LEGO Admits That Those Stupid ‘Girls’ LEGOs Are Problematic
It’s been a pretty long back and forth for parents concerned about what those silly “Friends” LEGOs convey to their daughters. While “boys” LEGOs have traditionally explored a variety themes and tasks, including architecture, dinosaurs, pirates, Lord of the Rings, and even Harry Potter — the new “LEGOs for girls” has an array of problematic focuses. The “Friends” line saw significant backlash from parents for promoting such valuable past-times as tanning, hitting up hair salons, and hot tubs all with redesigned figurines with breasts. Nevertheless, the play sets are selling.
However, the girls’ advocacy group SPARK recently met with LEGO executives to discuss their concerns with the line. And according to the organization, LEGO was able to sympathize and recognize the harmful messages that these toys can ultimately send girls.
Bailey Richards writes on the meeting, describing the LEGO team sit-down as “pleasant, productive and inspiring.” SPARK asked that LEGO include more girls and women across all LEGO lines (the lines are at present 86.6% male), include more children of both genders in all LEGO lines as well as the “Friends” line, and include more non-stereotypical activities for girls as “Friends” expands. Basically, this means architecture, firefighting, space exploration, etc.
But more surprisingly, at the end of the 90-minute meeting, executives apparently were able to understand why many parents reacted so negatively:
One of the most encouraging parts of the meeting with LEGO was that the individuals sitting around the table shared many of our concerns, and were able to see why SPARK sees the Friends as a problematic addition to the LEGO suite of products.
Throughout the entire “Girls” LEGO backlash, the company has responded, usually with the affirmation that they were receptive to criticism. And aside from taking this meeting with SPARK, the company also plans to increase the number of female figurines across all lines by the end of 2012.
If all this simply was a matter of LEGO not understanding why depicting women characters with purses, lipsticks, and vanities while the males are out building battleships is an issue, then perhaps the meeting truly was a successful one.