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Desc:Anita Sarkeesian discusses the horseshit marketing of a popular toy company
Category:Educational, News & Politics
Tags:lego, feminism, Anita Sarkeesian, Feminist Frequency, Tropes vs. Women
Submitted:bac
Date:06/04/13
Views:1653
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Comment count is 56
Old_Zircon
I haven't watched much of this yet and I'll leave it to the rest of you to argue about it.

I just wanted to be the first one to say that the fact that lego has even become a gendered product at all is just pathetic.

Thanks for fucking that up too, 80s.
Old_Zircon
Lego Monorail was pretty cool and that Lego pirate ship was pretty cool but for the most part, fuck lego sets with specialized pieces and themes and INSTRUCTIONS. That defeats the whole purpose.

-1 for the painfully forced reaction shots, although those are starting to grow on me as a kind of signature style.

RocketBlender
Legos were awesome back in my day, even the kits. Shopping for legos for my kid these days is just depressing. for a kit that's roughly 30 pieces that can't possibly be assembled into anything other than that ____ is not what Legos were all about about.

I was about to lose my shit when I saw this bitch going after fucking LEGOS now on the front page, but I just learned from this video that they actually are making gender-specific legos now, and that's just fucked up, and kinda kills the original point legos were going for.

Old_Zircon
I hit just in time to get the last of the good legos at the right age. I think I was in 6th grade when the pirate stuff came out, and while those were good they were really the beginning of the end for Legos focusing on unguided, creative play rather than theme kits. Lucky for me it was only a year or two before I discovered the Butthole Surfers and 70s horror movies and forming awful bands and hanging out with girls.

TeenerTot
Those girl figures indeed suck.

I always thought Legos were gender-neutral. Until this pink abomination. Ah, I see she plans to cover the "male-ification" of Lego in another vid.
Old_Zircon
They used to be. I'm jsut old enough to have grown up with the tail end of that.

That guy
Apparently boys and girls gravitate toward different colors in a way that's relatively hard-wired. I don't know if the colors should really be at issue.

Cena_mark
Legos for girls are new? But the Lego Duplo line has been around for decades.
Triggerbaby
Your joke is a hit with the crickets.

Old_Zircon
Part 2 is better.
Triggerbaby
It really is!

Cena_mark
Angry about pink Legos, while wearing lots of pink.
takewithfood
I miss Target Women.
BHWW
Yes it was much better than this garbage.

BHWW
but wait I forgot, no one can disagree with the content of Ms. Sarkessian's videos without being the biggest 4channer PUA MRA rape-culture supporter from Patriarchytown.

Old_Zircon
I agree that it was much better than these, but I don't think the content is the problem here so much as the presentation. I haven't really seen anything in any of these videos I disagree with yet. It's more like yeah, I figure most of this stuff out by the time I was 14 without having to have someone explain it to me because it's so transparent. But on the other hand, spend more than 5 minutes looking at Reddit and it's pretty clear that there area a whole lot of people who didn't so I guess there's a need for these kind of really rudimentary explanations.

The thing that I find most troublesome about them is the attempts at humor, which are painful.

On the other hand, these are getting a ton of attention and pissing offf a lot of the right people, and I can't help but approve of that.

The New Meat
Target Women was so much better. Sarah Haskins had genuine personality and style and a brisk delivery that drew you in to the materia; Sarkeesian talks like a burned-out community college professor who doesn't give a shit anymore. Also, her "humor" attempts feel like warmed-over nostalgia critic-style forced awkward wacky.

It's not like anything that Sarkeesian says is wrong, but it's feels like a fairly shallow grazing of gender dynamics presented without any real analysis. I guess it's an acceptable introduction to the topic if you're a manbaby who's never thought very deeply about gender politics, but she's mostly just summarizing without explaining.

Old_Zircon
I agree, I just think that there's a place for it, what with the drastic spike in manbabies in the past decade.

Also I don't think it's aimed at manbabies particularly. Or shouldn't be, since it's not going to make much impact there. I could see these being a sort of "my first crash course in awareness of gender issues in media" for teenagers who were unfortunate enough to have been born after the late 80s/90s backlash was in full effect.

Another way to look at it is that the level that these videos speak to is just another symptom of the mainstream ubiquity of the Internet. A lot of the people on here were around before there even WAS a lowest common denominator on the Internet, but there is and I'd rather have this available to them than not. It's the video equivalent of Jezebel.

But yeah, Sarah Haskins was so much better on every level.

Old_Zircon
Which is why she didn't get the attention this stuff does. Excellence doesn't usually succeed like mediocrity.

Old_Zircon
Actually, my biggest complaint with these is that they present everything in a way that pretty strongly focuses on the causal aspects of the topics and mostly ignores the symptomatic aspects.

The New Meat
"Actually, my biggest complaint with these is that they present everything in a way that pretty strongly focuses on the causal aspects of the topics and mostly ignores the symptomatic aspects."

Thanks, this is what I was trying to articulate.

Caminante Nocturno
The Target Women videos were very educational for me, in that they taught me just how much I had overestimated everyone on this site.

bac
Hey BHWW! you care to say what your problem is with her videos' maybe specifically this one? Because All I heard you say was it was Garbage and then proceed to not explain why.

Caminante Nocturno
You owe bac an explanation, and you just know he's going to be open to discussion about it!

bac
Actually, I most certainly am. I personally don't agree with all of what she says (because she has said a lot of things and to agree with it all would be the sign of a crazyyyyy person) I think her two videos on legos are particularly kickass. her tropes vs. women: pregnant video annoys me. if only because she brings up dianna troy from TNG, and that makes me want to piss on her shoes (although she does bring up jesus christ and that's pretty cool, but she only does it as an aside).

