Those Girly LEGOs Are Selling And That’s All LEGO Really Cares About
When parents and the childless started taking LEGO to task for developing a pink-washed line for girls that included busty figurines and other wondrous aptitude-enhancing experiences like nail salons, tanning, and shopping, the company quickly responded. In response to petitions from parents and the chiding of girls’ issues experts like Peggy Orenstein, LEGO stated that they had given the “Friends” line “a lot of thought” and agreed that “girls are very powerful and need to be represented as such.”
But despite much concern from the parenting and feminist blogosphere, those hyper-gendered girly LEGOs are selling — and that’s really all LEGO cares about in the first place. Hugo Schwyzer writes that “Olivia’s Tree House” — a product of the Friends line — is currently on Amazon’s list of 20 bestselling games and toys. The Friends play sets also make up about half of the top-selling toys currently on Walmart.com. He adds that although no numbers of sales have been released, it can be easily discerned that the Friends LEGOs are doing well. Profits of course allow LEGO to dismiss all this controversy as simply that — controversy, and affirms that they were correct to design a hyper-feminine play set that assumes all the superficial aspects of girls without considering their real strengths because at the end of the day, they’re making money.
And companies like LEGO that assume the worst of our sons and our daughters will continue to do so unless parents put their money where their values and concerns for their kids are, and show push back with sales. Because LEGO and the like aren’t really all that invested in kids or what they glean about themselves and their capabilities from their toys, otherwise they wouldn’t have produced this obscenely sexist collection. They’re a business and they only care about money. So unless parents can break it down into a language they understand — like “low sales,” “in the red,” and “unmoved product,” then there really is no incentive for LEGO to cease developing anything short of a “Happy Hooker House” complete with a madame and cash register.