So, I do this thing when I’m drawing. I do this thing that a girl of 26 should probably not do, but I do it anyway.
I watch Spongebob Squarepants.
Sometimes I’ll watch Penguins of Madagascar, sometimes I’ll even switch the channel over to ID Discovery and tune into some murder for a little while. But, mostly, I watch Spongebob. Not because I particularly enjoy the program, but because it quickly turns into background noise and lets me focus on other, more important things.
And getting a foot to actually look like a foot.
And buildings to look like buildings.
Tuning into a kids channel like I do, I’m privy to an array of commercials that are on a loop. Sugar-laden cereals, a condescending woman peddling those stupid light up stuffed animal toys, American Girl of the Year Isabel, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2 (now out on DVD and Blu Ray!), Barbie, Monster High (wtf?), upcoming Nickelodeon specials, Mr. Peabody and Sherman movie trailers (sqwee!), the Lego Movie trailer (double sqwee!) and Lego Friends.
It is of the latter I wish to talk about.
Because I am NOT going to talk about JK Rowling and her regret about pairing Ron and Hermoine.
I love Legos. I have loved them since I was a kid and am probably more excited about the movie than my sister, who owns more Legos than any sane person probably should. I gladly feed her addiction, because it means I get to play too. And design buildings, and play the video games with her. Legos are fucking awesome because Legos don’t discriminate. Legos don’t give a damn if you’re a girl or a guy. Legos are meant to be played with. And to have gobs of money spent on obtaining them because, for seriously, there’s a LEGO DEATH STAR just waiting to be built.
There are Legos for little kids, Legos for intermediate kids, and Legos for kids who can’t really be classified as kids anymore but f*ck you, Legos.
And then, somewhere down the line Lego got it into their head that they were going to join the Pink Brigade already invading shopping stores everywhere and create this:
Lego Friends is an attempt by the Lego company to get girls interested in the building blocks of awesome and buy their product. By creating a line of girl Lego figures that resemble Polly Pocket (or PlayMobil) rather than the traditional Lego figures, and tinting everything pastel, Lego hopes to create interest in a new generation of builders.
By sticking Lego Friends in the pink aisle amidst Barbie, Polly Pocket (who isn’t pocket sized anymore), Monster High (wtf?), Disney’s Ever After High (seriously?), My Little Pony, and a slew of other Disney things, Lego really wants to get girls interested in their stuff. As if by adding to the pink aisle with more pink, Lego can somehow distinguish their product from the millions of other pink toys telling girls that shopping and baking and keeping house are the only thing a girl is good for.
Meanwhile. In the blue aisle….
You get the point, right? The blue aisle is where all the good stuff is. Hot Wheels, superhero action figures, the gross-out science experiments, ARKHAM-bloody-ASYLUM. The list is endless of little boy toys v. girl toys.
And by creating this pink on pink world of Lego girls who go around and do girly things, Lego is only adding to the saturation of what girl’s toys should be.
Here’s the thing; when the zombie apocalypse comes, I’m holing up in Sam’s Club. I’m not getting a gun, I’m getting a bow and a shit load of arrows. Anyone who decides I’m better off dead than alive gets a ten yard head start before I gut hole them. Nowhere in there am I going to base my weaponry decision on whether or not it matches my shoes or my purse or if it makes my ass look big.
Just like when I sit down to do my homework, I don’t want to be reminded that the only thing girls like to do is go to the beach and make pineapple cherry smoothies with her friends. Or that, heaven forbid, I want to exercise my brain and see if I can build a robot out of cans and a solar powered battery.
God forbid I want to shop for my friend’s little girl outside of the pink aisle. The pink aisle is safe. The pink aisle is for girls.
The pink aisle can suck it. The pink aisle can burn in the fires of Mordor. The pink aisle needs to know that it’s outdated and that girls in this day and age can do so much better than her and her frills. The pink aisle lies to little girls and their mothers because the pink aisle does nothing more than reinforce the stereotypes we have been fighting against for generations. Down to the nitty gritty of the thing, every time a mother shops in the pink aisle, she is telling her daughter that girl toys are for girls and are pink and boy toys are for boys and are blue. She is also telling her daughter that she has no choice but to shop in the pink aisle because, oh God, what would the other mothers think?
It’s keeping up with the Jones’ in the worst. way. possible.
Shame on Lego for giving in. Shame on Lego for not making sets for Lara Croft or Batgirl. For not making Lego figures just like WyldStyle and creating a set around her and then sticking HER in the pink aisle and calling it a ‘girl’s toy’. It would fit the requirement. Girl as the main figure, awesome signature car/building/piece of equipment, eye-catching colour scheme. It would totally work AND stick out in the pink aisle as something marketed for girls without the shopping and other stereotypical stupid that comes with the aisle.
Shame on Lego for thinking inside the building blocks and not changing the way girls play with their toys.
Does this mean you should stop playing with Legos? F*ck no. Legos are awesome. Legos generate creativity and spark imagination and are the BEST THINGS TO PLAY WITH IN FOREVER. It just means that people DO have a choice in which aisle they shop in. As much as every marketing manager everywhere would have you believe otherwise.
When you assign colours a gender, you’re giving in. When you buy toys marketed to girls and ONLY toys marketed to girls, you’re giving in. If you’re not letting Barbie get torn in half by Godzilla in the middle of a city made up of Legos which resemble something that might have happened to Tokyo if ninjas and the French had ever met face to face, you’re giving in. When your boy tells you he wants to wear Hello Kitty to school and you tell him to change because that’s not ‘how boys dress’, you’re giving in.
And by giving in, you fail.
Kids are awesome creatures. They learn by playing and they learn by imitating their parents values. If you don’t value your child for the creature he or she can be, you’re giving into what mass media tells you is correct and proper.
And please, dear Jesus HG Wells, don’t give in. Don’t do that to your kids.
Bottom Line: Companies are not going to stop pandering to the stereotype of Pink v. Blue. It’s just not going to happen because those stereotypes generate large sums of money. It’s YOUR job as a mother to give the aisles the middle finger and buy toys that allow your child to define themselves. Buy the Legos from the blue aisle and the tutu from the pink.
Because here there be dragons.
And a Knight can wear a tutu if she damn well pleases.
Seriously. How awesome would a Lara Croft set be?
Can we make that a thing?
That needs to be a thing.
Someone make that a thing.