I like pink!

Happy (Newish) Year.

I’ve realised I’ve been avoiding writing in here so far this year. Everything I’ve thought “Oh that’s interesting” has either been covered very well by others or has become a tedious circular argument with no actual change happening. I’m getting annoyed with a lot of reactive internet feminism. (See the Lego campaign against Lego Friends, [link here] which has managed to thoroughly miss the point and is being very disingenuous in its understanding of the Lego sets available (Here is a good balanced review which doesn’t fuck me off as much as this anti girly type of campaign.)

Basically I am not keen on any set being pushed towards any particular sex. e.g. there is no reason little girls couldn’t like Ninjago but since there are no female minifigs in that line or little girls in the advertising as far as I know why would they engage with it? Especially if Lego are saying ‘here is the set for girls’. I’m also not exactly chuffed by the way it’s been marketed, the TV advert features a dead voiced Valley girl preening on about how you can go eat cupcakes. Obviously even plastic cupcakes are delicious but it doesn’t exactly break gender stereotypes. My first reaction to Lego Friends was, Jesus Christ that looks awful, what the hell is wrong with minifigs? But in looking at the actual sets there is an a frankly awesome set for Olivia the inventor which has the cutest robot I have ever seen.

LOOK AT THE ROBOT! (NB I have NO IDEA why she’s done a little stick man (or lady!) with a heart next to him/her with her calculations. This is clearly some form of advanced cute-mathmatics!)

Though this isn’t really mentioned in the adverts, it’s all cupcakes and looking after sickly animals. This blog on Lego’s new Lego club magazine for girls is also a bit worrying and sad.

I think they could have done something a bit like Pinky:St here which would have been more interesting in the dolls and sets, (I think the actual dolls are way ugly) the anime stylings would have suited this range quite well but could have also allowed it to lean into more active play sets possibly with boy dolls as well. It’s not massively imaginative but then I don’t think Lego City is very imaginative, and it’s designed for exactly the same type of play as Lego Friends, you build the set and play the game it leads you towards (Cops and robbers/fixing cute little animals). And that’s the issue with a lot of kids play at the moment, for boys and girls, imagination isn’t valued or cultivated in the ways it used to be.

And yeah I think there is an issue with active play with female toys. There are few Lego Minifig spacewomen/female police officers etc. I think some of the Friends sets do come across as quite passive rather than active and certain Lego other ranges promote this idea.

I like dolls and I don’t think this makes me bad in some way. Or that being feminine is wrong. Because if women are saying how terrible it is to play with dolls what will actually persuade boys that pink isn’t evil and only available for sissies and what will persuade boys that playing nicely with dolls that aren’t going to kill one another with weapons isn’t such a bad thing. I can understand the need a lot of women feel to show themselves as just as clever and strong as men. I don’t think that the way to do this is to say that traits traditional given to women are all bad.

I am not sure if I linked to this before but I very much liked this article on Bust about the backlash of girly culture regarding Zooey Deschanel’s Hello Giggles. Which isn’t exactly the most highbrow site on the web but I am not sure why that’s such a terrible thing

I like being a feminist, I can’t remember a time I wasn’t basically a feminist and I am not planning on stopping anytime soon. But I don’t want to miss out on facts. I want a evidence based feminism, I want something that works and doesn’t demonise men or stop them coming on board. But basically this entry by Five Dollar Radio is currently how I feel. I don’t want feminism that ignores the problems or glosses over things nor do I want a feminism that dismisses anything girly as damaging.

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4 Responses to I like pink!

  1. I think my problem with the girly lego is its much more simplistic than their mainstream stuff and their stuff for boys. Which have you building pirate ships and castles and stuff. The just for girls stuff is much less technically demanding, for example this… http://shop.lego.com/en-GB/Olivia-s-House-3315 even though it looks quite complicated doesn’t use proper bricks it uses much bigger panels to make. I think its a real shame it doesn’t fit with their other ranges as well. I don’t think I’d have a problem with it if it was a bit more girly version of their main range, a lot of stuff like the medieval and winter villages I read as being pretty aimed at girls anyway, to have stuff thats a bit pinker for girls who have been so conditioned to do gender stereotypes that they won’t play with stuff that isn’t, is a good idea maybe to get them into the concept, and then they can add a space pirate lair to the side of their palace and everyone can play together. I used to have lego city stuff as a child and we used to combine it with the space stuff and the basic builder stuff and build all kinds of weird alien buildings. But making it incompatible, in terms of scale and the design of the figures, with the rest of their stuff is constricting girls in a way they don’t do to boys.

    • pippaalice says:

      Do read the review I link to. The pieces are not prefabricated. You definitely have to ‘build’ the sets and the pieces are all normal compatible pieces. I agree that this is gender stereotyping but I don’t believe the sets in and of themselves are bad things. Or that girls liking pink is bad. But I think the issue is that boys liking pink isn’t bad either and I am not sure the campaign against these sets is very useful. I also think people are being slightly disingenuous about their perfect feminist childhoods without pink dolls. It’s worse now, absolutely but I don’t think those perfect times ever existed.

      • Oh i only had a look at the top of the range ones, not the cheaper ones, and although, yeah, the pieces are all compatible, that being the point of lego i guess, they looked simpler to construct than the normal ones of the same size were. TBH I hadn’t fully appreciated quite how expensive lego has got over the past 20 years or so since i last played with it. It is one thing to buy oneself a one off set as an adult, but quite a different thing to have a child/children needing multiple toys all the time. Apart from the educational value, its really not good value for money.
        Not that I think I ever got bought much of it first hand as a child, but now people put everything and the kitchen sink on ebay, its a lot harder to get stuff thats genuinely a bargain from charity shops and car boots and the like.

        Anyways, i hadn’t realised the figures were as small as they were, I still don’t like them. I’m sure I personally, and due to not having waists, most small girls, are more the shape of the original lego men than the barbie style ones. Not neccecary! I’m with you on it being ok for boys to like pink, but in which case..why not just have a pink pirate ship with women pirates or something?… there are a couple of real clangers, it could have been thought out a load better.

        i’m really glad tbh, theres finally been a backlash against pink. I haven’t known any small children recently, but 3 years ago, just before we moved back to London,a friend in Hertfordshire (where I lived) had a baby and i bought presents for her and used it as an excuse to have a right good nosey, and the amount of pink around and lack of other options, especially when you are out of cosmopolitan london and only have high street chains to resort to was shocking.

        I did have pink dolls, but they were barbies mainly, in fact I’m sure the reason “barbie pink” is a colour is that specifically it was always barbies as opposed to anything else that were that particular shade of pink.

        Its one of those ones actually where,despite having gone off on one slightly about it (sorry) and thinking about the cost of lego and the cost of children, i don’t care very much.
        A bit like boardroom pay for executive women. If i get to the stage I have a job or we can afford children I’m sure I’ll be militant as hell about it, for now I’m happy to let women who its more relevant to go out and fight.
        I’ve always thought the whole ‘count your privilege’ argument with feminism (or anything actually) is a bit stupid and offensive, and the ‘its not that way for x minority/oppressed group, so you’re not allowed to fight for it for you’ is even stupider. But at the moment I’m in a situation where the government are trying to take my entire income away from me for not being ill in the right way, meaning effectively there would be no way we can afford a baby even if there was an accident or something. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a worthy cause for mothers with time and money on their hands to take up! 🙂

    • pippaalice says:

      I completely agree that they are constricting girls though. See the link about the lego magazine. Depressing. 😦

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