Kit Steinkellner
March 17, 2015 8:02 am

Writer and mother Sharon Holbrook, who scribes for the NY Times excellent Motherlode blog, was shocked when her 7-year-old daughter asked her what shape her face was because she wanted to make sure she had the “right haircut” for her “face shape.”

Had this little girl been flipping through Cosmo magazines at the grocery check-out or playing around on her mom’s “Dream Hair” Pinterest board. Nope and more nope. She had read a piece in Lego Club Magazine in which Lego Friends (the girl-targeted Lego line) gave readers beauty advice, specifically about the whole face shape/hair cut thing (but also threw in gems of lines like “Experiment with bows, barrettes, and headbands. It’s like jewelry for your hair!”)

If you’re like “Wait, what’s a LEGO magazine doing giving elementary school girls BEAUTY ADVICE?” Holbrook is right there with you, sister (and, for the record, we are too). Here’s the magazine clip provided via the Times:

As Holbrook explains in Motherlode:

“My little girl, the shape of her face, and whether her haircut is flattering are none of Lego’s concern. It wasn’t even her concern until a toy magazine told her to start worrying about it.”

We already weren’t too thrilled with the Lego Friends line, which sells girls Lego sets featuring centerpieces like “juice bar,” “hair salon” and “shopping mall” (while pirate ships and arctic base camps are marketed to their male counterparts). Now, this gendered Lego line has gone too far, planting insecurities into little girls’ heads.

In case you’re wondering, Holbrook checked the rest of the issue and there was no “beauty advice” for the little boys reading. Male readers were not told to worry about whether they had an oval or a square face or whether “a deep side part” would “accentuate [their] lovely eyes.”

This “beauty tips” feature is worrisome on several levels. It’s messed up to be the publication that teaches little girls to be insecure about the way they look, it’s super wrong to be the magazine that teaches both girls and boys that concern over one’s physical appearance is a huge part of being a girl, and that it is a girl’s job to go get a flattering haircut while it is a boy’s job to be a Marvel superhero, have pirate adventures on the seven seas, and/or be the last man standing in that arctic base camp.

You have a platform, Lego, a space in which you could do some real good for a new generation of kids learning about gender and equality. Don’t squander your resources. Give girls something worthwhile to read. Ask them to be more than their hair.

(Lego Magazine image via Motherlode,Marilyn Monroe Lego via The Little Artists, toy box via Ocado)