Last week, seven-year-old Charlotte Benjamin became a household name, and a hero to young girls everywhere, when her handwritten letter to the LEGO company went viral.
In her letter, Charlotte complains about the lack of diversity in Lego characters and poor role models offered up by the LEGO toys that are marketed to girls. Here's what she wrote:
"Dear Lego company:
My name is Charlotte. I am 7 years old and I love Legos but I don’t like that there are more Lego boy people and barely any LEGO girls.
Today I went to a store and saw Legos in two sections — the girls' pink and the boys' blue. All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks.
I want you to make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun, ok!?!
Well said, Charlotte.
Charlotte's dad loved her well-written letter so much that he sent it to the website, Sociological Images. They, in turn, also loved it and posted it to their Twitter account. As of this morning, that image has been retweeted almost 2,500 times and favorite by almost 1,000 Twitter users. It's also been shared over 5,000 times on Facebook.
Yesterday, LEGO responded to Charlotte with this statement:
"LEGO play has often been more appealing to boys, but we have been very focused on including more female characters and themes that invite even more girls to build, and in the last few years, we are thrilled that we have dramatically increased the number of girls who are choosing to build. While there are still more male characters than female, we have added new characters to the LEGO world to better balance the appeal of our themes."
This isn't the first time that LEGO has gotten into hot water with little girls. When the company first introduced their "Friends," line that Charlotte refers to in her letter, many young girls, including my own, were severely disappointed. Teen blogger Ann Garth made this comment blog, Reel Girl when the Friends line was released:
"... I was so disappointed when I recently heard of Lego’s horrible, totally misguided decision to make and market a line of (very pink) Legos for girls, complete with a girl brushing her hair in the mirror, a bottle of perfume, and more. This is problematic for only two or three MILLION reasons, but let me pick the first, broadest, and most obvious: the idea that if you want to market a line to girls, it cannot involve any movement, adventure, or activity."
It sounds like the folks at LEGO still haven't gotten the message that young girls do want their toys. And they want to get in on the action, too.
Maybe - just maybe - the company's quick response to Charlotte means that the company is finally listening.
Related posts on MNN:
- Young genius builds LEGO car that runs on air
- Block party: BIG unveils plans for LEGO house in Denmark
- Design your own LEGO eco-utopia with Build the Change