Lego Friends, Legos for girls, a good idea caught up by cliches.
You probably know Lego Friends, the very girly line of Lego which is now a hit with the girls. Before the launch of Lego Friends, 90% of Lego consumers were boys.
“No, girls aren’t doomed to be dummies when it comes to parking their cars or visualizing molecular structures”
So, yes, successful story… but more importantly good initiative because it is crucial for girls to play with construction toys. They help them develop their spatial skills, that is to say the brain’s ability to move in space, to perceive objects and organize them into a coherent visual scene, to mentally imagine a physically absent object…
Current knowledge on the subject* indicate that boys have an innate advantage in spatial skills. But don’t jump to conclusions! No, girls aren’t doomed to be dummies when it comes to parking their cars or visualizing molecular structures.
Research show that the gap between girls and boys is relatively low at the beginning but increases with age. Why? Just because the so called boys’ games and toys (cars, building blocks, running and jumping …) allow them to train their brain more than girls. Conversely, although girls would benefit more of playing with this kind of toys, we don’t encourage them enough to do so thus transforming a small advantage in real gap which penalizes them in sciences and more broadly in STEM.
I digress from the initial topic … A post is scheduled on Girls and science, I will go deeper into this very soon…
To make it short: I say YES to building toys for girls!
I also like the slogan “Let’s be creative” because, to me, that what playing Lego means, buy a set and then be free to create and invent your own stories.
“Pink, glitter, overrated physical beauty…”
But wasn’t it possible to invent a new line that makes girls want to play Lego but less stereotyped?
Most Lego Friends sets unfortunately endorse codes of the girly culture as here with Livi’s Pop Star House. Pink, glitter, overrated physical beauty… Some sets are, however, much more balanced such as The Adventure Camp or The Exploration Car. Parents have to be vigilant: Construction toys for girls are great… but definitely much less if they are again telling girls that the most important thing to care about is their body or style and not their brain…
To go further and understand how Lego has developed this line, here is a small podcast.
NPR had published a series on the impact of entertainment (TV, games …) on children. It is not very recent, but most episodes, including this one, are still relevant.
For those who would like to read the transcript click here
*ELIOT Lise (2010). Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps And What We Can Do About It. Mariner Books.
ps: Stereotips is a blog created and managed by 2 French girls who want to share their ideas beyond the French-speaking community. This post is a “home-made” translation from French. So if you see any typo or mistake, feel free to contact us! Thanks!