LEGO For Real Girls


A LEGO ad from 1981 that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook lately – a nostalgic harking back to a time before the pink ‘n’ purple, cutesy, dumbed-down, gender stereotyping nonsense of LEGO Friends.

Oh LEGO, what have you done?


42 thoughts on “LEGO For Real Girls

  1. mickh

    In Fairness guys, stereotyping in LEGO has been around for a long time, when you consider all the film franchises that have been done. Star Wars, Harry Potter, etc… Also with all the Ninjago, Hero Factory, Bionicles and other boyish type models I think it is a good idea that the girls had a bit of a show. Don’t get me wrong, my son and daughters all play with the LEGO my son has at the moment, but they would always love their own.

    My daughter hasn’t stopped asking for it since she has seen the ad.

  2. Krecording

    Modern Lego is all about following instructions, when I was young it was about what you could make from your imagination. Creativity is restricted to the focus groups who help develop those instructions. I hate to say it but “in my day” it was better.

      1. Paul

        meccano was even better than lego technics but I agree, basics + imagination is a lot better than Sindie’s Caf√© in two pieces or whatever that crap in the advert is.

    1. dr bob

      …in fairness with most lego sets you can do both , follow the instructions and make the pirate ship/castle/particle accelerator , and then the next day break it up and make what you like (invariably a spaceship).
      Also don’t knock following lego instructions .It sets kids up with skills they’ll need 20 years down the line while trying to put together IKEA furniture.

  3. Mich

    In fairness, the 1981 ad is full of gender stereotypes … clearly, they are portraying this little girl as a tom-boy.

    1. Tridion

      Why? Because any girl not plastered in make up and wearing a pink dress is a tom boy? Oh dear, oh dear..

      1. Mich

        I didn’t say that either, now you’re gone to the other extreme. I just think that little girl looks particularly tom-boyish. I think they were targeting a specific type of little girl.

        1. please follow me @FrillyKeane thank you

          I think she looks gorgeous

          And in 1980, little girls only wore pink and dollied up on Sundays, birthdays and occasions. And had the same frock for all.

          I don’t believe there was any attempt to portray a little girl as one of the mucky boys gang

    2. CanuckJacq

      No, back then, kids dressed like kids, not like miniature glamour models. My brother and I both wore overalls and jeans and I’m pretty sure I didn’t wear any pink until I was in my teens. That’s what kids looked like back then — no padded bras and playboy logos, so I can see how you might be confused given what little girls wear these days.

      1. Mich

        I’m not confused … I just don’t believe LEGO were doing anything particularly ground breaking in the 80s compared to now.

      2. Sophie

        I agree. Born in 1987, although I insisted on Laura Ashley puffy-sleeved dresses for my birthday and loved pink, on a day-to-day basis, I wore dungarees, leggings, t-shirts, that sort of thing. I think children’s daily wear was more unisex.

        I preferred Duplo and Playmobil to Lego, but add a fringe and I was basically the child in the picture.

    3. Jockstrap

      “portraying this little girl as a tom-boy”

      No. They’re not. They’re not doing that at all.

      1. Mich

        In my opinion, they are. When I initially saw that ad, I didn’t see a little girl, I saw a tomboy. I’m just saying I don’t think LEGO were more gender neutral back than. LEGO had Belville in the 80s … this gender stereotyping has always been a feature of the company

        1. Caroline

          It’s possible, but I really don’t think so. The text of the ad doesn’t bear it out either.

          It’s difficult to look at this ad now without being informed by current trends – of course she looks like a tomboy now! When I look back at pictures of myself as a child, I’m surprised to see I was dressed in so much brown and navy, so many unisex shoes (some really ridiculously horrible) and of course, the dungarees.

        2. parp

          “Belville is a product range of the Lego construction toy designed to appeal primarily to girls. First introduced in 1994”

  4. Eamonn

    Right now, we have a bucket of the regular stuff, some fecking outsized baby bricks, some pink stuff, some build an oil tanker or somesuch kit ….

    and out of all that, with 2 kids added to the mix, do you know what you get?

    No shagging floor space to call your own, that’s what!

  5. Rachel Earley

    I remember creating things with my imagination but also following the instructions to build a big pirate ship or a medieval castle. Both were equally fun and rewarding. I think I asked Santa for lego about 4 years in a row for Christmas! I was a also a little tom boy hence the pirate ship and castles, however my big sister never was all about the girly stuff and would have loved that girly house. Whatever gets kids playing and building with lego rather than starring at a screen is good I say!

