A group of feminists has launched a signature campaign protesting the creation of a new feminine-friendly line of the popular LEGO toys because it stereotypes girls in traditional female roles.
Fox News is reporting that the SPARK a Movement of Brooklyn will be meeting this morning with representatives of the Danish company that created LEGO to air their concerns about how the new line of toys depicts girls.
Known as “LadyFigs,” they have the same boxy LEGO look as their male counterparts, and come with construction sets that include a hot tub, splash pool, beauty parlor, outdoor bakery, convertible and inventor’s workshop.
SPARK claims the toys hypersexualize girls.
“They have little breasts and they have fancy hair,” said Dana Edell, the organization’s executive director, to Fox. “And it just disturbs us that this is the image that they want girls to see.”
She also objects to the stereotyping of girls’ pasttimes.
“What it’s doing is telling girls that this is what’s important to you,” Edell said of the beauty parlor and hot tub sets. “Girls aren’t building space shuttles, they’re getting their nails done.”
Not everyone agrees. Dr. Leonard Sax, author of Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, sees nothing wrong with the new toy line.
“These particular women’s groups are disconnected from reality in their desire to promote the idea that these gender differences are taught by the patriarchy or through socialization,” Sax told Fox. “The sexualization of children is indeed an important issue, but this is not a part of that.”
SPARK readily acknowledges that the new LEGO line was a brilliant marketing move.
“LEGO Friends has been selling very well — to no one’s surprise,” says an entry on the website’s blog. “When little girls are prepped from birth by a gendered-obsessed media that reinforces stereotypes, girls will desire traditionally feminine products. LEGO, therefore, made what can only be called a wise marketing decision when it released a pretty, domestically oriented line ‘for girls.’ But we all know that smart marketing does not equal social responsibility . . .”
They’re hoping to convince the company to create a toy line that will allow girls to see themselves as “taking part in Ninja quests, countering alien invasions, being police and doctors and construction workers, and journeying to distant planets,” the blog states. “They also deserve to run cafes, get their hair done, and decorate their homes. There should be no separation between these options.”
LEGO Systems Brand Relations Director Michael McNally told Fox the company agreed to a sit-down meeting with SPARK this morning “to hear their feedback about our new line.” He says the company values “external perspectives — critical or complimentary — as inspiration for exploring development of the LEGO brand.”
However, they may be more inclined to listen to their customers. McNally said the new line of toys is selling well and generating positive feedback from parents.
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