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Lego becomes Lelli Kelly


Wednesday 11 January 2012
And therefore incurs our wrath.
Lego becomes Lelli Kelly
There have been a few articles written on the Lego jaunt over the festive season and I watched the proceedings (Facebook squabblings) with interest. I posted my obligatory 'Bring Back Beautiful' banner on the Lego page and signed the petition. I think the petition is making a sane request - Lego are not about to pull this line and it’s unrealistic to expect that. They’re clearly just waiting for things to fizzle out. There was a sort of condescending silence in how accommodating they were of the march on Twitter and Facebook. ‘We are listening’, was I think the most that anyone got from them.

 

I won’t bother to repeat what’s been said before me. We know this ‘mall-girl’ stuff is not good in large doses. Lego know that girls now thrive on fetishized images of themselves and realised that their toy didn’t actually do anything like that. So they essentially created a new line of dollies - complete with Bratz-style biographies to insist their creations weren’t vacuous stereotypes: ‘No, look, Sandra likes kung fu!’

I thought I’d counter a couple of arguments that seemed to be commonly occurring on the Lego FB page. People who pulled out ‘What about Belleville?’ were thrilled with themselves – it was like the ultimate counter strike. ‘Those stupid wimminz, don’t they know about Jilly Cooper-esque Belleville?’ It’s true. Lego has tried to swindle girls with pink before.

So, the Paradisa line already existed. And apparently because we didn’t see fit to complain then, our protestations are obsolete. That’s like saying: ‘the Suffragettes had never had the vote. Look at how they’d never had the vote – never had it! Look at how they never had the vote and didn’t even care. You lost your chance to care by never having had the vote previously to your protestations (Disclaimer: Unpinking Lego is not akin to woman’s suffrage).’ So how dare people raise their voice; it’s always been this way - look at bloody Belleville!

When Belleville was first made, pink wasn’t an inescapable part of the girl experience. People didn’t think playing with pink was innate to the female psyche. We live in a time where this stuff is endemic. Children are confused, choice is removed, and trite, neon-pink gaudiness leers round every corner, promising the fulfilment of commercially-created dreams with more, pink, sexist shiz. Lego is going pinker? Now is most definitely the time to complain.

There were other happy protests: ‘Look at Olivia, she’s an inventor’ and, ‘she has a robot!’ Yes. Look at what Lego has given you: a brainy representative – not a default stereotype of the 'mall-girl'. Well done Lego for not going the whole hog and just about towing the pc line. Three cheers for token representation! Be grateful wimminz – at least they aren’t Bratz! How about, er, no. There is no way that Olivia’s fake brains offset cupcake-nation.

‘Look, there’s a woman in this set. I think there’s also a woman in, er, the Star Wars set?’

‘Look, I dug to the bottom of my box of a million male lego, and found a lego woman.’

Dear god! Please shut up!

The Lego Friends are cute; they have eyelashes. Some of the longest eyelashes I’ve seen have been on boys. The Lego Friends have pink lips. Are girls' lips different to boys'? Have I missed something? They also have ‘Bambi-eyes’. People are apparently programmed to find things with big eyes cute, because babies’ eyes look bigger; this means that we find dolls with big eyes irresistible. Damn you Bambi-eyes. Lego previously relied on the power of construction play to sell its toys. Now, like Mattel and everyone else, it just uses girls themselves. Selling cute girls to girls. Is it me? Or really, is it weird? 

 

Elaine Johnson

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"Girls are becoming increasingly disillusioned about the media's portrayal of women. Over half of those aged 11 to 21 disagree with the statement that 'girls and young women are portrayed fairly in the media'."

The Girls’ Attitudes Survey, Girlguiding UK, 2011