  6. The Goat

    Must be a joke here somewhere about NAMA and builders etc but I cant be arsed on a Monday. Anyone…?

    1. This Is Not Darragh, Honestly

      Saddest thing ever.
      An Irish person making stupid jokes about red hair.
      Akin to a black person making jokes about “big lips” or what-have-you.
      Punch magazine would be proud though, I’m sure.

      1. Crested Ted

        Sadder than a puppy by the side of the road, with no collar ?

        Sadder than a Christmas tree with no branches ?

        Punch Magazine ? Wha ?

        Get over yourself

      2. Eamonn

        Where is the joke? The comment was that the poster was not sure.

        Do you take a feeling of not being sure about hair colour as a joke?

        Do you not feel that the poster was questioning the alignment of “expected” national characteristics with a targeted ad campaign?

        I have freckles, am I allowed to make jokes about those or is that akin to something that people are allowed to do too?

        If I was a woman, should I not be allowed to tell a joke about boobs?

        If I was a man, should I be allowed to tell a cock joke?

        Is there a bell-end convention in town …. can I make campy jokes about that?

        1. ljr

          you are missing the point. the person above is just sick of seeing negative comments about red-heads. It is unbelievable the nonsense that goes on in the UK slagging gingers and it seems to have come over here now also.

          If you don’t know what I am talking about you haven’t read this site much. Quick example – every time there is a picture of Glen Hansard there is a negative comment about his hair. It is beyond tiresome. It is not as if there is nothing else they could criticise him for. It would be a bit like every time we see a pic of Enda Kenny someone mentions his hair style.

          The cute girl in the Shite Irish Girls Say video is the first posting I have seen where no-one mentioned her hair colour. it’s only a matter of time however – on the youtube site there is a comment along the lines of “I’d do you if you weren’t ginger”. as I said… beyond tiresome, and in my view, racist.
          (ps I’m a blond but married to a gorgeous redhead).

          1. Eamonn

            Oy! Created Ten there love.

            Tell us what you meant by your remark –

            Were you being racist against ginger nuts as yer man here is asserting?

            Were you making (an obscure) joke about matchsticks which was a racist thing to do according to contestant no.2?

            Were you questioning the use of a red-head in an ad campaign targeted at an Irish audience as a bit of a cliche?

            I’m a ginger so I am allowed to use the word. The rest of you can look on in envy.

            In the meantime, here is a video of someone with a distinguished feature making some jokes at his own expense:

  7. Tinger

    Hoi, watch your use of the ni, gg, and er letters!
    Only a ginger can call another ginger ginger!

  8. Dave

    Instead of all the knee jerk reactions people should read this very good Businessweek article on the matter –

    Lego weren’t selling to girls as much as they wanted to, they’ve created a new toy. What did people want them to do. They never ‘gender stereotyped’ before and yet couldn’t grab traction with girls.

    This fiction from some people that there are no boys toys and girls toys is just that. Fiction.

  9. ElizaF

    My pair swap toys all the time they could not give a hoot if they were pink black purple green glittery or matt.

    Neither could I.

    Reading the toys and “gender” debate here makes me feel like a highly evolved human being, which I am not. I am just someone who wants them to clear the lego explosion out of the hall so I can sprint to the bathroom with a full morning bladder without impaling the soft bit of me foot on a bit of white lego concealed in the carpet.

    When I beg, cajole, threaten, bribe, shout and give out about it, they both point at each other and go He/She should tidy it up.

    That, lads and lassies is the gender debate once you have kids, which of the little so….sauges tidies up the mess they have both made. If they thought I gave more than a passing comment to a debate on what they “should” and “shouldn’t” play with, they would think me (and all grown-ups) mad…..

    ….. and they’d be right

  10. Crested Ted

    Contestant number 1 typically Irish to think evrryone is Irish

    Contestant number 2 typical Ginger thinks everbody is being racialist about Gingers

    Contestant number 3 freckley Ginger bloke thinks the comment was more general is the winner, come on down, and leave the bell ends alone


    Contestamt number 0 the ginger girl who thought it was a ginger joke, and thought it was funny, and made a comment baxk

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