The night we spent in the maternity ward nearly five years ago with our tiny, tiny son, we sat on the bed with thatÂ bundled-up babyÂ in our arms and wondered aloud, now that we were, for real, parents, what might happen if this tiny tiny kid didn’t end up liking Lego.
Now those nearly five years have passed, and our kid loves Lego more than any other kind of toy. It’s exactly what we envisioned when we’d fantasized about being parents â€“ kissing boo-boos, reading great books together, and lots and lots of Lego. When OwenÂ fills up his marble jar with kindness and helpfulness and good listening, he turns those marbles in for Lego. If he doesn’t have time to finish assembling a complex kit before bedtime, he’ll skip watching a cartoon the next morning in favour of Lego. When a Lego catalog arrives in the mail, he’ll sit with it as he sits with his favourite books.
Last week,Â Owen announced to Greg that Lego Friends, the line of kits the company launched in 2012Â in an attempt to draw girls into the fold, are just for girls and are boring.
Lots of people have decried Lego Friends as a wrong-headed idea, insisting that Lego are, at least in their before-Friends existence, forÂ everyone, and that Lego could have put its energy into featuring more female mini-figs and superheroes in its existing lines (this comic nails it, in my opinion). And that now it seems like there’s Lego “for girls” and Lego “for boys” and that that’s just playing into the horrific trend of manufacturers divvying up kids’ culture along gender lines in a toxic, terrible way. Lego itself said it developed the line because 90% of its sales were to or for boys, and they wanted to draw girls into building.
So Owen declares that Lego Friends are boring, and this is what Greg did. Greg whipped out the well-worn Lego catalog and proclaimed his love for all the cool pink and purple kits, and Owen discovered there’s a jet plane kit. Which is why, a few minutes later,Â Greg came upstairs and informed me that he would be spending a lot of money at the Lego storeÂ for feminism.
A hundred and twenty bucks later, Owen spent anÂ entire afternoonÂ putting the kit together (it comes complete with an airport that has a cafe and gift shop, and a baggage carousel), muttering under his breath about itÂ being a perfect choice and oh my gosh it’s so awesome.
In related news, there’s a Lego croissant, you guys.
PS I do very much wish, regardless of how successful Lego Friends is at drawing in girls â€“ and apparently it is very successful at doing just that â€“ that Lego had used its standard mini-fig design for the characters, so they’d be compatible with all the other Lego kits. Friends figures don’t have moveable legs or hands. It’s weird, and limiting in ways it simply shouldn’t have to be, considering the standard mini-fig can be any gender at all.
PPS Some of this post came from my initial posting of this photo on Instagram. I revised and expanded it because I want it to live here on the blog, too.
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