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LEGO for girls: Move over Barbie

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Business Wire

(Read caption) LEGOs line of girl-focused sets and figurines is a good way to break the shallow gender-stereotyping reinforced by Barbie and similar products. Here, a young girl watches a LEGO creation at the First Lego League Body Forward Challenge in 2010.

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LEGO, the maker of the famous children's building toys, has gone pink during the last 14 months, changing the sex of its figures from all male to female in some sets, gender-typed further with a “dream house” and was rewarded with a 25 percent boost in sales. All that is annoying to those fighting against gender typing, but what many don't realize is that the toys may help girls get past body image issues and focus on seeing themselves in typically male-dominated roles in science, technology, engineering, and math, known as the STEM fields.

While it's true that the toy manufacturer has played to the gender-typing via color and an initial offering of LEGO Friends sets that included Barbie-like scenarios like a beauty parlor, the LEGOs in the pink and purple boxes also offer options for girls to imagine themselves in the roles of scientist, teacher, and veterinarian.

I agree it's pretty minimal, but change has to start somewhere and LEGO is taking kids in a different direction that can, if encouraged by consumers, make our children focus on critical thinking instead of being “Pretty in Pink.”

Not having a daughter myself – mom of four boys here – I fully expected Nicole Newsome executive director of The Geekettes Club, to dislike the LEGOs for their stereotypical pink and beauty shop themes, but she loves them. She has a 10-year-old son, Vance, and a 7-year-old daughter, Kinzee.

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