Thank God for Star Jones.
Yesterday, on “The Today Show,” Matt Lauer, Nancy Snyderman, Donnie Deutsch, and Star discussed the Legos for girls. Everyone seemed to think selling girls out was pretty hilarious. I transcribed the segment below ( It may not be perfect but it’s very close. The version I found on the Today site missed words and didn’t attribute them.) My comments are in italics. You can watch the segment here.
Matt Lauer: Lego has a brand new line of products coming out marketed specifically to girls, but some are arguing it’s sexist and stereotypical because the lady Legos work in places like beauty salons, cupcake factories, and vet offices.
Would Matt say “gentleman Legos”? Or is he adopting Lego’s “ladyfig” term? Or, is he being facetious in which case: ha ha
Star Jones: And they give you little electric mixers and brushes and combs and purses.
Thank you, Star. Well said.
Donnie Deutsch: Perfect, perfect.
Matt Lauer: You’re sounding down on this.
Jones: When you’re a little girl, you want to build bridges also. You want to put them on top of each other. You don’t want–
Lauer: So go out and buy the architectural Lego.
(Nancy Snyderman laughs.)
Jones: Which is exactly the way my three year old goddaughter does. She has the architectural one. The big yellow ones.
Thank you Star for trying to explain.
Nancy Snyderman: These are perfectly okay. The reality is there is a gender difference. Girls like playing with girl’s things, and you’re still constructing things. If the cupcake girl can still do calculus, I have no issue.
If the cupcake girl knows calculus, it’s not because of Friends Lego. The focus of the Friends sets is not construction or imagination. Everyone chant together now: Girls like playing with girl things! Girls like playing with girl things! If we say it enough, it will come true!
Deutsch: By the way, an example yesterday, I took my little girls to a craft studio where you paint and draw. They picked the cupcakes and the girl things. They were still learning to draw but they were doing it their way. Having said that though, where I do have a problem is when you separate the 50 most powerful business women. The more you separate men and women, that’s keeping the distinction, so there’s a double edged sword.
And the difference is? That’s not a double edge, dude, it’s an edge. One more time: Girls like playing with girl things!
Jones: They put those Legos in the girls section.
Star tries again. Thank you, Star.
Lauer: Here’s a response from Lego: We’re typically acknowledged as a toy for boys. Currently only 9% of American girls are building. The Lego Friends line is the result of four year of global research to understand what would attract more girls to building.
At this point I would’ve said: “Of course Lego said that. They’re trying to sell toys to parents.” But instead everyone except for Star leaps on Lego’s statement as if it’s Gospel.
Deutsch: You’re teaching them to build!
Snyderman: It gets girls into architecture and math and design, I’m all for it!
Jones: Give them some alternatives for goodness sake.
Lauer: There’s no law that says they can’t go to the store and buy the Frank Lloyd Wright line.
There’s no law, Matt. It’s called marketing. Isn’t this segment about Lego marketing to girls?
Jones: They put the Legos in the girls sections.
Star tries a fourth time to discuss how corporations market gender.
Deutsch: Little Girls do like princesses and things like that. I like princesses.
When princesses are practically the only way girls get represented or are allowed to be the center of attention, or stars, in movies, games, toys, and TV, of course, they’re going to like them. Beggars can’t be choosers.
Snyderman: And will parents buy this for boys? (Laughs)
Deutsch: No they won’t.
Lauer: That’s probably not going to happen
To me, that’s the lowlight of this whole segment. Parents wouldn’t be caught dead buying Friends Legos for their sons. Why? First, it’s a stupid toy. Look how early it starts: boy stuff is cool and girl stuff has cooties. Parents feel comfortable when their kids fall neatly into gender norms and corporations play to that. If a boy tries on a barrette, the parent pays little attention, but if he picks up a train, “He’s such a boy! Look at him go!” Of course, it goes way beyond that. As I keep writing about this issue, kids learn through play. Play is supposed to challenge children out of their comfort zones to help their brains grow. Parents, please challenge your kids.