Let Go of My Legos!

By: Joanne C.

So, do Legos have a specified gender? I bring this up because I guess there has been some buzz about the Legos company now trying to market to girls.

Anyways, I did some reading on the matter. Now, when I was a kid, I had pink Legos, so I’ve been thinking, “What are you talking about, Legos are for anyone!” But then I read this:

“Today, girls and boys play equally with Duplo, Lego’s bigger bricks for toddlers. But starting at the princess phase, Lego’s smaller, more intricate kits skew “boy.”

And then I realized that the Legos I had as a kid must have been these Legos, the big fat ones for toddlers. And that once the ‘princess stage’ started, around the time that girls begin obsessing about Cinderella and Prince Charming, the Legos turned into reds and yellows, and I had to go to my next door neighbors (who were boys) in order to play with them. And. And even those big ones, meant for all children, the ones I had were pink. Pink! Because I was a girl! I was tricked! Thinking I had some egalitarian toy for which gender played no role, yet they were pink! The only colors I remember having are pink, white, and gray. Hmmm.


You know, as I’m thinking about these, at one time in my little childhood, I wanted to grow up to be an engineer. And build bridges. Cause bridges are awesome– in the old sense of the word, with awe and everything. I wanted to build strong things that tricked gravity, and stood even under immense pressure. I’m guessing it was because of Legos and Lincoln Logs and science projects during elementary school.

It never occurred to me that Legos were for boys. Actually, it only occurred to me once people started talking about this, and talking about gender based toys, and specific marketing to girls or boys.


So is it great that Legos is now marketing to girls? “Oh yay, now my daughter can play with Legos and see that being an engineer could be awesome!” Well, in my honest opinion, from seeing a few pictures of these “Lego Friends,” which are supposed to be for girls, I feel like Lego is just Barbie-fying Legos. Do we really need another Barbie to help girls envision pretty hair and pink skirts? Personally, I think that segment of attention is covered. Can’t we just get some simple blocks, and let children play? Forget  genderized play sets. Let’s just get some rainbow blocks, and build a spaceship.

A spaceship flown by unicorns, of course.

PS: I recommend this great opinion piece by Peggy Orenstein, who aptly notes “At issue, then, is not nature or nurture but how nurture becomes nature: the environment in which children play and grow can encourage a range of aptitudes or foreclose them.”

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