Last week, Lego released this statement to parents who are upset about the gender stereotyping marketed to kids:
We want to correct any misinterpretation that LEGO Friends is our only offering for girls. This is by no means the case. We know that many girls love to build and play with the wide variety of LEGO products already available. LEGO Friends joins this global collection of products as yet another theme option from which parents may choose the best building experience for their child’s skill and interest.
We listen very carefully to the opinions and input that people share. We will continue to do so as we develop the LEGO brand to deliver the best experiences with the strongest appeal, and we will review our communications to ensure that we represent LEGO play for all children. We are proud to have developed a collection that is receiving positive feedback and reviews from parents and children who are now trying it at home, and we hope that we will engage even more girls in the skill-developing experience of LEGO play.
Here’s my response back to Lego:
LEGO Systems, Inc. 555 Taylor Road
P.O. Box 1138
Enfield, CT 06083-1138Dear Lego,You’re missing the point. It’s true that Lego Friends is particularly shocking in how it perpetuates gender stereotypes. Still, the problem is not that Friends is the only offering “for girls,” but rather: Why does Lego market so separately to girls at all?Why does Lego picture mostly boys on its boxes, boys in its TV commercials, and boys flying an airplane on its Facebook Welcome page? When you go to Lego’s website, why are categories organized: Trains, Robotics, Buildings, Vehicles etcetera and then Girls? Why does Lego act as if “Girls” are in a separate category than so many other options? That boys are important and central and that girls are secondary and an afterthought? It’s this belief that permits missteps like the creation of the Friends sets. In your statement, you write: ”We know that many girls love to build and play with the wide variety of LEGO products already available.” But then why doesn’t Lego aggressively market all of its sets to all children? In 1981, you did. What happened?Sincerely,Margot Magowan