As a child I used to play for hours with our basket full of lego. I remember making towns and homes and parks and imaginary worlds and moving the little people all about. We have a big basket of duplo from the 80s that my grandmother gave us when she moved house, but the girls are now ready for the smaller sized lego pieces.
Birdie recently got some lego and when we brought it home I was surprised to note that almost all the blocks were pink and the only person in the box was a blonde princess. She has a bed with roses on it and a dress and a rabbit with its very own crown. And a wand. It wasn’t until this point that I realised (in horror) that in this day and age there is “girl’s lego” and “boy’s lego”. What I would refer to as “lego” is now “boy’s lego”. And from what I can gather they seem to come mostly in kits where the need for imagination is limited. I bet you all knew this already, right? I was telling someone about this horrific discovery only to have them reply, “Oh, I know, isn’t it great! Now the girls can play lego too… it’s so cute.”
As you can imagine I had to quickly change my tune…
Before I had children, I thought gender stereotyping was a thing of the past, but as a parent I now realise it is certainly alive and thriving. Why can’t my girls play with plain old lego? I should point out that Bird absolutely loves her pink lego… But there were no towns or families or parks to be made with the princess stuck in her lonely old castle. As far as I could see she didn’t have many things to do aside from faff about in her royal bed or look at herself in her royal mirror and wave her pink wand every now and then. With her crowned bunny. Who also has a wand. But can’t hold it. So.
Just like at the Pixie’s swimming lesson the other week when the teacher instructed her in a little dainty voice to “kick, kick, kick your little princess toes!” and to the boy in the class in a gruff deep voice: “kick, kick, kick those big strong legs!”
I don’t know about all the other parents of girls out there, but I know I want all three of my women to grow up with strong legs that can carry them through the ups and downs of life, rather than “little princess toes”.