Gender in a Lego world

images-1It’s obvious from walking through a toy store that LEGO has focused its licensing and product development around boys.

Today’s carries an article on how LEGO is shifting on gendered products––driven, of course, by a profit motive.

“To capture the girl market, LEGO created the alternate, girl-only world of Heartlake City for Friends instead of incorporating more females into existing LEGO sets. LEGO says the line was one of its most successful to date, “surpassing early projections to triple the number of girls building with LEGO bricks” in 2012.

“But that still leaves the market wide open for children such as my daughter, who want more female “minifigs” in gender-neutral packaging. Instead, LEGO clearly distinguishes which sets are aimed at boys or girls, and our children take in the colors on the packaging and placement on the shelves through a cultural lens. They get the message loud and clear. LEGO is the second-largest toy manufacturer in the world; gender parity matters in a product that is consumed and loved by so many children.

“Through my business and blog, I frequently discuss gender stereotypes in children’s products. A few weeks ago, a dad in New Zealand pointed out the LEGO CUUSOO competition site, which allows LEGO enthusiasts to submit product ideas on which the community may vote.

“The father asked me to use my social media following to promote a project called the “Female Minifigure Set,”comprising 13 ideas for female minifigures engaged in astronomy, chemistry, geology, zoology, firefighting and law enforcement. I loved the project’s focus on women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.These are examples I want for my daughter and son. If my daughter sees females in these roles, she is more likely to believe that she can fill these roles as an adult. If my son grows up with females occupying an equal amount of space in his toys, he is more likely to become an adult who respects women and sees them as equals.”


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