Sunday, 22 January 2012

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I loved Lego when I was a boy.
I often spent all my birthday and Christmas money on it and my train set wasn't Brio or Hornby but Lego.

When I first heard complaints that Lego was effectively ghettoising girls I found it very difficult to find out what they were doing. The only sign on their website was that amongst their categories ( http://shop.lego.com/en-GB/ByCategory ) as well as "Buildings", "Vehicles", "Robotics", "Trains" and "Preschool" was one called "Girls".

Whilst two of my nieces might find that category either irrelevant or patronizing I wonder whether my other niece - the one with an older brother - might find the "Girls" section a useful way into the product range without being besieged with Ninjas and Transformer-style robot/alien/warriors (though when I nephew got one of those I remember thinking those were a bad example of Lego for him too). Yes the "Girls" category has plenty of pink and purple, a beauty shop and a fashion studio, but cars and pirate ships are prominent too.

I was all set to say that what I heard was overblown and that yes Lego were getting too commercial for my liking and maybe they were saying "girl equals pink" a little but, the real problem was that so many of the sets looked as if they could only be used to make a limit range of themes.

Many of the pieces in each set are very specialized and the huge range of colours available now makes putting several sets together and making something completely different a very much harder task than it was in my day.

However, I have now discovered that Lego send a magazine to interested children. They have now started sending a different magazine to the girls on their list, one that doesn't include any construction plans !
For a good description of what Lego are getting wrong try http://impeus.com/?p=445

Worse, the Lego Club page has sample copies of the "regular" magazines but does not mention that girls get a different one.

I'm now happy for those who wish to boycott Lego over their new attitude to girls.

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