Is Lego promoting ‘outdated gender roles’?

Over in Sweden, Lego has been accused of sexist advertising toward children. The country's Trade Ethical Council against Sexism in Advertising (ERK) has cried foul over Lego catalog ads that show a girl in a pink room playing with a castle and ponies and a boy in a blue room playing with fire trucks and a fire station. ERK says this use of pink and blue constitutes a form of gender stereotyping that's degrading to both men and women. Lego defended the images, saying that boys and girls are seen playing together elsewhere in the catalog. Two U.S. sites, Parent Dish and Mom Logic, have also gotten uppity over the ads. What I don't get is how some people think the fairly recent, 20th-century concept of assigning pink to girls and blue to boys is an old-fashioned gender stereotype. Doesn't something have to fall out of fashion before it's considered "old-fashioned"? Maybe someday we'll return to the Little Lord Fauntleroy style of the late 1800s, where small boys wore lacy collars and little velvet suits and had long curly hair. Until then, Lego might avoid the issue altogether by sticking to a nice, environmentally fashionable green.

—Posted by Rebecca Cullers

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