Kate Mills

So I’ve always been a fan of Lego until they bought out their pink and ludicrously rubbish Friends range, aimed at girls because of course, they have no imagination and only like pastel colours. One would have thought that they might have learnt from that experience.
At the moment, when you shop at Sainsburys, you are given lego cards which you can collect and put in an album (which naturally you have to buy).
My kids went wild for them, as usually the most they get from me at the shops in the form of a treat is a punnet of fruit.
They annoyed me a bit, as there was the usual bargaining and trading over them and then the badgering of when we could get some more began. I am naturally inclined to recoil from anything that promotes empty consumerism, so I wasn’t totally embracing them, but I started to notice that all the female characters seemed to be a little bland – of course there was going to be the Fairytale Princess and the Mermaid – but there were just no solid roles unlike the male characters who were doing exciting roles or jobs (Butcher, Prospector, Ringmaster, Mountain Climber) rather than just being (Cave woman, Spooky Girl, Flamenco Dancer, Wacky Witch, Trendsetter (?), Disco Viva).
Ok so they had a Waiter and a Diner Waitress and they had a nurse (obviously female) and what they called a ‘lady robot’ which was naturally (?) pink and could dance. I’m not sure there is a ‘man robot’ or even a ‘robot’ – not holding my breath either way.
And they had a Jewel Thief who was female – yay! Small victory!
And a Skater Girl – why could it not just be a Skater? who happened to be female? Maybe there is a Skater Boy coming….. along with the ‘Man Robot’…
But then I thought, I’m just being overly cynical and need to allow my kids to enjoy these things without me pointing out to them that they are being conditioned and stereotyped into certain roles by the patriarchal society that we live in.
And then we got the BRIDE – and I just wanted to cry. Why are we so desperate to start encouraging our girls to aspire to be brides, rather than doing amazing wonderful things and having incredible relationships. Yes it is a wonderful thing to be married, but it is not a decision that needs much attention at the the age of 8 and where was the equivalent groom character ? Maybe there is one, but I suspect not.
And the description – ‘She’s all dressed up for her big day! All she needs now is someone to marry. A minor detail….’ It reminded me of a Harvest Festival Service that my kids were involved in last year, where the basic premise of the story was that God took pity on the widow Ruth, because she had no husband and when she grovelled enough, God gave her an 80 year old husband – ok he was rich, but is that really the message I want my kids to hear? If you don’t have a husband you need pity?
So back to the point, I just can’t quite believe that they have got it so wrong – again.
Girls need aspirations – and they don’t all like pink.