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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Lego launches toy line for girls: smart or sexist?



legogirl.jpg"Lego is launching a product line for girls," Internet software developer Michael Labriola tweeted recently. "Someone should tell them that they already have one; it's called Legos." Bravo, sir.

In January, Lego will be launching a toy line aimed at girls called Lego Friends that centers on five girls in a fictional town called Heartlake City. Each of the friends - Olivia, Mia, Andrea, Stephanie and Emma - has a distinct personality and interests such as animals, performing arts, invention and design. Building sets reflect the girls' interests.

Does anyone else feel their feminist hackles rising?

Obviously, Lego is trying to overcome the image that building blocks are boy stuff. Maybe they should tell that to Hannah Troy, a fourth-grader whose team claimed the Project Award at last month's Greater Chicago Lego League tournament. The Girl Scouts of the region sponsored seven of the 14 teams there.

While I can acknowledge that Lego might need to work on appealing to girls, I prefer the Girl Scout's method. The organization sponsored Lego robotics tournament because research shows female undergraduates earn just 25 percent of math and computer science degrees and hold only 26 percent of available science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs. So they are working on overcoming the stereotype of a researcher doing lonely work, and understanding that STEM fields often involve working in teams and socializing. These are issues the Girl Scouts attempt to tackle year-round.

You go girls.

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Thursday, December 29, 2011 5:06pm]


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