Does the Anti-LEGO Friends Petition Send the Wrong Message?

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So the LEGO Friends debate has gotten a bit bigger. In case you missed our last post on this issue, some folks are hopping mad that LEGO is marketing a specific line of blocks to girls. In fact, recently a petition was launched at Change.org asking LEGO to stop selling out girls with this new collection. I agree with the petition statement, “Raising healthy girls and boys is all about creating a wide range of possibilities and options for our children.” That said, I won’t be signing the petition. Honestly, I can’t believe some 30,000+ people have signed it already. I think the petition, as written, is sending out some strange stereotyped messages to kids and their parents.

Will you be signing the anti-LEGO Friends petition?

  • 40 Votes Yes - no pink toys for girls!
  • 253 Votes No - LEGO Friends are a good toy option.
  • 11 Votes I'm not sure yet.

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Image by Jennifer Chait

Petition Message 1: Only Take Action Against Pink Toys

One of my problems with this petition is that it reads as if the old sets are gender-neutral across the board, while only the new LEGO Friend sets promote stereotypes. The petition states, “Go back to advertising and offering all LEGO to boys and girls!” My son is LEGO obsessed and gets the darn LEGO catalogs sent to him, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a LEGO catalog that marketed fairly to both kids who like pink and kids who don’t. To be sure though, I gathered them up to look through them. You can’t tell from the picture above, unless you have very good eyesight, but the last three issues feature, in total, 5 girl minifigs on the cover – and one is an angry mermaid (does that count)? Contrarily, there are 21 male minifigs featured within the three covers.

Open the latest catalog and there are a few city and architecture sets featured, but the majority are ships, vehicles, trains, ninjas fighting, dragon battles, aliens and monsters galore and an almost insane amount of Star Wars sets. Most sets come with a slew of male minifigs and a couple of token girls. That’s fine for some kids. But I know plenty of kids who also would rather have a pretend stage or a treehouse than a flipping Star Wars set. How come there hasn’t been a major uproar that LEGO hasn’t had anything pink or beauty related for years, even though many kids like that sort of thing? No one is mad that LEGO puts out set after set of all-gray Star Wars bricks? Where’s the petition asking LEGO to stop all sales of brown Harry Potter sets or the all green alien sets? People only get mad enough to create a petition when pink bricks debut?

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9 Responses to “Does the Anti-LEGO Friends Petition Send the Wrong Message?”

  1. oaxacaborn says:

    I don’t understand why people are angry that Lego is making a pink girls’ line. People don’t seem to be angry that Lego has been making cars, trucks, planes, and other rough-and-tumble boys’ things for years!

  2. neffscott says:

    As an Early Childhood Educator, I observe most girls playing with dolls and other stereotypical “girl” toys. However, many girls also enjoy playing with trucks, trains, and blocks. My question is why does everything have to be either a “girls toy” or a “boys toy”? Let kids decide what they like and what they don’t. This isn’t a “PC” point of view, but a viewpoint from an adult male who thinks toy merchandisers should stop putting cultural gender roles on children.

  3. AngloTeacher says:

    I think that there is plenty of room within the City range especially for female minifigs in all areas from construction to police to transport to the bike shop. Lego should do more within all its ranges by having more female minifigs within their packs.

    Having said that, I don’t see an issue with the new sets if they get more girls constructing stuff.

  4. nickn says:

    I have 15+ years of experience in and around the toy industry, working with some of the biggest toy companies in the world.

    Like it or not, boys and girls play differently. This is a fact confirmed by countless studies. Yes, some boys will play with dolls and some girls will play with construction sets, but these are fringe cases not the majority.

    Girls are generally drawn towards nurturing play. Boys are drawn to heroic play. Again, this is a fact, not an imposition of male values on women. I personally welcome Lego’s attempt to reach girls with construction oriented products and am quite sure my daughters will love them.

    Protesting awful role models like Bratz I can understand. Boycotting Lego for trying to embrace girls is simply misguided thinking.

  5. reneb says:

    When I saw the Lego set for girls, I thought- “It’s about time!”. I know I would have LOVED this when I was a little girl. I would certainly rather buy this for a little girl than a Bratz doll.

  6. MarieAntoinette says:

    This is a absolutely ridiculous petition! As a college-educated mother of two boys and one girl, I am thrilled to see some new Lego sets that appeal to the interests of my daughter. She is interested in different things than my boys were, and even though we still have all the Legos that my sons played with over the years, she has not been that interested in playing with them. The Friends set are great for her and are based on what she likes — she is a girl and this is what makes her happy. If any feminists are threatened by girls being girls, they are confused as to what makes a female a strong person (yes, you can still wear pretty dresses and pink lipstick and be a bright, strong woman). I applaud Lego and will keep buying “girl” toys as long as they make them!!!

  7. OSYardo says:

    My nieces love this line of Lego, because it allows them to do two things – play with doll like settings and build. Neither of them are very interested in Lego City police or fire sets, Lego Lord of the Rings, or Lego Star Wars. So long as they are building and using those motor and construction skills it has to be good.

  8. akera says:

    I completely concur with your analysis of the petition. It’s only forced when you force a girl to play with this and tell her a space set is only for boys, whilst she wanted to play with that one.

    Indeed, offer them the choice! When I was a boy I played with stuffed animals and dolls, and also played being a knight… Just what mood or phase I was in. And nobody told me I couldn’t play house or whatever, because it was for girls. Thank god for my openminded parents ;-)

  9. addalight says:

    How about some rainbow colors. When color outside the lines, I like to use all the colors.

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