Every kid seems to love Legos, but it seems like Lego hasn’t always been as inclusive for every kid as they could be. The toy company has vowed to eliminate harmful gender stereotypes from its products from now on—particularly when it comes to labeling toys as “for girls” vs. “for boys” in its varying sets.
Following a survey conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a research organization advocating for equal representation of women, that found 7,000 people in seven different countries are still influenced by gender bias in regard to careers.
The survey found that young girls are more willing to participate in activities that go against gender norms, and boys were not as willing.
“Despite the progress made in girls brushing off prejudice at an early age, general attitudes surrounding play and creative careers remain unequal and restrictive,” Lego said in a statement on Monday. “Girls today feel increasingly confident to engage in all types of play and creative activities, but remain held back by society’s ingrained gender stereotypes as they grow older.”
Though some stores (like Target, aka the best store of all time) have removed most gender-identifying markers in the toys and clothes sections, many others haven’t. Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law that requires large retail stores in California to provide gender-neutral shopping sections for childcare items and toys beginning in 2024.
Lego has announced that they will remove outdated and unnecessary “boys” and “girls” labels from their products. https://t.co/615cB9L1au— The Mary Sue (@TheMarySue) October 11, 2021
Lego’s study finds that “girls are ready for the world but society isn’t quite ready to support their growth through play,” and acknowledged gender biases against its own products. For example, 76% of parents said they would encourage their sons to play with Legos, compared with 24% who would recommend Legos to their daughters.
“New research commissioned by the LEGO Group reveals that girls today feel increasingly confident to engage in all types of play and creative activities, but remain held back by society’s ingrained gender stereotypes as they grow older,” the company said.
An important thing to remember among debates over gender bias in toys is this: it’s not wrong for girls to be interested in things like baby dolls, playing house, or cooking. It’s not wrong AT ALL. The onus for what’s “wrong” falls on the shoulders of marketing, which can convey the message that those things are only for girls. Because they’re not. And the more we encourage young boys to find that type of play to be interesting, well, everyone wins.