Girls Incorporated of Orange County isn't letting a boiling controversy surrounding a new line of toys produced by Denmark-based LEGO to spoil their love for the iconic brand.
When the company released its LEGO Friends theme — which includes five girlfriends dressed in dainty duds, a cafe and a beauty salon — critics said it was stoking gender stereotypes.
The new entry into LEGO's line of products sparked enough angst that an online petition was started to tell the company that women's groups “aren't buying it!”
According to the petition, some women take umbrage at the notion that 5-year-old girls would “imagine themselves at the cafe, lounging at the pool with drinks, brushing their hair in front of a vanity mirror, singing in a club, or shopping with their girlfriends.”
While Girls Incorporated of Orange County wants LEGO to continue to make products more gender neutral, Nathan Roa, elementary program facilitator for the Costa Mesa-based group says there are no plans to join the online petition.
Instead, they are looking to poll elementary-age girls in the organization to find out what they think about LEGO Friends, Roa said.
“We want to see how the girls feel about it,” he said. “I'm pretty sure they would enjoy it.”
On Feb. 21, the organization is holding a Block Kids Building Program that is sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction. Seeking to introduce kids to the construction industry, the event uses LEGO toys in the building of different structures.
Winners advance to a regional competition and semi-finalists from each region move on to the national finals.
Still, the backlash against LEGO prompted its executive vice president, Mads Nipper (that's a badass name, ol' boy), to “clarify the incorrect information” about LEGO Friends.
Nipper wrote on LEGO's website that the company conducted four years of research among 3,500 girls and their moms to gain insight into what would make LEGO toys more interesting for girls.
He said the company received 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.”
Pink bricks and elements have been included in LEGO sets for decades, Nipper said.
The LEGO Friends collection includes two blues, two purples and two greens.