Toys and Gender

I saw a really cool vintage ad the other day on Jezebel. When I saw it, I loved it. It resonated with me. Very simply, it was an ad about how great Legos are. The hint was that it’s a great toy for girls, too. There was something empowering about the ad. The toy wasn’t about gender. It was about imagination and fun.

Vintage Lego Ad

Fast forward to mere days later, and I saw a commercial that undid all the good will of the vintage print ad shown above. Lego has introduced Lego Friends. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why it was so terrible to me, but I was instantly unhappy with the very existence of this new line of Lego toys. How are Lego fashion studios empowering? I love fashion, but the cutsie characters take all the universality from Lego play.

Lego Friends

We still have a culture where there are aisles of kid toys devoted entirely to things that are pink. Are these toys going to go there or in the Lego aisle?

I don’t have a daughter, but I was one of three girls. In kindergarten, I was playing with a big toy bus in the classroom, when a boy came up to me and ripped it from my hands, telling me I wasn’t allowed to play with that toy because I was a girl. I didn’t have to react to that, because my teacher did before I had time to. She jumped right in, took the toy from the boy and informed him in no uncertain terms that girls can play with trucks if they want to. She became my hero that day.

Fast forward to my parenting days. My son wanted a tea set, and I was ok with letting him have one. Except that every set they had was pink with flowers on them. I walked away from them saying we would buy a set when I could find one that was gender neutral. I never did buy one. Shame on me, I guess.

But, I suppose I will let Riley have the last word on this. After all, she’s a little girl, and she’s noticed something remarkably wrong with all of it.

What do you think about Lego Friends? Is it a step in the wrong direction, or am I wrong here? What toys did you or your child want to play with that they “weren’t supposed to”?

This entry was posted in Life in General, Parenting and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.