Lego for girls: Wait, what?
Lego is releasing a special line of, well Lego toys for girls. Is the firmament crumbling? Or do girls need different colored bricks?
Sometimes, information will stop you and make you reconsider your world view.
"Indianapolis Colts win," did it for me today. So did a Bloomberg Businessweek headline that said: "Lego is For Girls."
I had never considered Lego to be anything other than a precursor to an engineering job. Some people make it, some don't. Most of those people seem to be boys.
But I'd never imagined that Lego would find the need to launch a special line of toys specifically for girls. Yet here we have, debuting in 2012, Brick Barbie. Not, not quite.
Instead, it's Lego Friends, which doesn't seem to include effigies of Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry, but does include give new characters who live in something called Heartlake City.
I have been to Heartbreak City, a place that normally goes under the name of Buffalo. But Heartlake City appears to be a fictional place where Olivia the smart girl and Emma the beautician build their lives brick by brick.
They seem to be accompanied by Mia the animal lover, Stephanie the social butterfly and Andrea the singer. The Brickblogger describes them as "Skinny, curvy and very girly."
While you (and I) might imagine that these are characters from a soap opera, they are apparently based on deep and beautiful research into the mind of girls and their aspirations.
Just as journalists choose to be embedded in fun places like Iraq, Lego placed its operatives in family homes to watch how boys and girls play.
"We want to reach the other 50 percent of the world's children," Lego CEO Jorgen Knudstorp told Bloomberg.
This would seem to be an admission that Lego had previously focused all of its energies on boys. This research showed the company that girls were not at all fond of the traditional Lego minifigure. There was no place to hang a purse on one of these brutes.
So these Lego Friends are a little larger, in order to be more accessory-friendly.
Those who know about this sort of thing-- let's call them mothers-- tell me that this is not the first time Lego has produced toys for girls. Here's Belville, for example, a place where girls jump horses over Lego fences.
And here's a Pink Brick Box. Which appears to be a box full of pink bricks.
Then there's the Bikini Bottom Undersea Party, which seems to have Spongebob at its heart.
Some might believe that Lego Friends manages, despite its heart being in some sort of good place, to reinforce gender types effortlessly. However, it is clearly a concerted effort to make Lego stand for something that isn't exclusively male.
If it works, might Silicon Valley follow suit?