Star Wars Meets Heartlake City: Legos for Girls
Growing up with two brothers in the 1980s in the midst of the space craze, Legos were everywhere in our home. Without a TV in the house, every Saturday morning was spent designing the latest spaceship to Mars or Tatooine.
Now that I am a father of two girls, I had resigned myself to not having Legos around our home. I thought it would just be Barbies and dolls. Boy was I wrong! Randomly our oldest daughter Anna became infatuated with anything Star Wars. Gone were the pinks and purples; blue was now in. With Christmas coming, Anna began to dream of a Star Wars Lego set. I bought her a couple $5 Star Wars Lego sets that Target sells in what I call the “sucker aisle.” That’s the aisle that tempts you as you wait in line and try to keep your kids from touching all the candy. Anna loved playing with the Legos and dreaming up stories as she flew the ships around the house.
Then it was Norah’s birthday and she didn’t know what to get with her birthday money. Norah is definitely still in the girly girl stage and loves to dress up all fancy. That said she is also our spatially oriented daughter, loves to put together puzzles and play with Legos. I took the girls to Target today to see what Norah could get and we came upon the debatable toy of the year, Lego Friends.
Lego Friends is the line of Lego products designed specifically for girls. It is the land of Heartlake City with pet shops and beauty salons. Some people are in an outrage because Lego went so far as to design Lego sets just for girls. They say that this line of toys gives into gender stereotypes of play. You can even sign a petition online urging Lego to stop this line of toys.
Norah didn’t know about the debate. She was terrified as we looked at Star Wars Lego sets but was hooked when she saw Lego Friends. We bought the Pet Patrol and Puppy House.
On the way home, Anna freaked out because she noticed that the box she was going to play with had a blonde Lego girl inside. There was no way she was going to play with a blonde Lego girl. That was far too girly for her. So we decided to use some Star Wars Lego guys instead. As we put together Anna’s set, the story that emerged blended Star Wars with the world of Heartlake City and Lego Friends. In a land far far away there lived two brothers…
Am I concerned that Lego has released Lego Friends and its Heartlake City for girls? Do I think they are stereotyping girls with its world of pets and pink? As it worked out with our girls the sets didn’t hold them back from expressing themselves. Norah could have her pets and pink bows. Anna brought in some of her Star Wars guys and transformed the Pet Patrol to a Star Wars motorcycle. They used their creativity and designed their own imaginative stories to act out. They weren’t held back by stereotypes.
Might it be that we as adults overreact to issues like this? The most important thing is that we give our children the freedom to express themselves as they choose. Obviously there are some limits. Those darn low rise jeans for six year olds are going a little too far. But that’s a topic for another blog post.