There have been many times over the years when I have wished for a time machine. Most of them involved convincing my parents to name me Hermione or stockpiling on what I called "giant, lonely people cookies" you could make in the microwave that got discontinued a few years ago. But today I discovered, after reading a LEGO notice to parents from the 1970s, that I have one more reason to want to travel back in time. The note is short but sweet, and manages to nail gender stereotyping taboos that parents still struggle with today. It urges parents to remember that imagination is more important than skill, and that boys and girls should be encouraged to create whatever they want to create. LEGO, bless you.
What I love more than anything about the note is that it manages to convey all of this without sounding like it was condescending to either gender. We have seen failed attempts at this before from LEGO, for its lack of female mini figurines and for the misrepresentation of female careers like journalism revolving around "being pretty" more than the actual, you know, job. Even now that LEGO has started creating sets more oriented toward girls, it has seemed a little problematic that it feels the need to make them pink or frilly. Only recently did the company seem to be returning to the roots of the message it put out in the '70s with the creation of female scientist minifigs, which was, unsurprisingly, one of LEGO's top-selling products.
Here is the note that I wish LEGO had kept in mind over these last few decades:
This is not a revolutionary concept, not imposing gender stereotypes onto young children, but it's still a thing that happens more often than not, and I am glad to see LEGO making strides to reclaim this kind of representation. Hopefully one day, we'll realize that equal representation in toys shouldn't take too much work. Women are people — represent them that way and the products will sell.
Images: Getty Images; Courtesy of Daniel Fry