Dear Lego: Disney Princess Products a New Low in Marketing to Girls

Dear LEGO,

I am writing to share my disappointment in your new Disney Princess line.

I don't know how lucrative the partnership is for you, but I do not WANT my children playing with Disney Princess Legos.  My 7-year-old daughter doesn't want it either.  When she saw the
This looks like it would take my daughter
about 2 minutes to put together.
boxes prominently displayed at Target this week, her face went blank, and she said "Oh, no."  What immediately stood out to me was how little BUILDING the sets actually require.  Unlike the "boy" sets, the Disney versions have many huge pieces and require much less assembly for their size than other sets.  Do you think girls can't follow complex instructions?  Do you think parents will just not notice and gladly pay extra for anything that has "princesses" on it?  Do you think we are not insulted by the banality of this product?

My daughter's entire landscape is inundated with pink and princess.  We cannot escape Disney.  We cannot escape their unparalleled marketing machine.  But there have always been some safe, dependable alternatives - like Lego - that leveled the playing field for girls and provided a more neutral space for play and discovery.

Lego used to be a gender-free brand, a space where kids could create and build and be free of boundaries.  Now, it's hard to find a gender-neutral offering in your "boy" and "girl" aisles.  Why do you want to shove our girls into pink and purple boxes that cannot hold their creativity?  Why do you want to reinforced the silly idea that boys only want characters that fight and shoot?

The largest, most interesting and complicated set in the collection.
For $70, your little princess can build "Cinderella's
Romantic Castle."  But don't worry about wasting *too* much time
on the building. She can get right to "romance" with these handy
pre-fab walls and gabillion decorative accessory pieces! 
I could not be more disappointed in this latest marketing ploy.  For the past 20 years, as you've struggled to capitalize on the "girl market", you've been met with failure after failure and resistance after resistance. Parents do not want toys that reproduced tired stereotypes and serve as little more than advertisements for other products.  We are sick of toys that sell movies, characters, and outdated assumptions about what girls and boys "want".

I grew up in the 70s and 80s.  Legos brought girls and boys together then.  Now they push them apart.  I only wish you were ashamed of what your company has become as so many parents like me are.  Your company claims to take seriously its responsibilities to "build a better tomorrow" through your products.  I wish, at last, you would begin to see how you betray that promise with such gender-restrictive products as the Disney Princess line.

Heather DuBois Bourenane, parent of 2 Lego enthusiasts - a boy and a girl - who want to play together
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

Note: This open letter has been published on my blog.  I am happy to print your response should you want to make one.  I'd be even happier to buy your products, should you decide to provide some gender neutral options that actually appeal to my kids.

Lego has changed.  For the worse.  Image source (and story of the model pictured here, now a doctor).

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