO have a choice in what toys they can play with. Are you suggesting they don’t? Are you suggesting that girls aren’t allowed to like any color other than pink?

        I’m sorry, but you’ve completely lost me.

        And for your information, we never, ever will live in a perfect world, so if that’s your goal, then you might as well give up now. Perfection is impossible where human beings are concerned.

        Rather than trying to make the world perfect, how about just trying to make it better?

        You don’t do that by teaching people that all stereotypes are bad or wrong. You do that by teaching them that there’s a lot more out there, and that they should feel free to choose whatever they like. WITHOUT mentioning gender equality or other political issues. Kids don’t get politics. Do you know why? Because politics is arbitrary adult b.s. and has no bearing on the world of a kid.

        As for your issue with breasts, wow. So, evidently, you’re taking the whole gender equality thing to soaring new heights, where men & women don’t even have any anatomical differences, huh? That’s, um, a little bizarre.

        There are a lot of things that you could argue don’t define a girl as a girl: Liking the color pink, being obsessed with her looks, liking puppies and ponies and bunnies and flowers. Breasts, I hate to say, are not on that list. Breasts are, in fact, things that do differentiate girls from a boys & women from men. Sames goes for penises with men.

        And before you make an argument that LEGO minifigures don’t have penises and therefore they shouldn’t have breasts, save your typing. You know as well as I do that that’s an absolutely ridiculous argument.

        Are you going to say that women shouldn’t wear any type of clothing that makes it apparent that they do, in fact, have breasts, because that hurts the issue of gender equality?

  38. Brilliant comment and response, Ann, you have really moved me. When I was twelve I wrote a speech which I gave before my entire school. No-one believed I wrote that either.

    All the best – I look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

  39. I, personally, don’t see why “pink legos” are needed to introduce girls to Legos. Maybe just putting more pictures of girls on regular Lego boxes would do the trick.

    I didn’t play with Legos all that much as a kid, but I did play with Erector sets, so I can attest that that stuff isn’t just for boys, nor should it be. In that sense I very much applaud Ann and her letter.

    By the way, I have no problem believing that a 14 year old wrote that letter. My son has a similar vocabulary and he’s 11. If parents actually talk to their kids, it’s amazing – the kids have an adult vocabulary. Woo woo.

    • Regarding your son: Funny how it works that way, don’t you think?
      I’ve never heard of Erector sets, but they sound cool.

  40. To all of you who are questioning this letter, I would just like to say: my name is Ann Garth, I am 14 years old, and I did in fact write that letter all myself. I was the only person who saw it before I sent it in to LEGO, and my mom didn’t even know it existed until AFTER I saw that it had been posted on this site. Honestly, I’m torn between being flattered that you think this is too good for a 14-year-old to write and incensed that you don’t believe me just as capable as anyone else of writing something erudite and “philosophical.”

    Morgan K Freeburg: I think that “prink” is the coolest word in the dictionary. It just sounds so… so prinky! It’s one of the only words that sounds like what it means, in my opinion, and I’m glad you like it too.

    JenFoxProverbs: I’m not much for reality TV, so Young Apprentice may not be right for me, but I am TOTALLY planning on kicking some sexist ass (just ask the boys at my school, I already am!).

