Et Tu, LEGO? The LadyFig Not Much of a Step for Humankind

Posted: 01/11/2012 in Capitalism, Gender, Inequalities, Personal

I get a lot of petitions from and I’m not sure how effective they are but I appreciate the role the play in bringing issues to my attention. It’s not as if I didn’t know that toy-makers make stupid toys for girls, but this one hit a little close to home as LEGOs were some of my favorite toys growing up.

This is a LadyFig, apparently. I'm sure she is brushing her hair before she goes to present at an international conference on human rights.

After 4 years of marketing research, LEGO has come to the conclusion that girls want LadyFigs, a pink Barbielicious product line for girls, so 5 year-olds can imagine themselves at the café, lounging at the pool with drinks, brushing their hair in front of a vanity mirror, singing in a club, or shopping with their girlfriends. As LEGO CEO Jorgan Vig Knudstorp puts it, “We want to reach the other 50% of the world’s population.”

From the petition letter.

My brother and I had an ongoing cast of LEGO characters. They were all space explorers and all male, but only because it wasn’t possible for a LEGOnian to wear both a space helmet and one of those pop-on hair-dos that indicated femaleness –an incarnation of an issue that I continue to confront.

Space... man? Who cares?

To be fair, my brother was much better at constructing spaceships and bases but he was also almost three-years older than me and now, as an adult, is an aerospace engineer at NASA. I like to think I contributed a great deal to the plot of the crew’s adventures and to character development. Our spacemen had occupations such as chemist and engineer and I don’t recall ever feeling that a vanity or jacuzzi was missing from our expeditions.

Click here to sign the petition to tell LEGO that these “girls” toys are dumb and offensive.

  1. Kamila says:

    Not only is “LadyFig” one of the most ridiculous names I’ve ever heard (I guess Fig = Figure? Though I can’t help but think of a certain yummy Mediterranean fruit) but it also cheapens the experience I had as a (female) child playing Legos with my brother. He and I built a multi-layered city on an old bookshelf, with stores, homes, and a resident “bad guy” who drove a crappy car we built from scratch. I did not feel that I was the “other 50%” that does not play with Legos. They were my favorite for years!

  2. olivia says:

    What I really hate about things like this is this weird insinuation that women are idle and men have careers and activities. It’s even worse, in my opinion, for a LadyFig to demonstrate this quality of pool-lounging than cooking; what is socially useful about hair-brushing? Grr…. Also, what’s so male about primary colors? I never really played with fancy Lego astronauts, but I remember building perfectly respectable houses out of plainly colored squares. Weird to know that that is now a male activity, and I should have been primping.

  3. Valerie says:

    Luckily they’re not actually called LadyFigs, they’re called Lego Friends, but the whole idea is still utterly ridiculous.

    • julie says:

      Too many girl toys stress physical beauty and appearance while boys’ toys focus on abilities to explore and experiment.

      Your brother pushed his Burt & Ernie dolls (from Sesame Street) around in the grocery cart I bought for him & he pretended to feed Burt & Ernie oatmeal like I prepared for him…

      You & your brother also had plastic dinosaurs that you played with together having the dinosaurs go on adventures as you created the scripts (& none of the dinosaurs were pink or purple or sparkly.)

      It is just wrong to put children in a box…& wrong to emphasize physical attributes like hair brushing & applying make-up as so very valuable – who wants to increase the odds of raising a narcissistic child. It is up to parents & teachers to encourage both boys & girls to nurture & to build & explore & cook & clean.

      The toy companies are businesses & businesses have to make profits. The toy companies only market what they think they can sell. Parents & teachers are the ones spending money on children’s games & toys.

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