Tag Archives: gender roles

What’s a Girl to do?

2 Mar

The other day, while on Yahoo checking my email, a trending topic caught my attention.  “Toy Sex Change” it screamed from the right hand corner of the screen.  I had to click it.  To my surprise the story was not about a doll that looked more like Ken than Barbie but about Lego’s.

Lego beautifulLego’s, those wonderful building blocks of creativity from your childhood.  They honed your fine motor skills while allowing  your imagination to bloom with eclectic buildings and birds of prey.  Go into any toy department now and you will discover that these are no longer your parents Lego’s.  Now days there are Lego’s marketed to all types of genre, Star Wars fans, Lord of the Rings fans, Cars fans and now there is even an option marketed specifically to little girls, Lego Friends.

Reading the story about these little bundles of pink and purple girlishness I was a little inspired.   Not only did these little dolls offer girls an option of backgrounds and screens (a departure from the standard beach bikini backgrounds of the typical Barbie) by allowing them to pick careers for their dolls like Vet or pilot but the doll itself is more proportionate and looks more like a real person without being over the top risqué like the Bratz dolls were.  I was so inspired that I shared the story on the Facebook page of a Fat Acceptance group I am a member of thinking that it would be received openly and as happily as I had been

Boy was I wrong….

It seems that I have been hiding under a big boulder and its name was gender.  No one seemed to get my excitement at the doll and that it opens little girls up to not being restricted to the confines of a Barbie with its unrealistic expectations; instead they were up in arms that Lego’s had introduced this line of toy that was gender restrictive by telling girls that they should like pink and purple and being girlie, playing dress up and house instead of building skyscrapers and malformed aircraft.  They scolded me in a way telling me that the dolls should be like all the other standard Lego dolls.   Someone even included a link to a YouTube video that features an attractive young women clad in a hot pink sweatshirt who traces the history of Lego and how they have consistently dismissed girls in their standard, run of the mill Lego sets and insisted that they would rather imagine and role play in a sea of pastel and home making fantasy.

Now, I remember my childhood.  I was a tom boy.  In fact, until recently, pink was my least favorite color in the spectrum.  Sure I had Barbie and My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake dolls to play with, but I also had GI Joe and He-Man and Transformers to play with.  I also had Lincoln Logs and Lego’s that were among some of my favorite toys to play with.  Never wanting a Ken doll (I guess even at 5 I suspected Ken was a little to fruity for Barbie with his kerchief, lol) I always chose to pair Barbie with GI Joe and they played in houses comprised of Lincoln Logs and Lego’s.  Gender roles never entered my mind as a young child, I dreamed of becoming a lawyer or a teacher or even President when I was little, at one point even dreaming of being a famous singer.  I wasn’t into science or I would probably have dreamed of being a doctor too.

At first I was really perturbed that my point was taken so far out of context, I mean, after all, my excitement was that they built this playland for girls with a doll that looked more realistic than a Barbie doll does but then I realized that, to some degree, they were right.  Lego has exclusively dismissed girls for the last 30 some odd years marketing their play sets to boys.  Now they have segregated the girls from the boys while enforcing to boys that they should be aggressive and combative and reiterating to girls that they are dainty and should be home minded.

I am not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, I was horrified when the government recently lifted the ban on women in combat.  I personally don’t think that women can do ANYTHING and to be honest, even if they could I don’t think they should.  But, I certainly think that there is a lack of gender neutral toys that encourage both girls and boys to create and imagine and Lego’s is the perfect platform for that imagination.  Do I think they should get rid of the Friends play sets?  No and I don’t think they should get rid of the boys playsets either, what I do think they should do is focus more on their Creator Collection which is more a throw back of bygone days and enhance this with a variety of occupations that anyone could be drawn to, like Vet or Chef or Police.

This will allow EVERYONE to “Just Imagine”

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