Breaking News: LEGO Fails Girls (Again)

3 years ago

Oh LEGO. You’ve gone and done it again.

In April 2012 representatives from your company met with SPARK.  After that meeting I had such hope that there would be change in your approach to toy design. Admittedly, I let things slide. I got busy and stopped paying attention for a while so I didn't know where things stood. Then today I saw this:

It's your LEGO Friends news van with this description:

"Break the big story of the world’s best cake with the Heartlake News Van! Find the cake and film it with the camera and then climb into the editing suite and get it ready for broadcast. Get Emma ready at the makeup table so she looks her best for the camera. Sit her at the news desk as Andrew films her talking about the cake story and then present the weather to the viewers."

I understand that you don’t want your little LEGO journalist covering the homicide beat, but cake? Really LEGO? The female reporter gets to do a story about cake?

And her camera operator is male. Yes, I know that a male technician is probably the norm in the real world (as we will see below), but this was a chance for you to prove to people that you listened when parents and the representatives of SPARK asked to see female characters in non-stereotyped roles. You must not have heard that part. Which would also explain why half of the space in the news van is occupied by a makeup table.

Again, I get that LEGO Friends is fantasy, but this is taking creative license too far. For the record, this is what the inside of a real news van looks like: 


The caption for this image? “A reporter can record voice-overs using the microphone and edit stories on a laptop.” (Images from the Washington Post.)

See? There's no room for a makeup table. Reporters are more concerned with perfecting their story than applying lipstick or styling their hair. 

This toy had so much potential to inspire young girls who think journalism would be a cool career. Instead, they get the same message delivered just about everywhere else in the culture that surrounds them: look pretty and smile for the camera.

Why do you insist on treating girls with such condescension? I guarantee that if you made a “boy” version of this toy, there would be no hair gel or Axe body spray in the van. The guy would probably have a flak jacket and carry his own camera, ready to cover "dangerous" stories, not just the latest news in baked goods. 

LEGO, you have proven yourself, yet again, to be completely tone deaf on issues of gender representation in your toys. So few of the female characters in your Friends line actually have jobs, unlike the non-girl-oriented lines in which characters get to be fire fighters, police officers, tow truck drivers, miners, coast guard patrollers, or race car drivers, to name just a few.  Why diminish this career woman by making her lipstick and hairbrush the most prominent features in her workplace?

Why LEGO? Why?

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