A Lego pamphlet from 1974 was posted on Reddit by user fryd_ this weekend. Not only does it show how progressive the company was 40 years ago, but also how it’s simple letter advising parents then still rings true for parents now.
The letter is in keeping with Lego’s history of advertising, that its products can be used for anything, made by anyone — gender be damned! Which is awesome. In the past, we’ve seen Lego get it right a lot of times.
Now if only they can take their own advice. While gender equality has seemingly always been in the forefront of the company’s standards, Lego has also drawn criticism over the years for its struggle to appeal to girls as much as boys. Earlier this year, a seven-year-old girl complained about Lego Friends, the product line in the purple packaging, saying in a letter, “All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks.” Where’s the fun in going to the beach if you can’t even swim with sharks? Pfft.
Granted, Lego has always been about imagination. Just because there are instructions that come with many of their products doesn’t mean they have to be used. Back in the day, there were no pre-designed playsets or movie tie-ins; it was just blocks and our brains. The way and the direction in which we guide our children is important. We should be teaching girls and boys that there is no limit to where their imagination can take them. And that’s why Lego’s 40-year-old letter is so great. It was a compelling statement for that time but what’s most incredible is that it still stands up today.