It has been the year for Legos. I bought The Lego Movie as a Valentine’s Day present for my boyfriend; we watched it at least twice that weekend, and rocked out with Tegan, Sara, and the Lonely Island. (When you’re snowed in for several weekends in a row, these things happen.) I continued the theme for his birthday, getting tickets to a Lego fest and gift subscription to BrickBox, a monthly mailing of a Lego tee and toys and stuff every month. I also won girlfriend of the year; we can just acknowledge that briefly.
I’ve gotten into Legos myself a bit as a result. I mean, you can build anything you want! They make Lego everything. I’m now the proud owner of little unicorn lady, which I love, and a build-your-own figure, who has become my little personal totem. Legos are fun. They allow you to be creative and it’s important for, you know, that whole inner child thing. (Yeah, we’re in our 30’s, so what?)
Krys and I went to the Lego store this past weekend, and couldn’t resist the build-your-own figure bin. While we were hard at work assembling our little people, or creatures, or whatever, a young dad with his little girl came in to put together a figure. I heard him explain to her: “Well, it looks like they don’t really have a lot of parts for girls, so you can’t really build a surfer girl, but you can make a surfer boy. Here’s the surfer outfit, and, well girls don’t wear tank tops like that, do they?”
I gave that cute 7-year-old girl a conspiratorial glance, and said, “I do.” She grinned.
The dad, to his credit, said, “Oh! Well, see? She does! So you can be like her.” Hell to the yes. It just hadn’t occurred to him before. Putting a female head on a male-looking torso? Craziness! I wonder what would have made the torso more feminine…little detachable Lego boobs? I almost forgot, they do make Legos for girls now. (Except I’m not going to lie: the Dolphin cruise ship looks pretty awesome.)
Two things that he said really stood out: You can’t and Girls don’t. Here’s the thing. Even when talking about something as seemingly innocuous as clothing, saying “girls don’t” is harmful. Kids absorb that shit, and now she’s going to grow up thinking she can’t a) wear certain clothes, and b) build something however she envisions it. And by the way, this is what my bad-ass Lego surfer chick looks like:
Girls and women are told all the time we can’t do things. One of my very first memories is from preschool, when I declared to the world that my favorite colors were pink, purple, and blue. A little boy told me I couldn’t like blue because it was a boy’s color. (I hated him and still love blue.) Just the other day a man told me, “jokingly,” that “men are better at giving speeches than women.” Thank God he told me that so I don’t ever embarrass myself!
I didn’t play with Legos when I was little, and I loved my Barbies and PollyPocket. But it’s never too late to get in touch with your inner Lego self. And make whatever the hell you want to.