    Si Porter: First of all, I am flattered that you think I am a good writer. Let me assure you that I am in fact all I say I am (although I know in this age of internet anonymity that that is nigh on impossible to check).
    1) I know about the 1981 ad because it was posted on another feminist website (I think it was Pigtail Pals but don’t exactly recall) and also on Lego’s website. The idea that you can’t know about anything you haven’t experienced yourself is simply ludicrous; the same logic would say that you couldn’t recognize a famous picture, say the Dorothea Lange one of the woman with her two children [http://history1900s.about.com/library/photos/blygd45.htm] because you didn’t live it yourself.
    2) Other than myself, I know maybe two or three other kids my age who talk the way I do. 🙂 I am very, very lucky because my parents didn’t let me watch TV when I was little, so I feel in love with books and learned lots of cool words.
    3) I have been on the debate team in my county for the past two years and recently placed first in the league. This is how I know how to “construct an argument;” I am lucky enough to have the greatest coach on earth as my teacher and am learning so much every day that most mornings I just want to pinch myself.
    4) Also, I would like to take issues with your characterization of me as a “child.” I can assure you that, while I certainly have a lot more life to live, I have also had challenges and struggles in my life that I think most people would agree have taken me out of the realm of “childhood.”
    5) When I stated my age in my letter, I was not trying to make readers “moved, impressed and therefore more quickly agree” by any virtue of my age but simply by the quality of my arguments. The only reason I even mentioned my age was that I thought it might help Lego to know that not just some “crazy parents” are up in arms about this but also kids who are just a few years older than Lego-buying ages, and who might have younger siblings with purchasing power.
    5) Lastly, I would like to question your assumption [and this goes for all who think that I couldn’t possibly have written this letter] that teens can’t be smart, well-read and informed, and capable of being activists on behalf of the world, just as adults do. I believe, in fact, that only through the activism of the next generation can the problems we now face be solved.

    Thank you for your time and to all those who have posted/commented supporting me, thank you very much. It feels great to have people agree with you!

    Ann Garth

    • As a a mother to two amazing girls, your letter made my heart swell! It is so important that girls get their voices out there. I am raising my girls to be proud of their gender and to not feel the need to conform to what a girl “should” be, because a girl “should” be exactly whatever she wants to be. Nice job Ann, I am very proud, keep fighting for what you believe in!!

  41. I have four daughters, all of whom love Lego (and yes, my 14 year old could easily have written that letter, and anybody who thinks a 14 year old isn’t capable of doing so? Hogwash. Merriweather Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) was running his family plantation at the same age, please see: http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/lewisandclark/biddle/biographies_html/lewis.html )

    For Christmas, one of my daughters received a set of Lego-sized and -compatible Dalek robots from the Doctor Who series (the red ones – scroll down to see http://doctorwhotoys.net/characterbuilding.htm ). Later in the afternoon, I found her and her sisters assailing Lego Hogwarts with Daleks and dinosaurs. Draco Malfoy was on the run with a Dalek close on his heels, but the Gryffindor folks were gamely fighting back and winning.

    Fie upon primpy idiotic Lego-sized perfume bottles. Girls who want to play dress-up can play with Barbie, Bratz, American Girl, My Generation Girl, and even My Little Pony. But I challenge anybody to assail Hogwarts with a bunch of Daleks using any of THOSE toy sets.

  42. I find it interesting that people refuse to believe that a fourteen year-old girl wrote the letter to begin with. Whether or not that is true, we’ve established that she reads and would therefore have an expanded vocabulary. Not to mention that if she wrote up her letter in Word, because who uses pen and paper these days, then she would have access to a thesaurus, spell checker and grammar checker. So please don’t be so quick to dismiss the writing…

    Secondly, I agree with the point(s) being made–I’ve been saying something similar for years. LEGO should lay off the marketing on the sets that build a specific item and only that specific item and work on selling more of their basic builder sets. Hell, when I was a kid playing with LEGO, ramps were the new “big thing” and I didn’t get my first LEGO figurine until I was about 10 or 11. Everything I build was square and blocky because that’s what LEGO was, blocks, squares and imagination.

    Sure there’s still a place for those $170 VW Camper Van sets, I still want one, but let’s get back to our roots. Let’s get back to that big bucket of blocks that we used to build just about anything we could think of rather than spending an hour following the directions of “take this block and put it here” to assemble the over-priced stuff. Let kids take back their imagination! Because there’s not enough of that happening these days…

  43. Excellent letter, excellent points – but I seriously doubt a 14 year old wrote this – or all of it, anyway. How does she know about a 1981 ad?

    If you doubt this, how many 14 year olds do you know talk about ‘countless afternoons’ or ‘enshrining ideas’ – this is a deeply philosophical letter in tone and form, composed by someone who understands how to construct an argument. I’ve read ‘countless’ essays and stories by 14 year old girls and boys and never once saw anything to compare with this. I know 40 year olds who don’t write this well.

