I’ve been trying not to care about LEGO for girls.
It’s fatiguing, the constant over-analysis of the subtext of children’s toys. I tried to quit cold turkey after the choice to accept Disney Princess Barbie into my home in the interest of choosing battles. I was doing pretty well…and then it started with “LEGO for girls.” “LEGO.com Friends – The Beauty of Building – LEGO for girls.”
No, no, no, no, NO! NO! LEGO for girls already exists – it’s called LEGO.
I understand the need for pink and purple bricks. If you’re going to make a rainbow, you need all of the colors. So, when we were trying to make a Duplo representation of the musical scale using the same color scheme as Music Mind Games, I needed a light blue and a purple. I raided my niece’s collection. It was all good.
But this is what LEGO used to be – thanks to The Society Pages for the image:
And this? COME ON. We already have this! It’s called Every Other Toy Already Marketed to Girls!
When I examine the issue dispassionately, I understand that my primary objection is that this is coming from LEGO, versus, say, Playmobil, Mattel, Hasbro, or whoever makes the Polly Pockets that always end up in pieces in the folds of the couch. We have many, many Things of Pink in this household, some with molded curves and kicky skirts that coordinate with their friends’ outfits and optional poodle accessories sold separately. There is no logical reason why I should forbid minifigures that have actual figures.
But LEGO is supposed to be different. Gender-neutral not because it’s been stripped of all character, but because anyone can build anything with them. They’re blocks. That green mat’s supposed to be an empty canvas.
You know why LEGO is becoming such a “boy” thing? Not (just) because of all the little plastic weapons and weird, Mordor-y sounding creatures. It’s because it’s becoming more and more centered around elaborate hierarchies of backstory and facts and figures. “Mom, you know why Garmadon lives inside the Gorge of Enlightenment with level three dragon power instead of lightning-raja powerball fire? Because THIS GUY (whips out minifigure completely indistinguishable from every other minifigure embedded in my foot) BEAT him with the laser-sword whip at the battle of Kara-hati with the Bionicle – (“MOM. They don’t MAKE Bionicle anymore.” “Hush. Mommy’s blogging.”) – the Bionicle megatron emperor’s lost fortress shield level nine!”
Instead of “let’s build a city,” we have to build MetroTown City to look like the picture on the box. Instead of “I wonder if I could make a Ninja?” we have to collect every single figure in the Ninjago line before it’s retired to introduce LEGO Panther-men, or whatever’s coming next. It’s not just all the flamethrowers. The new LEGO production lines tap into the boy mind and the obsession with cataloging arcane pieces of information.
Oh, I can’t win. I just stereotyped boys in a post meant to scream “DON’T STEREOTYPE GIRLS!”
I’ll be tempted to deploy my most potent of all weapons when faced with LEGO for Girlz: the Wet Blanket. “See how they have tried to make these legos that look like Barbie? Isn’t that silly? It’s sad that they think you won’t play with legos unless they’re pink and curvy, right? I mean, isn’t that ridiculous? It’s all about advertising. Finish using your Cotton Candy maker and come sit next to Mommy while I point out all of the obvious pandering these market researchers are doing. Oh sure, you can spend your money on these if you want, if you’re going to let the Man tell you that you can only play with pink things…where are you going?”
But I won’t. I’ll just talk behind their back, the little queen bees of LEGOland. They think they’re so cute, with their outdoor bakeries and dedication to “being green.” I’ll show them. I’ve signed my son and daughter up for LEGO robotics classes. TAKE THAT, CORPORATE…
(It could be argued that getting my children interested in a LEGO product line that costs about eight times as much as LEGO friends is not exactly sticking it to The Man.)