LEGO’s New ‘Friends’ Line for Girls: Offensive?

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Lego’s new building set for girls is sparking outrage among gender-equality advocates.

The classic playtime favorite is typically gender-neutral, but the new Lego Friends line is catered to girls with a Butterfly Beauty Shop and a Fashion Designer Workshop. Promotions for the line showcase stylish and slimmer figures instead of the usual blocky characters.

Carolyn Costin, an eating disorders specialist and founder of the Monte Nido Treatment Center in Malibu, said in a statement that Lego Friends “promotes damaging gender stereotypes and limits creativity and healthy role development.”

Protesters are posting petitions for Lego to pull the line, citing their beliefs that the company is “making and marketing toys filled with stereotypes and promoting body dissatisfaction.”

Lego Group responded in a statement saying the Friends line was created based on consumer demand. “We heard very clear requests from moms and girls for more details and interior building, a brighter color palette, a more realistic figure, role play opportunities and a story line that they would find interesting,” said Mads Nipper, executive vice president of Lego Group.

Lego Friends should not be misinterpreted as the company’s only offering for girls, Nipper said. “We know that many girls love to build and play with the wide variety of Lego products already available,” Nipper said, noting that Lego Friends is simply another theme option. “We hope that we will engage even more girls in the skill-developing experience of Lego play.”

What do you think? Are girly Legos a step in the wrong direction?