The original ad pictures child model Rachel Giordano proudly showing off her LEGO® creation. Recently, Lori Day of the Women You Should Know blog got in touch with Giordano, now an Alt-Medicine Doctor in Seattle, to reenact the scene using modern LEGOs®.
The result was quite different:
On the right, a grown-up Giordano holds the modern LEGO® Heartlake News Van, which features traditionally “girly” colors and a makeup vanity for the female reporter.
According to mashable.com, Giordano recounts:
“In 1981 Legos were ‘Universal Building Sets’ and that’s exactly what they were…for boys and girls. Toys are supposed to foster creativity. But nowadays, it seems that a lot more toys already have messages built into them before a child even opens the pink or blue package. In 1981, Legos were simple and gender-neutral, and the creativity of the child produced the message. In 2014, it’s the reverse: the toy delivers a message to the child, and this message is weirdly about gender.”
Tech toy maker Goldieblox has also noted the last decade’s emphasis on gender segregated toys, theorizing that manufacturers believe they’ll sell twice as many toys if they position girls and boys and two separate markets.
It’s difficult to determine if Giordano’s childhood experience with gender-neutral toys influenced her career goals as an adult. What we do know is that when children are free to express themselves outside the confines of traditional gender roles, the world opens up for them. Creativity and innovation are for all kids. Technology is for ALL kids. The original 1981 LEGO® ad nailed it. Will our current culture ever move toward a more inclusive model for kids’ toys?
We’d love to hear your thoughts–share them in the comments.