Legos Shutting-Down Gender Criticism?


Girls, Blox, Bricks, and “Childhood Engineering”: We’ve written about the new craze for Goldiblox a bunch of times recently (here, here, and here), now that that young engineer from Stanford has formally “launched” the product. Legos appear to be joining the battle-cry … or they also might have started it (well, they seem to claim as much).

Here is some recent text I’ve been seeing all-over discussions about gender and, let’s say, “childhood engineering” (its a WYSK EXCLUSIVE — but seems to be difficult to load the stuff right now … not sure why). Here is the text, and above is the original picture:

“In 1981,” explains Giordano, “LEGOs were ‘Universal Building Sets’ and that’s exactly what they were…for boys and girls. Toys are supposed to foster creativity. But nowadays, it seems that a lot more toys already have messages built into them before a child even opens the pink or blue package. In 1981, LEGOs were simple and gender-neutral, and the creativity of the child produced the message. In 2014, it’s the reverse: the toy delivers a message to the child, and this message is weirdly about gender.”

Not sure if Legos has seized this little tid-bit trying to shut it down, and that explains why it is down, or perhaps the traffic to it is too high (though that seems unlikely, at best). Here is the piece, at least as I can see it from my facebook:


If you can find it, check out the commentary. You could save this and write a modest piece in STS or even have students analyze the responses in an activity about gender and engineering…


8 thoughts on “Legos Shutting-Down Gender Criticism?

  1. My son is an avid Lego builder and he is very upset about the “girl” legos. He thinks it is unnecessary. They have changed the minifigs so they don’t go with the others–this frustrates him. Also, he wants the “girl” sets and then is put in the place where he to justify this to other boys who tease him. Boys want vases with flowers and furniture, etc too. This gendering just sucks.


    • Absolutely. I could not agree more. You know, a close case study of girl legos would be fantastic. Because the action is “playing” and there is always the “doing gender” angle, you could write a great case study in gender performativity during play and with material objects whereby Legos actually generates the gender differences they supposedly claim that their gender-specific toys reflect! That would be a great, great study.


  2. Pingback: More on Lego gender battle | Installing (Social) Order

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