Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gender Controversy Stacks Up Against 'Lego Friends'

This was on NPR a couple of weeks ago - it seems LEGO has introduced some new toys that are aimed at girls, but there are a lot of people who object to this and would prefer to see LEGOs be more gender neutral in thier toys.

Aside from simply promoting archaic sexual and gender stereotypes for girls, the new toys violate the LEGO mission of promoting toys that encourage children's creativity and individuality. 

January 18, 2012
Lego introduced a new lineup of toys earlier this month meant to appeal to girls. But a petition posted on is calling on the toy maker to stop distinguishing between toys for girls and those for boys. So far, the petition has amassed over 47 thousand signatures. Host Michel Martin speaks with one of the sponsors of that petition, Bailey Shoemaker Richards.
Here is a little piece of the transcript:

MARTIN: Now, Lego argues that these new toys are the result of four years of research into how to make its toys more appealing to girls and, if this is what girls are saying that they want, what's so terrible?

RICHARDS: Well, I think part of the problem with Lego's marketing is that it's very market research based. I mean, they've looked at what is going to sell to girls, so when you market pink princesses and beauty to girls from the time they're infants, by the time they're in Lego's target market for this line, which is about five and up, they're going to associate pink, pretty, you know, this very specific gender role with what they think they're supposed to be playing with. It's all they've been marketed their entire lives, so of course, that's what Lego's marketing research is going to find.

The problem that we have with that is that it doesn't really mesh with Lego's core values in their mission statement about wanting to create innovative products that help kids develop creativity. I mean, this fails that on all counts.

All they've done is sort of throw in with Barbie and Bratz and that sort of very, very narrow stereotypical type of marketing.

No comments: