Lego has announced that Lego Friends, Lego’s marketing to girls will be discontinued. Lego Friends was targeted at girls between the ages of 5 and 12 years old with sets involving themes like ice cream parlors, beauty salons, and cafes. Lego is now making a commitment to remove gender stereotypes from their products in order to better suit children of all genders.
Lego, the toy company that creates the things you can’t help stepping on in the middle of the night, has had a light bulb moment.
After commissioning a survey of almost 7,000 parents and children aged six to 14 from China, the Czech Republic, Japan, Poland, Russia, the UK, and the US, Lego found that while girls were willing to try a wider variety of sports and activities in their playtime, the same could not be said of boys.
According to a report from The Guardian, 71 percent of boys surveyed feared they would be made fun of if they played with ‘girls’ toys’ – worse, this fear was shared by their parents.
That means, yes, only 29 percent of boys were OK playing with ‘girls’ toys.
“Parents are more worried that their sons will be teased than their daughters for playing with toys associated with the other gender,” said Madeline Di Nonno, the chief executive of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who conducted the research.
Part of a bigger problem
We can’t help but be reminded of another disappointing fact: that more parents are giving girls boys’ names, but not the other way around.
It’s true, feminism, equality, and LGBTQ rights have become part of our mainstream conversations over the last decade, but it appears many of the boys – and their parents – have not received the gender-diverse messaging.
While we were busy telling girls they could do anything, we forgot to tell boys that they could do anything, too.
Perhaps, rather than asking questions like “How do we support our girls without alienating our boys?”, we could instead explain to boys that it’s not a competition and that freedom from patriarchal constraints and outdated traditions helps everyone – no matter their gender.
Change is on its way…’
Here’s the good news: Julia Goldin, the chief product and marketing officer at the Lego Group, told The Guardian that, in response to the research, Lego no longer labeled any of its products ‘for girls’ or ‘for boys’. On their website, Lego.com, consumers can no longer search for products by the male or female gender. Instead, the website offers themes that it calls ‘passion points’.
“We’re testing everything on boys and girls, and including more female role models,” said Goldin. The recent Lego Con showcased female designers talking about the work they did, while Lego’s Rebuild the World campaign focuses on girls.
Lego is making a commitment to remove gender stereotypes from their products in order to better suit children of all genders. Lego Friends, Lego’s marketing to girls will be discontinued.
This change is in response to the survey which found that while girls were willing to try a wider variety of sports and activities in their playtime, the same could not be said of boys.
Sad statistics show that more parents are giving girls boys’ names, but not the other way around. Part of a bigger problem is that we have been busy telling girls they could do anything but forgot to tell boys that they could do anything too. Change is on its way with Lego removing gender stereotypes from their products.