Lego, Stereotyping, and
Miss Representation

The ol’ boys at Lego need to see this movie, get educated, get up to speed, get bombarded with complaints about their new “girly” line of Logo sets.

Instead of drawing in girl Lego players by targeting them in their general advertising, they are putting out a line of “pink” and “curvy” Lego sets that they believe will attract girls. The message is “you are too dumb to know how to play with real Lego components; you don’t want to build anything unique, you just want to play house, right?” Bad message, Lego. You are perpetuating the misrepresentation of girls and women as “less than men” in intelligence, creativity, and problem solving. You are perpetuating the stupid stereotype.

The movie, MissRepresentation

…uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see…

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

It starts with girls — young, impressionable girls — who are bombarded by the media (and now, Lego) with the message that how they look is much more important than how they think.

Lego has always been a “thinking” toy, stimulating the brain to conceptualize in three dimensions with unique creativity. My 9 year grandson is obsessed with Lego — builds the most amazing vehicles and structures, takes them apart, and then builds other ones all of his own design. He creates scenarios where male and female figures participate equally (of course, I had to purchase female figures for him separately since few come as cops, firefighters, or construction workers). He also creates family groups and structures. If I had a granddaughter, I would hope that she would play with Lego the same way.

Lego!! Can you hear me now! Girls don’t need another misrepresentation, another wrong message. Ditch the girly Lego, add more female figures in professional roles, and market the good ol’ Lego product line with an egalitarian approach.


4 thoughts on “Lego, Stereotyping, and
Miss Representation

  1. My 5 Y.O. grandniece got a lego set of the toy story train. She’s very analytical and she loves it. I’m glad it wasn’t one of the girly ones. I don’t see why they are needed either. But, maybe playing the devil’s advocate a little, sometimes girly things appeal more to “girly girls” and if it is a learning toy (as opposed to a doll or kitchen appliance toy) maybe that is OK. I don’t like to buy into the advertised-on-TV and passive electronic toys / videos that make up her wish list, so I gave my 7 Y.O. niece, a super-girly-girl who struggles in school a princess castle themed blank book kit, with markers, stickers, jewels, all very pink. She loved it — worked on it for hours making her story and illustrations, and writing / letters / drawing isn’t her “thing.”

    Something else you mentioned in another post, maybe if toys such as legos had been available to you rather than dolls and other female-role reinforcers, you’d be more analytical. I agree. Unfortunately, even now what I witness in school in terms of math teaching (for both boys and girls) are boring, ineffective methods. I can almost see the lights being turned off! Also, it is very slow paced! The 5 Y.O. grandniece I mentioned is in kindergarten, and she laments (already) that they are still only up to learning shapes in math!

  2. Gina –
    Oh, I have no problem with “girly” stuff. I just think that there was a more learning-effective way to design the “girly” pieces; they went overboard on the changes to the shapes.

    My daughter had all of the girly Barbie stuff when she was a kid, and I saved it all; now my grandson plays with the figures and the clothes, but comes at at play more from a “boy” perspective, where Barbie becomes more of an action figure to go along with his SWAT guys and firefighters.

    It sounds like you found the perfect gift for your grandniece. It engages her visually and kinesthetically and motivates her to want to use the skills that she might not be too comfortable practicing otherwise. And she will have a product that she can take pride in and enjoy. Where did you find the kit?

    As my daughter researches ways to teach her son math using right-brain, visual, and kinesthetic approaches (because that’s how he learns best), I am amazed at all the resources that are out there for kids who are not, by nature, linear, sequential thinkers. These approaches are often designed for ADD kids, but they are much more engaging ways for everyone to learn math, and reading, as well. The problem, of course, is that these approaches work great one-on-one or in small groups. The traditional assembly-line educational system doesn’t seem to be able to accommodate all of those individual learning differences. My grandson, who is one of those right-brain kids who fidgets a lot and can’t sit still for as long as he would have to in a regular classroom, is thriving as a home schooler. He is very lucky that my daughter is committed to teaching herself the most creative ways to motivate his learning. It really is a full-time job for her. I don’t see how a regular elementary classroom teacher would have to time to both do the research and then design lesson plans to incorporate the approaches for a diverse group of kids.

  3. You are right, of course!

    I found the story book on amazon

    Unfortunately it is the only one — I couldn’t find anything similar with different themes.

    What are the essential elements that makes home schoolers outperform traditionally educated kids (some sources say by 2 years for public school children and 9 months for private school students) is an interesting question…individual attention, the ultimate of parental involvement, a focus on freedom on learning, much less television watching…all of these?

    Regardless, I’m glad your grandson is the beneficiary of your daughter’s commitment! He’s a lucky kid. It is my wish we could take lessons from the approach to inform practice in regular schools, even if it is difficult to implement on a mass scale (and probably would not be effective with some kids in schools). It’s apparent in my observations that some teachers and administrators are more effective and innovative than others — are they naturally gifted? Not sure. It amazes me given the very large number of special needs there are today.

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