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From Knights on White Horses to Pretty Pink Lab Coats – How Far We Haven’t Come

The inclusion of beauty tips in a recent issue of LEGO Friends magazine targeting girls ages 5-12, has put the spotlight back on “girls toys”.

A recent LA Times article hints that growing sales in the construction toy category are driven by the purchase of girl-targeted sets. The percent of LEGO sets purchased for girls grew from 10% to 25% within eight months of the launch of the girl-specific LEGO Friends line. Sales of Goldieblox, engineering sets specifically designed to develop girls’ interest in STEM fields, reached $1M before beginning production. And Roominate, the world’s first wired-dollhouse, complete with working elevators, lights, and fans, is definitely picking up STEAM (pun intended).

Making the benefits of construction play – enhanced motor skills, spatial awareness, creative problem solving, and hands-on experience with various math, science, and engineering principles – available to a wider range of children is wonderful. But, while the play experience of these girl-targeted, open-ended construction and engineering toys are the same as what you’d get from the boys’ versions, there’s an underlying problem with the “pinkification” of toys.

Whether the packaging is pink or not, obviously marketing a toy to a specific gender prescribes what’s “appropriate” for that gender. Boys’ construction sets clearly tell boys they should enjoy constructing robots, cars, and police stations. Girl-targeted sets send the clear message that building ice cream parlors and pet shops should interest girls more. If the goal is to build a culture of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and inventors, every child, regardless of gender, must be free to pursue their own, unique interests without judgement or predetermination. As one of the girl scientists interviewed for Microsoft’s (amazing!) new ad says “When I was little, I used to think technology was great. And then I started thinking it was more of a boy’s thing.”

At Brackitz building toys we believe that play is play. And that construction – simple, colorful, undirected, un-themed construction – is for kids. Not a girls’ thing or a boys’ thing. A kids’ thing. Construction shoul be for kids with imagination, creativity, and architectural vision. Problem solvers, artists, and visionaries. After all, math is not pink. Or blue! Neither is DNA or computer code. And we’re pretty sure these five groundbreaking, female scientists don’t use pink Bunsen burners.

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About Brackitz

Brackitz is the only open-ended construction toy that actually lets kids design any structure they envision – anything! Our one-of-a-kind, award-winning Brackitz enable connections at any angle, allowing kids to use real-life architectural and engineering principles to create large-scale, gravity-defying, 3-D structures – with no limitations!

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