Women Demand Makeover For LEGO - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Women Demand Makeover For LEGO

HUFFINGTONPOST.COM - Debate over gender-based toy marketing has reached a fever pitch. In December, LEGO -- a brand that previously could do no wrong -- came out with a girlified version of their beloved blocks called LEGO Friends, and the marketers behind this switch were greeted with a bellowing, albeit virtual, "Why?" Now, a pair of 22-year-old activists for girls, Bailey Shoemaker Richards and Stephanie Cole, have launched a petition to get LEGO to commit to gender equity in marketing.

The de facto spokeswoman for this campaign, as well as anyone who has ever protested so-called princess culture, seems to be 4-year-old Riley Maida. Her one-minute and 11 second rant about toy marketing took the Internet by storm in December.

"Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses, some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses. So why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff?" she asked.

Sarah Maida, Riley's mom, told The Huffington Post that this video was actually shot in May of 2011. She and her husband Dennis had shared it with a few friends, who responded positively to Riley's message. But, after Sarah heard about LEGO Friends -- shapely mini-figures that lock into pink, purple and pastel green settings, such as a dream house, a splash pool and a beauty shop -- she posted the video on Facebook fan pages for Princess Free Zone and Pigtail Pals, companies that sell only gender-neutral products and stand up for girl's rights. (Princess Free's tagline is "Come as you are," and they sell apparel featuring designs like a dinosaur on a scooter or a skateboarding octopus.)

"I posted it because both sites were having a conversation about the new toys. I thought what Riley had to say was so perfect and relevant," she said.

According to the LEGO Group, their new line was designed based on four years of research into the ways in which boys and girls play. click here to read more

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