    In fact, I question if a 14 year old girl is involved at all. It doesn’t diminish the terms of the letter, but it does beg the question why someone felt we needed to read it from a 14 year old girl rather than the obvious adult behind it. If we believe a child wrote this, are we supposed to be moved, impressed and therefore more quickly agree?

    Not looking for an argument here, I just find the idea of someone trying to make an important point by starting with a possible lie is rather interesting.

      • My daughter was writing at an adult level at an even younger age than 14. My son and daughter were reading by 10/11 years old at a college and above age. Although, my daughter’s letters to different authorities were never published back when she was 12, 13, 14, and 15 she nonetheless wrote them.

        My kids father and I only used adult language around our kids from birth on, so they both have huge vocabulary. My daughter came home from the first Rally at her high school enraged, because she deemed it to be sexist. Her response was to join Student Government and make changes to her world. Actually, she was quite my Hippee child up until she was 15, and realized she could accomplish more world change in a suit than dressed as a hippee.

        One really should not judge one by their age, when I was 14 I turned in my first High School art project. I received an F on it because it was obvious to my newest art teacher that it was not done by me, because no 14 year old could produce art at that level. Yet I had been studying art under my father since I was just a small child, and at the age of 12 started studying as an adult under a renowned artist.

        You really should not judge one by their age. That is like saying someone who is 80 years old can not possibly know how to rebuild a computer, but my father did that this weekend at 80 years old. I believe it is ageism. A form of Prejudice!

        Blessings Sallyjane
        http://www.the777man.com Do you Love to write? Murder Writing Contest on our blog… Your invited to compete or vote on the competitors!

  44. I think the real issue here is not the fact Lego have brought out a pink set (which I have for my girls and they love) but that they seem to sell boxes of Lego with instructions. Taking away a childs creativity by telling them what to build rather than leaving it to the imagination! No one is complaining about the Star Wars and Harry Potter sets which you could argue are aimed at boys…

    • I have to disagree with you on the Star Wars/Harry Potter sets being aimed at boys exclusively. I am a 20 year old woman and I LOVE (and know many, many other women and girls who do as well) Star Wars and Harry Potter, both of which were introduced to me by my mother. Star Wars and Harry Potter are not gender specific constructs.

      • Molly,

        Look at the marketing for these toys– boys on the packaging and commercials, boy aisles in stores. That’s great your mom bucked stereotypes and introduced you to this toy enthusiastically. I hope more parents disregard marketing like this.

        Margot

  45. I see this as Lego giving girly-girls permission to be who they are. You can still buy regular legos. They haven’t taken those away. Let girly-girls enjoy being ultra-feminine. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just because Lego has this new line doesn’t mean girls can’t own the other sets. It’s just giving more options. It will play out in the market. So, let it play.

  46. I do see the problem at hand here. I agree with some that there are a lot of different kinds of toys to choose from in the store, but it’s not so much an issue of availability than it is of marketing and sending out an image.

    Lego is an insanely large company with a worldwide reputation. Making sets with the intention that it is for girls, isn’t a problem. Neither is adding some colors that might speak to girls. I believe most have forgotten about the Paradiso serie, but those were my first Lego’s. “Normal” sets in white and some pink, but I still had to build everything from scratch. I could switch heads depending on someone’s mood in my made up story.

    The Friends serie is different in many ways. Not only are the figures more doll-like, the subjects are reasonbily questionable. It’s not just the mirror or a brush, but subjects like dogshows and Valentine’s Day where the girls recieve chocolates; it seems to be more about the apperance of everything rather than the adventure behind it.

    Kids are, for a large part, dependable on what parents buy them. I won’t deny that this won’t be invluenced on some level by what classmates have, but still. Parents buy the toys. A lot of parents will not think twice about the message behind the toys and that’s the whole reason why it’s so important to stand still and think about it.

