Lego Goes Woke, Promises to Make Toys ‘Free of Gender Bias and Harmful Stereotypes’

NUREMBERG, GERMANY - JANUARY 29: Lego figures are pictured at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair (Nuernberger Spielwarenmesse) on January 29, 2014 in Nuremberg, Germany. The Nuremberg toy fair, which is the world's biggest trade fair for toys, is open to the public from January 29 until February 3. (Photo by …
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Danish toy giant LEGO has announced that it will endeavour to remove “harmful” gender stereotypes from its line because boys are reluctant to play with toys marketed towards girls.

Lego, one of the largest toy companies in the world, announced on the United Nations’ ‘Day of the Girl’ that it would seek to make gender-neutral toys in order “to ensure LEGO products and marketing are accessible to all and free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes.”

Research commissioned by the Danish toymaker carried out by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media found that 71 per cent of boys prefer not to play with girl toys as they would expect to be made fun of by other children or adults. Girls, on the other hand, were said to be fine with playing with either line of toys.

The study of 7,000 parents and children between six and 14-years-old throughout the world also claimed that boys were encouraged by their parents to take part in activities surrounding the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and maths, while girls were said to be pushed towards traditionally feminine activities such as dressing up, dancing, and baking.

Julia Goldin, the chief product and marketing officer at the LEGO Group, said in a statement: “The benefits of creative play such as building confidence, creativity and communication skills are felt by all children and yet we still experience age-old stereotypes that label activities as only being suitable for one specific gender.

“At the LEGO Group we know we have a role to play in putting this right, and this campaign is one of several initiatives we are putting in place to raise awareness of the issue and ensure we make LEGO play as inclusive as possible. All children should be able to reach their true creative potential.”

The chief executive of the Geena Davis Institute, Madeline Di Nonno, claimed that the urge for boys to not play with girls’ toys was a result of male behaviour being more valued by society.

“Until societies recognise that behaviours and activities typically associated with women are as valuable or important, parents and children will be tentative to embrace them,” Di Nonno said per The Guardian.

LEGO has been researching how girls interact with its brand for more than a decade. In 2008, it found that 90 per cent of sets sold in the United States were being bought for boys.

LEGO, as with many Western brands, has lurched to the left in recent years, with the company reportedly telling retailers to pull advertisements for police-based toys at the height of Black Lives Matter unrest last summer in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

The toymaker also told affiliates to follow the BLM-inspired #BlackOutTuesday social media trend and donated $4 million (£2.83m) to black and anti-racist charities.

More recently, in May, LEGO introduced an LGBT themed “Everyone Is Awesome” toy line to coincide with Pride Month.

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