If you care about inspiring creativity in kids without being bound by whether they’re a girl or a boy, these instructions from the back of a 1970s LEGO set will resonate with you.
Back then it seems that boys and girls played the same game, with the same toys and child gender stereotypes really didn’t exist. It just goes to show how backwards we’ve gone over the last 40 years.
Lego has been criticised recently after its move to gender-based sets with “girl’s Lego” and producing, in the words of one 7yo girl, female characters that “sit at home, go to the beach, and shop,” while the boy characters “saved people, had jobs, even swam with sharks!”
To their credit, Lego has taken this on board to some extent, with a line of women scientists, but the sad thing is that they needed to be pushed. But there was a time when the Danish company got these things so, so right.
When reddit user fryd_ posted those Lego instructions at imgur and said it came from a 1974 box of Lego, plenty of people disputed its authenticity. However, io9 have weighed up the evidence and found it is more likely than not that this really was what Lego was telling parents back then.
This little girl is holding a LEGO set. The LEGOs are not pink or “made for girls.” She isn’t even wearing pink. The copy is about “younger children” who “build for fun.” Not just “girls” who build. ALL KIDS.
In an age when little girls and boys are treated as though they are two entirely different species by toy marketers, this 1981 ad for LEGO — one of our favourite images ever — issues an important reminder.
“Have you ever seen anything like it? Not just what she’s made, but how proud it’s made her. It’s a look you’ll see whenever children build something all by themselves. No matter what they’ve created.”
We think it’s beautiful too.