The same toy company that touts imagination and creativity among their core brand values seems to think kids need “to see themselves in the toys they’re playing with,” relaunching a line chock full of diversity and inclusion.
To promote a second generation of their LEGO Friends product line, the LEGO Group held, ironically enough, an invitation-only event from the Empire Diner in New York City Friday. There, a select few kids were afforded the opportunity to play with sets inspired by a YouTube series that includes “authentic, interesting and passionate characters” with characteristics like anxiety, limb difference, Down Syndrome, and ADHD.
Fox Business covered the event where LEGO Friends Creative Lead Fenella Charity expressed, “We could see that there’s this real need for kids to see themselves in the toys they’re playing with.”
Image: Fox News
Developed through a partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and with input from kids worldwide, Executive Producer Courtney Arumugan detailed, “Our [new] characters have varied personalities, and that makes it relatable for kids. It’s been incredible to see kids already relating to these characters.”
“It’s really important to us that children feel seen. It was really important for us that our characters are flawed,” she added while clinical psychologist Dr. Becky Kennedy attended the event and said, “Kids are really looking to open up. They put their struggles in to play. [But] you can’t express yourself in play if you don’t see yourself in play.”
“It’s making curiosity [among children] safe and affirming those noticed differences,” she argued.
The eight new characters for the product line included a girl with only one hand, an African-French student dealing with English as a second language, a musician coping with anxiety, the owner of a wheelchair bound dog, and Olly, the token white male whose “willingness to help can turn into meddling in his friends’ interests.”
According to the LEGO Group’s Global Brand Director of Diversity & Inclusion Carolina Teixeira “We firmly believe that LEGO play is for everyone. We take our influence and responsibility very seriously. Our core DNA is to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with LEGO Friends. We hold ourselves to very high standards, and want to develop a kinder, more accepting future society.”
“Although this is a huge step towards diversity and inclusion, we have a long way to go,” she went on about the play sets that included an organic grocery store, a mobile tiny house and electric vehicles. “We hope to show progress in different areas in the next 10 years.”
As with other brands that have ventured down the path to wokeness, reactions to the product line left many consumers decidedly opposed to future investment in the brick building company.
Finally an excuse to never have to build another Lego Set. @LEGO_Group
— Allen (@Allen073157) February 21, 2023
Good grief! Here I was buying all the Lego’s my little asked for. Now, not again! Glad I saved all my son’s Lego’s from the 80’s & 90’s. Those have not been tainted
— Ray Shepherd (@RayShepAmarillo) February 21, 2023
Will this be the next woke- broke company
— AliceinOH (@MaliceinOH) February 21, 2023
This woke stuff is getting old
— The-Premise (@ThePremisePol) February 21, 2023
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