During one of my daily travels across the internet reading up on (or at least trying to read up on) all things LEGO, I ran across this article on The Learned Fangirl, LEGO Marketing Sex Change: The Follow Up, where Heather, the blogger, describes a follow-up email she received from LEGO Customer Service. The blog post itself is a follow up from a previous post, Dear LEGO®, In Regards to Your Marketing-Imposed Sex Change For My Son!, where she expressed her dissatisfaction about how LEGO handled the distribution of their Friends insert in the monthly Club Magazine. Friends insert what?
According to the article, depending on how you or your offspring were flagged in their subscription database, you would receive either the normal Club Magazine if you were marked a boy or the Club Magazine with a special Friends-themed insert if you were marked a girl. After reading this, I called up LEGO Shop@Home and inquired about the insert, and the rep verified that there is a special Friends insert and that anyone can receive it if they so wish. I signed up my daughter for the Club Magazine right then and there. I was told my daughter should expect her first issue around January so until then I really have no idea what to expect. I’m not expecting much, maybe some sort of loose story tying some of the sets together to basically act as an advertisement. We shall see.
Going back to the articles themselves, they’re an interesting read and worth the few minutes of your time. Heather’s six-year-old son is a fan of LEGO and also has an affinity for all things pink. She objected to having to identify her son as a “girl” in their database in order to receive the Club Magazine with the Friends insert, but beyond that, she touches upon a bigger overall picture about gender equality and the controversy that the LEGO Friends line introduced when it debuted. I agree with a lot of what she stands up for; however, there is one inaccuracy she states in the “Dear LEGO” article:
I won’t do it, LEGO. First of all, it’s illogical when you insist LEGO Friends isn’t for girls, but your database says otherwise.
LEGO has never denied that LEGO Friends isn’t for girls. Perhaps she left out the word “only”, so that bolded sentence should have read, “First of all, it’s illogical when you insist LEGO Friends isn’t only for girls” because she alludes to that sentiment earlier in the article.
Whatever the case may be, I applaud Heather for sticking to her guns. I’d like to believe that the changes presented to her by the LEGO representative are real, but the LEGO Club Magazine subscription sign up page still has the gender drop down menu:
If the child’s gender is no longer used to identify which subscribers receive the Friends insert, what other purpose could it serve? It sort of flies in the face of their gender-neutral stance, but without any proof of the gender being used for targeted marketing purposes, it’s only conjecture at this point.
Ah well. I just look forward to January to see what the insert will be like.