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.