Lego Announces Forthcoming Removal of “Gender Bias and Harmful Stereotypes”

Could big changes be on the way?

Lego starship
The Lego Movie-Benny's Spaceship, Spaceship, Spaceship! is named one of the top 12 Dream Toys at the Dream Toys Launch on November 5, 2014 in London, England.
Karwai Tang/WireImage

Can the toys you play with growing up have a significant impact on the person you become later in life? New research indicates that this is, in fact, the case. Earlier this year, science journalist Melissa Hogenboom expounded on that subject for the BBC. “Blocks encourage building whereas dolls can encourage perspective taking and caregiving,” Hogenboom wrote. “A range of play experiences is clearly important.”

Now, one of the world’s most beloved toy companies is taking that advice. The Guardian reported today that Lego announced a plan to remove gender bias from their toys going forward. The decision came via a study conducted by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, with sobering conclusions about toys and perception.

The institute’s research involved surveying 7,000 parents and children across the globe — and it revealed some stark numbers. In discussing it, The Guardian‘s Helen Russell noted that “[s]eventy-one per cent of boys surveyed feared they would be made fun of if they played with what they described as ‘girls’ toys.’”

In a statement released on October 10, Lego announced that it would work with both the Geena Davis Institute and UNICEF to make sure that its “products and marketing are accessible to all and free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes.” What that will mean in practice, though, remains to be seen.

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