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« Hey Color Pink--It's Not Your Fault! | Main | A Mom Teaches Her Boys That "Girls Are Important" »


by Michele Yulo

Here is the now famous 1981 Lego ad entitled, "What it is/is beautiful," side-by-side with my own ad which says, "What it is/is still beautiful." The girl on the right is my daughter (with her fresh new hair cut!) holding her Legos. She put those together and I took a picture of her with her creation--she looks just as happy and proud as the girl on the left. This is who she is--a kid who likes to build, use her imagination, and doesn't have to be told what it is to be a girl. She already knows.

So, take a look at these two pictures and ask yourself, what has changed between 1981 and today? 




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Reader Comments (12)

This is so fabulous and so creative! It's got internet meme written all over it. Hey everyone, let's get it going!

February 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori Day

Total greatness... Total.

February 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHolly Sanders Fuller

Awww! I posted my version on my blog's FB page a few weeks ago :) I don't know that you could say my daughter likes to BUILD--she made a scene rather than a structure--but she was pretty darn proud of her creation, and that's what matters. :)

February 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Twisting Kaleidoscope

I hope this goes viral. I love the image of a real girl playing with her legos. She's not some actor, and she's enjoying them just because they are toys.

February 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessie Powell

I just don't get it. On both pictures a girl playing with Lego. Whats so "fabulous" and the "total greatness" about it?

"Children haven't changed" - ok, i thats what I see. But "We have" - ???

Thanx for explaining, I really want to know

March 1, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternoicon

@Noicon - If you've been following what's been happening on the Lego front (not sure if you have), then it might make more sense. Lego recently decided to market a brand new line called Lego Friends which plays to very limited ideas of what constitutes a girl and what girls like to play with. The ad on the left is one of their very own ads from 1981. As you can see, there is no pink, no frilliness, no need to appeal to girls based on stereotypes. But, within the last decade, Lego has primarily focused their marketing efforts on boys only (they have admitted as such) which means that girls were excluded from most things Lego--even though, many girls love Lego. Nobody objects to the Lego Friends line as much as the idea that that is the only way to appeal to girls--by making minifigs curvy and placing them in a town in which they can go to a salon and bake cupcakes at the bakery. The point of this picture is to show that girls can still be interested in ALL of what Lego has to offer. The girl on the left is all in blue--blue jeans, blue sneaks, blue tee. The girl on the right is the same. It's simply to show how much companies' marketing has actually had an affect on how we view gender, when in fact, children really have not been the ones that have changed. There are many kinds of ways to be a girl--and many companies do not recognize that fact. That's what this picture is illuminating. If you want to take a look at the differences you can go here:

March 1, 2012 | Registered CommenterMichele

Thank you very much!
I am coulour-blind, guess thats why I didnt get the point.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternoicon

Well, I don't know why nobody else is saying it, but obviously the girl on the right is more androgynous than the girl on the left, who has longer hair in braids. The girl on the right could easily be mistaken for a boy, the only thing that tells us she's a girl is her pose. It's notable that the girl on the left has no need to pose like a girl. I don't know why Legos wants to divide Legos up into the boy/tomboy colors and the pink/girlygirl colors, but that's what the ads tell me.

Also, the legos are much larger today. They were smaller back then. I guess this is to avoid little children swallowing them. (Not that I or my little brothers ever swallowed a lego, but then, my parents didn't give us age-inappropriate toys, probably because they couldn't sue anyone if they did.)

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercarolita

Hi Carolita--the girl on the left is my daughter--the only one I have. Yes, she has short hair--but, other than that, I don't see any major differences between the two. They are both wearing all blue, blue jeans, blue tees. They both have cute grins on their faces. My daughter did not "intentionally" pose like a girl--nor did I coach her to pose like that. She is a girl and does not need to prove that just because she has short hair. We just happen to have those Legos--I really was just making the point that girls today don't necessarily need everything to be pink and frilly to like Legos, just as they did not need them twenty years ago.

March 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterMichele

I meant the girl on the right is my daughter.

March 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterMichele

@Carolita: Legos haven't gotten smaller since 1981, they just come in different sizes that are more age appropriate. I suppose some of it had to do with choking hazard, but it's also because of the dexterity range of different age grottos as well. The bigger DUPLO blocks can be used more easily by infants and toddlers.

April 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlexInCO

What has changed between 1981 and today?

In 1981 you had had at least a decade of the women's movement advancing the cause of feminism. Today we have had about three decades where "feminist" is a term of abuse. Where people feel the need to say, "I'm not a feminist, but..." That's why the ads today are worse than in 1981.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

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