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Anyone who's ever had or even known a kid knows about Legos, the beloved building blocks that are so incredibly awesome because they foster creativity and problem-solving and are completely gender-neutral.
Except they’re not really completely gender-neutral because most girls lose interest in them in about thirty seconds. And before you get your panties in a big fat wad because your daughter/niece/Daisy Scout troop loves them, this isn’t just shamelessly biased opinion. Lego itself admits that they’ve tried, repeatedly and unsuccessfully, to woo little girls with their sharp corners and primary colors -- with absolutely zero luck.
But the company hasn’t given up. Lego is about to release a new line, according to BusinessWeek, that they’re hoping will appeal to the untapped other half of the kid population. Called Lego Friends, the new building toys are bigger, rounder, prettier and considerably pinker than the original collection. Naturally, some folks are upset that Lego had the audacity to study little girls’ play habits for five grueling years and then -- gasp! -- create a toy based on the shapes and concepts (American Girl! Disney Princess!) that appeal to them and -- the horror! -- that they might beg their parents to buy for them.
But here's the thing: Lego is in the business of making money. They studied what girls like and they tried to give it to them -- they’re not trying to manipulate those interests or create new ones. Whether it’s nature, nurture or our evil, patriarchal society conspiring against anyone with ovaries, girls tend to like like pretty, pink things. I know countless moms who swear that no matter how hard they try to create gender-neutral worlds for their kids, their sons still turn every stick, ruler and crust of bread into a gun and their girls love to play veterinarian. Toy companies know this. I challenge you to find a pink dump truck or a camo-clad baby doll out there (and I’m talking about a toy in that last example; trust me when you google “camouflage baby doll” you get nothing but slutty trucker-girl nighties).
If your little girl prefers the original primary-hued Legos, stockpile them smugly. If your ideals are insulted by the very idea of Lego Friends, don’t buy them. And if you’re bugged by the fact that a toy company designed a pink toy and then tried to market it to your daughter, good luck getting through the rest of her childhood.