Part Seven of I-Don’t-Know-How-Many in a series of posts inspired by “Miss Representation.” If you haven’t seen the trailer for this movie, and you have 8 minutes, please watch it here now.
Okay, okay, okay. When I recommended buying Pink Legos, I was imagining the same sorts of construction sets found in primary colors, only in pastels. Should have done a little more research. No, these aren’t the same architechtural and vehicle structures as the ones being offered in primary colors – they’re simpler! For girls! Yay! Whew – thank goodness I don’t have to worry my pretty little head about building hard stuff like the BOYS do!
Here’s what I did to examine the issue a little further.
I read this analysis of the new Lego LadyFigs. Lotsa great points and spot-on exploration of troubling gender issues.
I watched this Spark Video Petition asking Lego to re-examine its marketing strategies. I will sign it. I really support this effort.
I watched this thoroughly offensive treatment of Star Jones on the Today Show. Consequently, I was reminded why I hate the Today show and never watch it.
And this. The Lego Friends commercial. Barf.
HOWEVER – I hate almost EVERY commercial aimed at kids. I hate the food commercials aimed at kids. I hate the toy commercials aimed at kids – girls AND boys. Make no mistake – the marketing to boys is every bit as shallow and stubbornly adherent to gender stereotypes as the marketing to girls. I hate most magazines aimed at kids, and most TV shows aimed at kids. They are, so many of them, filled with obnoxious behaviors, colors, sounds, images and insulting messages. And, please don’t get me started on how adults are depicted on these shows. There is a reason the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children under the age of two years old not watch TV.
I get the huge disappointment loyal Lego customers feel – it has for so many decades been considered a brilliant gender-neutral toy, and this new line extremely condescending and misguided. I can just feel parents deflate when they see these commercials. It’s like having your your hero selling out. (Imagine Keith Hernandez going from being a baseball great all fans can love to doing gross, sexist, and poorly-acted commercials for men’s hair dye. Thank GOD he would never stoop to that level. Oh. Wait…)
Don’t get me wrong. I can get whipped up into a righteous fury over mistreatment of girls and women as much as the next guy. I can, and I do. Yet, I can’t help what bothers me most in this whole scene being played out with Legos’ new line. Go back to the Today Show clip. Watch the end of the Lego segment. Watch from 6:45 – 7:00. Listen to what gets used as the hilarious segue into the next segment. Nancy Snyderman, M.D., saying, “The BRAVE parents will buy this line for their BOYS!” HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Donny Deutsch saying, “No, they WON’T!” Snort! Matt Lauer saying, “THAT’s probably not going to happen.” Chortle!
Truly, I began to conceive of this post being willing to have my mind changed – to say “I WAS WRONG!!! Don’t buy Pink Legos!!! Don’t support the sexist and insulting messages that go along with the new pink Lego line!!! Don’t do it!!!” My stomach clenches at this blatant, insidiously insulting line of products, and I am intensely grateful to all who are fighting the sexism so powerfully.
But, you know what? There’s also this. The much publicized story of a big brother sticking up for his younger brother who wanted a purple game controller. Standing up for him to their DAD. That such things go on boggles my mind. Add to it those toss-off remarks by people with such reach and influence as Snyderman, Deutsch, and Lauer? Sorry, my post-modern feminist friends. I find myself wanting to stick up more than ever for the little boys who want things that are traditionally though of as “girly.”
So, again, I ask you – in the name of these boys – if your son wants these, buy them for him. Please. Seems to me I made that very argument a couple of weeks before Nancy Snyderman tossed the notion off as a joke.