LEGO has been around longer than Kim Kardashian but critics are suggesting the company is doing more damage to little girls’ minds than the nuptially-challenged, sex-tape-making reality star.
Seriously? Is that even possible?
Here’s the problem in a nutshell..
- 1932: Ole Kirk Christiansen, a toy maker from Billund, Denmark sets out to entertain children everywhere – and to avoid starvation.
- 1934: his company comes to be called “LEGO”, from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play-well”.
- 1947: The company expanded to producing plastic toys
- 1949: Lego began producing the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”. These bricks were based largely on the patent of Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which were released in the United Kingdom in 1947. No wonder I’ve never heard of Kiddicraft. Beware of imitators kids; if they can up the ante on you, you’re dead!
Fast forward to the here and now – I’m skipping A LOT I know, but we have to get to the point sometime – and the world has changed. As a company LEGO is a powerhouse; largely due to their Star Wars playsets. But they’ve always been missing a MAJOR segment of the market.
Namely, those with two “X” chromosomes.
A petition on the website Change.org, started by Bailey Shoemaker Richards and Stephanie Cole of the SPARK Movement, a girl-fueled activist movement to demand an end to the sexualization of women and girls in media, condemned the sets and claimed that LEGO was “selling out to girls.” So far more than 36,000 people have signed the petition.
Selling out? How does a company sellout? They’re in business to make money, people!
I understand the concerns being voiced here
LEGO Friends features five revamped Lego figurines – complete with budding bosoms and online personalities.
The playsets include an inventor’s workshop and a design school alongside a bakery and a pool, something critics suggest give in to gender stereotypes and aren’t as construction focused.
Half the fun of LEGO is the construction phase, which kids fully control – you can build ANYTHING your mind can conceive – but the new sets feature pre-assembled components.
This entire situation may indeed be a non-issue; how much harm can these toys do compared to “role models” like Kardashian and her brain-damaged family? Then again, I’m hardly qualified to assess the long-term effects, if any, of these toys.
Approaching this issue as a male, I can only offer views based on my own experiences; I spent hours playing with LEGO but that’s because I had to actually build my creations! Kids – regardless of gender – need constant mental stimulation and LEGO can provide that.
Old school LEGO, that is.
- Hey Anti-Lego Feminists, Lego For Girls Actually Kicks Ass (gizmodo.com.au)
- Are the New LEGO Friends for Girls Sexist? (inhabitat.com)
- Lego Marvel makes minifigs of The Avengers movie (pocket-lint.com)