In the next few days Lego will roll out brand new sets designed for girls ages 5 and up, with the theme, "Friends." The sets were developed with four years of company research into "what girls want from Legos." Disappointingly, all that research led to a set that just mimics stereotyped playsets that already line the toy aisles for girls.
Unfortunately, they didn't think to listen to girls and women who already love Legos and have played with them for decades. Two members of New Moon Girls
wrote to Lego yesterday and shared their letter with us:
We are two girls ages nine and ten and we would like to give our opinions about your new "girl" Legos. What the heck are you thinking? Your new campaign is so sexist! Yes, it's true that some girls like this but we're just regular people and we're not all obsessed with beauty. We care about our education and our life and just that we have faith in ourselves, not that we have to only think about combing our hair every day and looking in the mirror!
This makes us very mad. Girls like different things. When we think of Legos, we think of building architecture and building cool things, not building something to make our hair look better. We built a whole city, with our brothers, that had restaurants and boats and an ocean surrounding it. We used to build these structures with slides and pools and not once did we think about making a bathroom with hair accessories and a mirror, with perfume next to it.
You're probably not going to make much money from this because no one is going to buy it because it's not really what girls like, in our opinion. We're writing this to help you! We are just giving you constructive criticism. Thanks for your time.
Aliyah Newman (9) & Rusha Bartlett (10)
PS You might want to check your research!
As Aliyah & Rusha say so eloquently, girls love Legos for NOT boxing them into outdated stereotypes. For just one example, take the four girls from The 4th Motor team of Wisconsin who won the 2011 First Lego League North American open robotics challenge (1st all-girl team to win)!
One member of the team shared some of their experiences and hard work in New Moon Girls' March-April 2011 magazine
and on www.newmoon.com. Here's a video of them winning the N.A. competition
. All this, and a little herstory about the first computer programmer Ada Lovelace, show how easy it is to encourage girls to do creative problem-solving with Legos - inspiration, pure and simple
Building on the disappointment of thousands who are already commenting to Lego, blogging, tweeting and talking to friends about this, we're asking Lego to expand their vision of girls and girls' interests in the next round of sets they design for girls.
Lego, we are asking you to:
Make this winning team of girls and others who love Legos like Aliyah and Rusha the lead developers of Lego's next set for girls. New Moon Girls' "Share The Power" system enables the development of great products for girls without reducing to lowest-common-denominator stereotypes.
It can be done and sustained, as we've done at New Moon Girls for nearly 20 years now.
What do you say Lego? I and so many of your longtime fans would love to see you step up and work with us to make things better for girls.
We the undersigned love Legos. We played with them and our children play with them. We're disappointed with the new "Friends" girls set being launched.
Girls and parents are asking you to include Lego-loving girls in the design team for your next set for girls. Not as a focus group, but as product developers. It may sound like a crazy idea but it's been working for nearly 20 years for girl-created media New Moon Girls.
They would like to work with you to bring girls into your development process and we support that.
Thank you for all the girls you've inspired in the past to pursue their dreams and become builders, designers, creators, scientists, technology experts, engineers, architects and so much more!
Let's take it to the next level together and take the girl world by storm!