Lego has announced it will remove gendered labeling from its toys following a California announcement that certain retailers will be required to remove gender-specific signage from toy aisles.
This is the latest in a series of moves from toy retailers to be less obliged to cater to traditional gender roles. This includes a highly-publicized decision last year to rebrand the Mr. Potato Head product line without the “Mister,” and a 2019 move by Mattel to make a more gender-neutral line of dolls. Lego based their decision on the findings of a survey they commissioned on learning, play, and attitudes about gender.
Per The Guardian, Lego discovered that while girls are beginning to overcome their reluctance to play with toys and pursue careers typically associated with boys, the same is not true in the opposite direction. Both boys and the parents of boys fear social consequences for playing with toys that are “for girls.”
“Parents are more worried that their sons will be teased than their daughters for playing with toys associated with the other gender,” said Madeline Di Nonno, chief executive of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who conducted the research on Lego’s behalf. “But it’s also that behaviors associated with men are valued more highly in society. Until societies recognize that behaviors and activities typically associated with women are as valuable or important, parents and children will be tentative to embrace them.”
Though you may not think of Lego having many gendered toys, other than color-coding pink building sets as “for girls.” In recent years, Lego has come to rely more on popular film, television, and gaming characters.
Still, according to their own internal data, it seems that Lego wants to be more inclusive, as Julia Goldin, their chief product and marketing officer says, “Traditionally, Lego has been accessed by more boys, but products like [arts and crafts line] Lego Dots or Lego City Wildlife Rescue Camp have been specifically designed to appeal to boys and girls.”