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article imageGirl-themed Legos with bosomed figurines sparking backlash

By Joan Firstenberg     Dec 24, 2011 in Lifestyle
Billund - Some parents and groups are outraged that Lego is about to come out with new girl-themed sets featuring bosomed figurines, hot tub in pink and beauty parlors. The Lego marketing campaign has already cost $40 million.
A Brooklyn woman charges that Lego with its girly sets is introducing sex early through the figurines. The New York Daily News reports that Dana Edell, who is the executive director of the activist organization "Spark, a Movement", is critical,
“The new line of Legos is focused on girls getting their hair done and sitting at a cafe and hanging out at the beach. And they’re sexualizing the figurines.”
Lego's Facebook page has been flooded with complaints, and a girl-power group started an online petition that collected more than 1,000 signatures overnight.
Lego figures have always been boxy, almost gender-neutral. The characters from the new line, called LadyFigs, are curvier, with noticeable breasts. They're hometown is Heartlake City. The girly construction sets come with an inventor’s workshop, a splash pool, a “cool convertible,” a design studio and a dog show.
Lego announced in a statement, that the company's rollout of the girl Legos next week is based on interviews with thousands of girls and moms. The company’s CEO said,
“We want to reach the other 50% of the world’s children.”
But Edell says the assumption that girls don’t want to play with the original Legos is insulting.
"The real problem is the mainstay sets, heavy on Star Wars and other action-adventure themes, don’t have enough girl figurines and are aimed at boys. What people want is what people are being sold. Girls have been well-trained by the marketers to think this is what they’re supposed to want.”
Still, there are some parents who don’t see what all the fuss is about. Elyn Rosenthal, a Manhattan mom of a 16-year-old says
“Girls are girls and boys are boys. My daughter played with Legos and is thinking about going into architecture, but she also had Barbies and Bratz.”
Joanne Morris, 44, who works in the city's Financial District, said her girls, ages 6 and 9, have the regular Legos but don’t play with them.
“They play more with their dolls. This sort of combines the two. The colors are more appealing to girls and the figurines are cute.”
But the controversy is building. Parents who bought the classic Legos for their children are angry. They're wondering why Legos would ever need to put boobs on its figurines. And the Gothamist says,
"It's part of a new plan from LEGO to appeal to more girl, a worthwhile cause with a poorly executed campaign."
Business Week adds,
"Lego play develops spatial, mathematical, and fine motor skills, and lets kids build almost anything they can imagine, often leading to hours of quiet, independent play. Which is why Lego’s focus on boys has left many parents [are] frustrated that their daughters are missing out."
More about pink legos for girls, bosomed figurines, Backlash
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