Lego has pledged to remove gender bias and stereotypes from its sharp-cornered plastic mini-bricks. This move follows a study that the toymaker commissioned which, after surveying more than 6,800 parents and children in seven countries, found that “general attitudes surrounding play and creative careers remain unequal and restrictive” when it comes to gender, with a majority of parents still associating boys with physical and STEM activities and girls with cognitive, artistic, and performance-based interests.
The survey also found that 76 percent of parents say they would encourage their sons to play with Legos, but only 24 percent would encourage their daughters to do the same. The company’s announced changes — which include no longer labeling products as “for girls” or “for boys” — may be an effort to champion inclusivity, but it also, very coincidentally, I’m sure, has a bonus side effect of broadening its customer base from primarily boys to include the other 50 percent of the world’s population. Very cool (Cognizant of Our Loot) of Lego.
“Traditionally, Lego has been accessed by more boys, but products like [arts and crafts line] Lego Dots or Lego City Wildlife Rescue Camp have been specifically designed to appeal to boys and girls,” Julia Goldin, Lego’s chief product and marketing officer, told the Guardian. Goldin also said that the toys will include more female role models, which I personally never felt was an issue because I felt wholly represented by the yellow-complexioned figurines that used to make up the entirety of the human Lego universe when I was younger.
That’s right: as a girl with some modicum of imagination, I did play with Legos. However, reflecting upon my childhood, I realize that what I gravitated towards the most was not the spaceships and the cars that my brother played with, but a little bedroom I assembled out of pink, purple, and baby blue bricks and some beds adorned with hearts. I see now that I was part of the problem, and for that I apologize.