Near the beginning of this blog, I posted about the new Legos that have been created to draw the attention of girls. I have issues with this change for several reasons. The inclusion of pink, of cute, and of increasingly gendered Lego figure bodies sends the message that girls can only enjoy toys if they have these features. It also tells boys which pieces to stay away from in order to fit their gender roles. Instead of going down the easy path of pink, Lego could have made a commitment to evaluating its figurines on gender, role, race, disability, and many other aspects that often show bias in toys and then marketing a balanced group of toys with simple bodies. They could be leaders in the charge to encourage all children to enjoy creative toys in which they would find themselves represented but the rest of the blocks would be available to all. This also includes backing off the violent, over-macho pieces, too. Unsurprisingly, they did not do this, but their choice to further add gender characteristics to the pieces unleashed quite a bit of backlash.
Now Lego is meeting with “Feminist Parents” as a result of this uproar. I don’t know why the parents need to be feminist to object to limiting the roles and physical characteristic options available to their children, boys and girls. It is not surprising that market research shows girls like pink and curvy toys that encourage them to think about their looks. Enough money has been dumped into making them want those things that it would be surprising if they did not show those biases in research. It is a circular system that is only increasing in its intensity. I look forward to the day when a mass market toy company bucks the trend in a big way. Unfortunately there will be nowhere in the stores to put their product if it is not clearly gendered. There are no aisles left for toys for anyone.