“Well, it’s not the worst…” I’ve heard this phrase uttered often to defend something that people find offensive or not up-to-par. It’s a phrase I found myself thinking when I recently started reading articles about the new line that Lego introduced for girls this month. After four years of research, design, and exhaustive testing, Lego delivered the new line aimed at girls 5 and up. The line, “Lego Friends,” features a group of girls (represented by newly-designed, more feminine looking Lego girls who have a decidedly less boxy figure than previous models) who each have different interests, which correspond to different sets: a beauty salon, a café, a science lab, a vet clinic, and fashion design studio. Not only are many of these interests stereotypically “girly,” but the sets themselves are bathed in pinks and purples, and look extremely easy to construct.
All of which got me thinking… even though these Legos designed for girls aren’t the worst toys being offered to girls today, don’t our girls deserve more than “not the worst”? Don’t they deserve more than a Lego version of a Barbie? Don’t they deserve the best?
Considering how much time, money, and research that Lego devoted to creating this line for girls, I expected a lot more, especially in light of how gender-neutral Lego used to be (Exhibit A). I have fond memories of playing with Legos when I was younger. I loved my dolls (both Cabbage Patch and Barbie dolls), but sometimes that wasn’t what I was in the mood for. I played with Legos when I was in the mood to build something, to design a house according to my own whims, to carefully plan out how many blocks I needed for the perimeter and interior walls. Although I had a set of generic Legos that were all pastels (pink, purple, white, green), I preferred to play with my brother’s regular Legos (featuring the regular Lego colors), because they fit together better than the generic brand’s blocks. I didn’t need to be pandered to with girly colors and sets. I just wanted quality toys that allowed my own creativity to thrive—just like today’s girls.