What do you do when your barely-out-of-diapers daughter asks you whether or not she has the right type of face? Writer Sharon Holbrook was faced with that question recently — and it all came about thanks to LEGOs.
“My 7-year-old wants to know if she has an oval face,” Holbrook writes in the New York Times Motherlode blog, because “‘oval faces can often have almost any style haircut because almost everything looks great on this face shape!'”
The absurd “beauty tip” came courtesy of LEGO Friend Emma in the March-April 2015 LEGO Club Magazine. The tips plastered on the page are careful to say that everyone is beautiful, but if young readers are “ready to change up” their looks they can do it by opting for a hairstyle that’s appropriate for their face shapes. Heart shaped faces? Focus on deep side parts. Square face? Curly bobs or long, straight hair are the best choices.
Do children even know what a heart-shaped face is? Of course not — that is, until some magazine pounds the importance of what’s acceptable and what’s not into their still-growing minds. They should be worrying about reading, or coloring or playing… anything but why their face shapes are “wrong” and what they need to do to fix them.
The whole thing is pretty disappointing, given that LEGO has done a pretty good job of gender inclusion in advertising. And while the whole pink-and-purple LEGO Friends concept isn’t ideal, it was at least more palatable to mothers like Holbrook.
“Perhaps naively, I had placed a certain amount of trust in LEGO and its apparently good intentions,” Holbrook continues, “but I draw the line when even a construction toy company feeds my daughter that tired, toxic script of ‘start fixing your appearance, and now.'”
Of course parents can express disdain through their wallets, but will toy companies like LEGO learn? Probably not, judging from the list of non-apologies on the company’s official Twitter account.
Turnabout is fair play, though: If a boardroom full of execs can tell girls what’s wrong with them, so can we, as this awesome illustration from Elbe Spurling and Brendan Powell Smith shows.
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