By Seila Rizvic
If you weren’t convinced before that LEGO’s new pink-ified and short-skirted mini-figures weren’t a form of gendering and sexualization of young girls, then maybe this will convince you.
Recently, a concerned parent and blogger reported that the LEGO Club magazines that had previously been delivered to her and her daughter had been replaced by a very different kind of magazine. LEGO Club Girls is a pastel-coloured, less-interesting version of the original developed around sorely misinformed ideas of what girls like. An online sample from the LEGO website reveals that the original magazine included things like comic strips involving knights and kings, a how-to guide on building LEGO boats and a surfing themed colouring activity. The new LEGO Club Girls magazine, the blogger reports, features comic strips with the new LEGO Friends characters going to a café (yawn) and instead of a surfing themed activity, there’s an activity centred around a lost puppy (double yawn).
Most strikingly of all, there are no building instructions in this version of the magazine. Why not? It certainly wouldn’t have to do with the fact that LEGO thinks girls don’t like building things or aren’t meant to build things; maybe LEGO just couldn’t think of a girly enough thing for girls to build. What would a girl build anyway? Lipstick? A training bra? A tutu? Are there tulle and chiffon LEGO bricks in the works for the next set of girl mini-figures?
If you happened to check “girl” upon signing up for LEGO Club but don’t want to automatically be switched over to a “girlier” LEGO Club magazine, don’t worry! They want you to know that you can opt out and re-subscribe to the “regular” version. Really, LEGO? The message here is loud and clear. There’s girls stuff, like puppies and beauty shops and pink things, and there’s boy stuff, or what LEGO might call “regular” stuff; you know, stuff that forces you to use your imagination and takes you on adventures and has characters with more developed personalities than all the lady LEGO Friends combined!
It has become painfully clear that this company doesn’t have a clue what girls want. Hey LEGO, want to see a real LEGO Girls Club in action? Check out this group of grade-school girls (your demographic!) building robots and using programming to manipulate their LEGO creations! How about promoting science, technology, engineering and math in young girls? How about a Marie Curie or Simone de Beauvoir themed gender-neutral LEGO set? In case you didn’t know, and it’s very clear you don’t, Simone de Beauvoir was a French philosopher who used the concept of “othering”, something you are guilty of, to describe the alienation of and separation of female experiences as secondary to the male consciousness. Come to think of it, there’s a whole slew of feminist writing you ought to brush up on and this would probably be a lot more helpful than the enormous amount of money that went into the “research” you invested in these new minifigures. Heck, why not just go back to the awesomely gender-neutral 1981 campaign?
The LEGO Club website currently has a survey up encouraging “LEGO girls” to “help [them] make the very best LEGO Club Magazine [they] can!” Tell them what you think! Better yet, why not sign the petition to “Tell LEGO to stop selling out girls!” which at last count was already just shy of 35,000 signatures! The future of gender-neutral LEGO for boys and girls may depend on it!