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Would a plastic-surgeon Lego set be OK?

January 24, 2012 |  1:34 pm

Oh sure, Mitt Romney and his taxes is big news. Along with Newt Gingrich's rise to the top of the GOP presidential race. And of course there's President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

But for really big news -- albeit in a small package -- nothing beats sexist Legos.

Perhaps you missed that story. Certainly the mainstream media has allowed Romney, Gingrich and Obama to skate on the whole issue.

Here it is in a nutshell:

Denmark-based Lego Group has introduced a Lego Friends line of toys for girls, which includes a Butterfly Beauty Shop and a Your Fashion Designer Workshop. The company said the line was in response to consumer demand.

Another response, though, came from groups such as the International Assn. of Eating Disorder Professionals, which said the toys were "devoid of imagination and promote overt forms of sexism."

Even someone from Malibu weighed in:

The new line, whose characters sport slim figures and stylish clothes, will contribute to gender stereotyping that promotes body dissatisfaction in girls, said Carolyn Costin, an eating disorders specialist and founder of the Monte Nido Treatment Center in Malibu.

The toys send girls a message "that being pretty is more important than who you are or what you can do," Costin said in a statement.

Now, I'm not going to tell you that Legos are without faults.

For example, what parent hasn’t cursed Denmark after stepping on one of those little pieces in his or her bare feet? Who hasn't known the sick feeling of completing a Star Wars Death Star only to have your kid notice the six pieces left over? Who doesn't have a tub full of Legos in the garage, poignant reminders that your children are grown and you spent a fortune on stuff they no longer care about?

And let's not even think about that parental torture chamber of a theme park. 

But when someone from Malibu, of all places, is alarmed that a toy is telling girls "that being pretty is more important than who you are or what you can do" -- well, all I can say is: Stop pulling my tiny square plastic legs!

Are they really sexist? Is Barbie? Is Ken? Is GI Joe? (OK, I'm willing to give you those three.)

But what's so wrong with a beauty salon? The woman who cuts my hair owns a nice home with a pool, and two nice cars, and a boat, and an RV, and has two kids she's putting through college. (And neither she nor her kids seem to have body image issues.)

My bottom line on the new Lego ladies? They're toys. If you don't like them, don't buy them.

And if you want to buy your daughter a Barbie and let her dress it like a hooker, that's OK. Or, if you want to buy her a train set, or your son an Easy-Bake Oven, I say go for it.

And if you want to buy Legos: Well, I have a tub full in my garage that I'll make you a good deal on.


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-- Paul Whitefield

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