Lego, you are making me sad

Lego2I miss Lego so much. I miss it like I miss my sister, who lives on the other side of the country.

I miss how its brand used to be about playing, and creating, pure and simple, and had nothing to do with roles and gimmicks and sub-brands and market segmentation.

I miss its hearty, healthy identity: the shiny colourful toys that let you forget whether you were a boy or a girl, whether you were poor or rich (accept of course the bit about how the rich kids had more actual Lego pieces), whether you were little or big.

Lego didn’t measure your competence in any way – there was no way of ‘winning’ at Lego save your own satisfaction at solving a creative problem.

Lego included in its recent marketing some stuff that makes me feel so, so sad. I wrote this on a little petition site.

I grew up with Lego, as did many, many women of my generation. Playing with Lego helped us learn how to think, how to problem-solve and gave us an outlet for creativity that didn’t involve mastering a skill such as painting. I am really disappointed that Lego is segmenting its range into boys’ and ‘ products as one of the things that made it great was its very gender-neutrality; it was one of the few toys you could play with that didn’t distract you with thinking about how you are a girl and girls play a certain way. The street harassment stickers should be seen by Lego marketing management as the canary in the coalmine: Lego is getting poisonous.

Here’s the petition:

girls legoBut it’s not just the stupid street harassment sticker. It feels like Lego has turned its back on me and my childhood, and wants to commodify my children’s childhood. My three-year-old doesn’t watch commercial TV so she doesn’t see the ads, but I never want her to. I’m going to buy the blocks on the sly, never taking her down the aisle of ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ Lego.   She’s got plenty of time to learn about being a girl. Until then, she just needs to learn how to be a thinking, creative, problem-solving person.


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