A Ceasefire in the Lego Gender Wars? – Businessweek
Throw enough bricks around and you’re bound to break a window—or at least get some attention. That’s the main and perhaps only lesson to be drawn from the quest by a pair of feminist activists to get Lego to answer for the apparent sin of launching Lego Friends, a line of toys aimed at girls. Lego Friends features, among other things, pink-colored blocks and a character who aspires to be a fashion designer.
In December, Stephanie Cole and Bailey Shoemaker-Richards put up a petition on the website Change.org pressing Lego to change its marketing strategy. Cole and Shoemaker-Richards are affiliated with SPARK Movement, an organization that describes itself as a “girl-fueled activist movement” that advocates against the sexualization of women and girls in the media.
In their online petition, the women, both of whom are in their early 20s and are not parents, take Lego to task for introducing a “Barbielicious product line for girls.” For those unfamiliar with the gender wars in the toy aisle, the allusion to Barbie was not intended as a compliment. Cole and Shoemaker-Richards claim that Lego Friends reinforces sexist stereotypes about girls and women: “5 year-olds can imagine themselves at the café, lounging at the pool with drinks, brushing their hair in front of a vanity mirror, singing, or shopping with their girlfriends.” In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Shoemaker-Richards elaborated on this point by saying, “We were sort of disappointed by the lack of imagination that went into it.”
Judging from the 55,364 signatures the petition has garnered so far, there are many women and some men who think the activists are onto something. While Change.org makes adding one’s name to such a petition as easy as approving the terms of service on a newly downloaded mobile app—or snapping together a pair of plastic bricks, for that matter—the speed with which the signatures piled up caught the attention of Lego executives, who agreed to meet privately with Cole and Shoemaker-Richards on April 20 in New York.
Strange Random Gender Quote:
- Lego gets snapped at over girls’ line of toys (sfgate.com)
- Online Petition Charges LEGO With Creating Sexist ‘Friends’ Line (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- LEGO Friends Petition: Parents, Women And Girls Ask Toy Companies To Stop Gender-Based Marketing (huffingtonpost.com)
- Lego for girls: Wait, what? (news.cnet.com)
- Feminist Group Declares War On … Lego? (foxnews.com)
- Someone please make these Doctor Who Lego minifigs [Doctor Who] (io9.com)
- LEGOs for Girls Has Group Upset (myfoxny.com)
Posted on April 23, 2012, in Article and tagged Barbie, Bloomberg Businessweek, Cole, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Lego, Lego Friends, New York, Shoemaker-Richards, Stephanie Cole. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.