    I understand what Morgan Freeberg is saying about the difference between creativity, vision and resourcefullness. However, if you’ll buy a kid a plastic stove, it’s pretty hard to invision it as a spaceship. Kids can make up all kins of adventures out of nowhere, but they’ll have to be given something to build around. A plastic vaccuumcleaner will never lend as much posibilities as Legofigures you can build of from scratch, turn and switch heads with depending on their mood and whatever you can just build with the blocks.

    It’s nice to have a goal to build (as I love the Harry Potter series that has all kinds of twisting doors for example) and to complete, to but simply “buy a tub, 20 bucks” isn’t necessary stimulating either.

    Sexism in playing starts from a very young age, I can tell from experience. When we were 4, the boys would always play in the hallway, building shelters to attack, while girls were almost never aloud there; we had to play house or color or something. It would be good to be more aware of the consequenses of those choices adults make for the childeren. It’s a shame it doesn’t get more attention in general.

  47. This letter relies on an inaccurate depiction of the new Lego Friends series. Aren’t the ‘design studio’ and ‘invention workshop’ sets exactly what Ms. Garth is looking for when she suggests a library or computer room? As for vehicles and sports, there already is more than one car, and a speedboat on the way, and there’s already a pool and a skateboarding set.

    Sure, the aesthetic of the Lego Friends series reeks of shallow pandering – but this criticism based on the content of the line is merely uninformed.

  48. Great letter, and an important issue. I bought my 6 y.o a lego camper van for Christmas; she built it, loved it, and (I’m glad to say,) fought with her brother over it! Decent girls toys are few and far between anyway, let’s hope lego finds the right way to be the creative spark it always has been.

  49. I agree in full, we need to support the building blocks of our society, not the cultural lines which are from a young age viewed as the norm. My pleasure reading your well constructed and meaning full argument.

    Wendie

  50. Very eloquently put! As a grandmother,I agree wholeheartedly.
    One of my boys liked dolls and some girls toys and people told him he was a ‘sissy’ but if a girl climed trees and played with guns and footballs,it was okay because she was just a ‘tomboy!’.

  51. The feminist issue, Morgan K Freeberg, as Anne Garth eloquently discussed is the message this type of marketing sends out to people, especially the young girls being targeted by it. It reinforces the old, stifling stereotype of girls being nothing more than pink, passive and pretty. This is what girls get to aspire to, this is what we are told to aim for.

  52. Both kinds of Lego are available still, but it seems to be the inflexible kits which are advertised, and very aggressively. Kids I know are utterly obsessed with the Star Wars Lego range, without ever having seen the films. Peer pressure also seems to mean that playing with old-school Lego just isn’t cool enough.
    I can’t blame the company too much – they developed a product that lasts generations and where one small purchase can give years of entertainment. It’s not surprising that they’ve chosen to bring out lots of new, more disposable ranges.

  53. Impressive vocabulary. It says something that she’s the first one I’ve read in many a month to send me scurrying to a dictionary. “Prink.” Cool, a new word.

    Regarding this issue, I don’t get it. Old farts like me have been complaining for awhile now, that kids these days don’t seem to be getting hold of tubs of bricks and building whatever…it’s more like a kit with a picture of something on the lid of the box, and they’re expected to fit the parts together and make that something. That is the real issue, a stranglehold of non-development put on our childrens’ creativity, and it is unisex.

    And from reviewing what’s available I have to put the blame on the people buying the toys, as there is an ample supply of BOTH kinds available. If tubs-of-bricks are what you want, and that puts me solidly in your camp, you can snag it for a song:

    http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=3252052&view=all

    What exactly is the feminist issue here?

    Vision is “you will give me this, I will do this, and then…” Creativity is “now that you’ve given it to me, I can create…” Resourcefulness is “since this other thing is all I can get, I’ll find a way to…” Looks like the vision is not what’s lacking here. Resourcefulness needs to be built up a bit better, both by the feminists and the girls who are central to their concerns. Buy a tub. Twenty bucks.

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