Interesting things: conversations on toys and gender

Image contrasting LEGO toy ads for girls in the past and present.Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency recently analyzed LEGO’s newest collection designed exclusively for girls, LEGO Friends, in a two part video series. Anita questions the choice to separate the LEGO world by gender and is especially concerned about the designs of the LEGO Friends sets, pointing out “the activities featured in the Friends theme such as baking, cooking, caregiving, homemaking, decorating, hair styling are rooted in deeply stereotypical and limiting roles for women in children’s toys and sadly, in society in general.”

Peggy Orenstein’s Op-Ed piece for the New York Times questions whether or not toys should be gender free, saying “Human boys and girls not only tend to play differently from one another — with girls typically clustering in pairs or trios, chatting together more than boys and playing more cooperatively — but, when given a choice, usually prefer hanging with their own kind.”

What do you think, readers?

If you’re interested in toys and gender, check out Feminist Frequency‘s video series – part 1 for an overview of the LEGO Friends collection and part 2 for a history of LEGO toys – and Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Girlie-Girl Culture.

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