Highlights from Callie’s letter: (remember, she’s a 10 year old girl, folks. 10. years. old.)
Generalizing is saying any group of people is all one way, or likes one thing. Even if it’s complimentary, saying a group of people is all the same is just not true. Every person is unique and has a spark, different likes and dislikes, and faults of their own. You must respect that.
I am glad that I have the insight to pass information like this on to younger generations, I just wish I had as much insight when I was this age. Honestly, it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside, like a hug from baby Jesus, to read this in a 10-year-old’s letter. Well said!
But then the girls who want superhero toys or adventure toys or dinosaurs or space toys or Harry Potter toys or Egyptian toys are forced to go to the boy’s aisle. They shouldn’t have to do that. Are you saying toys they want are for boys only? It’s not right to make a girl feel like she’s not acting like a girl should or is different. Are boys the only people who can do constructive things? No! But forcing a girl to go to the boy’s aisle, making her feel like she shouldn’t use Legos that aren’t pink and girly is just plain stupid.
^^This^^. Really couldn’t have said it any better than she has, here. By gendering even seemingly gender neutral items, it dichotomizes toys into two groups - one for boys, one for girls. All this is rather than simply focusing on age groups and offering all toys to all children without the added visual reminders that THIS section is for boys and THAT section is for girls. Not every girl is fearless about marching down the aisle with the “action figures” (or, dolls as they’re called in the “girl” section) and getting the toy she really wants. Some girls might feel weird about that, some girls might feel pressure from those around her to like things that are supposed to be “appropriate” for their performance of gender.
And there’s another thing that makes me more secure about today’s lifestyle. If the girl does go to the boy’s aisle what meets her eyes is the sight of war. Legos you can use that create a war scene, or spies shooting at each other or a spaceship with guns to shoot aliens. Does this seem right? Do we need more war in our bloodstained world?
You know, I can respect a child that has a solid grasp on sarcasm in a tasteful manner such as here*. I can also respect the observation that toys aimed at the male set are definitely not without aggressive undertones.
You’re just a piece of the fault. You are a part of that thought growing in a kid’s mind about how they should be and what to think. Make it be the right idea. Please. Make a kid’s world a little less narrow-minded and stereotypical. Make some of it right.
And, the lowlights of the LEGO response:
Many girls told us they had trouble identifying with the LEGO minifigure’s unrealistic appearance. As role play is central to the LEGO Friends experience we designed a figure with a more realistic appearance. While we understand that this theme is out of the norm for LEGO as, like you said, we are a gender neutral company. We feel it’s a step in the right direction to get girls more involved with LEGO products. Sadly, over the year, many of our girl fans have diminished and moved onto toys that appeal to them.
Why the hell is role play central to the LEGO Friends experience? Once upon a time, LEGOs were a bunch of plastic bricks that came in sets so you could build, get this, Anything. You. Want. They’re about role play, I’d think, because that’s what the majority of toys directed towards girls are about, role playing their future “feminine” selves. If there’s a toy for a girl, you can be pretty sure that it involves role playing in some way shape or form from dolls, to play kitchens, pretend supermarkets, and play houses. And many of the girl fans have moved on? Maybe it was because LEGOs started mass producing pre-designed building kits that didn’t foster as much creativity as the generic building blocks sets, or maybe it is as this insightful 10 year old has said and it is about the fact that these toys have become androcentric over the years.
We found that little girls really enjoyed having male and female minifigures in their sets, while the little boys would take the girl minifigure out before playing. Boys tend to like to create “good guy versus bay guy” types of scenes, while girls enjoy role play, such as going shopping with their minifigures.
This couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that girls and boys have been endlessly marketed incomplete versions of themselves. And it certainly couldn’t have anything to do with the ever present message for boys that girly/feminine = the worst thing ever, could it?
For shame, LEGO. For shame. You really are a part of the problem and you refuse to admit it. How about a return to the days of yore, when LEGOs were absolutely NOT gendered and required imagination and creativity, allowing kids to build whatever the heck they wanted to because they didn’t come in kits and sets that you could build.
Lego, you’ll be getting no more of my money until you fix this problem.
*Callie definitely had parental help on this letter, but, let me hang onto my dream of a 10 year old with a solid grasp of sarcasm in a tasteful manner. Maybe this wasn’t the part she needed help on, you never know!