I posted this video specifically because I want to get into a debate with someone who disagrees with it. thunderfoot did a pretty good response to her vs. women in video games. But I can't really get into a debate with him.

I guess my point is I have yet to see anybody bring up a problem with the content of her videos. just the presentation or her herself. never what she says. in fact I think BHWW response to it being garbage is the closest I've seen anybody actually criticize the content of the video's and not just her.

The New Meat
Castle, pirate and city are the only acceptable Lego themes.
Old_Zircon
Yes. Although the monorail was pretty awesome (until you realized you couldn't build anything else cool with it).

Cena_mark
Or those snow planet guys with the clear orange chainsaw blades.

Old_Zircon
That's past my time, I think.

I'm still bitter that they changed the Lego cannons before I got some. A friend of mine in middle school had the original, dangerous, springloaded cannons and they were awesome.

Oscar Wildcat
There are Bricks. With varying numbers of Holes. And Tiles. Wheels as well. That is all, you bastards! There is no more!

Old_Zircon
Lego Classic Bucket or go home.

Spaceman Africa
I enjoyed the Mars sets in all their tube-pumping glory.

Old_Zircon
I'll admit I'm not too familiar with much after Monorail, and obviously I'm exaggerating how much I care a whole lot.

sasazuka
I understand the objections to LEGO Friends, but my niece loves it so the marketing does indeed work. She also likes "normal" unisex LEGO too, but I can understand the appeal to young girls of having little LEGO figures that are more specifically female rather than having the generic LEGO men bodies with no curves. To be honest, I'm surprised LEGO didn't try girl-oriented LEGO sets decades sooner.
Old_Zircon
They've been doing it for at least 20 years.

bac
did...did you watch the video?

LetsFistAgain
Blame Denmark!
bac
Shit meant to respond to this sooner. Anybody know when the next parts of tropes vs. women in video games is supposed to come out? it's been three fuckin months.
Toenails
Have you not watched part 2? It just recently came out.

Well I'm sure by now you've seen it.

The God of Biscuits
Holy fucking shit, what exactly is wrong with "regular" legos with interchangeable heads?
Old_Zircon
You can only sell just so many of them to one kid before they have enough to do pretty much anything the want, Lego-wise. If you keep inventing themes and specialty parts and stuff then you can just keep selling more (and charge more for stuff that has basically the same production cost).

Old_Zircon
Plus if you sell shitty legos to girls, the ones who wise up will have to go out and buy MORE legos just to get to a baseline level of good lego ownership.

That guy
I'm sure that Sarkeesian is such an expert on human nature that she knows exactly where human nature ends and human culture begins, based on what other feminists think and what her confirmation bias tells her, because the BEST way of understanding human nature and culture is to write critical theory about it, right asshole?

This is standard critical theory bullshit, building a metaphysical castle in the air that is cornerstoned on genuine unfairness and injustice. The drawbridge is made out of disdain for science.

There is some evidence that there are gender preferences for color and type in toys, and some evidence against. [I'm not going to tag the articles I just looked at to this comment, but there's a mix of results, with a leaning in findings toward infant and young boys preferring blue trucks and infant and young girls preferring pink dolls.]

Do the girl-legos take things too far by not creating a rounded picture of the world? Yep.

Does Sarkeesian? Fuckin' yep.
Caminante Nocturno
I'm enjoying the way 2nd-wave feminism is dealing with its oncoming obsolescence.

dairyqueenlatifah
The modern face of feminism is fucking retarded, literally, beyond reason, and they're systematically undoing the work of past feminists, and they're too stupid to know it.

There's absolutely nothing to discuss with a modern feminist because as long as you're scrutinizing or dissenting, you're automatically a strawman for the patriarchy.

Seriously. Fuck this bitch and all her supporters.

Feel free to call be a chauvinistic misogynist pig. Just make sure you do it from the kitchen, bitch.

StanleyPain
Well at least all of you have nuanced, detailed, well-reasoned positions.

Spaceman Africa
haha oh wow

zerdzer
well yeah, i type here a lot all about anita's crap and how it's garbage, especially her crap about video games. you'd have to be skipping through my comments if you think my opinion on this isn't well substantiated.

just take a step back from this and think:

what if girls just played legos anyways? why can't they? who's stopping them? they can't play with legos just because they're marketed to boys more? are we gonna start complaining about how barbies aren't suitable toys for guys, too? how much does this shit actually matter? why are people arguing about which sex has it better all the fucking time? doesn't this seem to ANYBODY like petty sexism?

why aren't we talking about the terrible state of human rights in the middle east or india? there's a couple of places where women actually have it bad.

i do not see how anita is solving ANY problems with this ridiculous crap she talks about. has anybody else noticed that her videos have just caused a ton of drama, and nobody has actually come away from them with any helpful insight? if you dislike any of anita's videos, you instantly get branded "misogynist" and everything you say is sexist and you're part of the patriarchy. anita avoids real criticism at all costs and she emphasizes people who say vulgar sexist things to her to just make herself look better as a victim. just take a look at all of the disabled comments on her videos. that should be a dead giveaway.

there's your detailed opinion, bub. now how about a detailed response, without any of the ad hominem bullshit that i always get?

bac
Zerdzer: what if girls just played legos anyways? why can't they? who's stopping them? they can't play with legos just because they're marketed to boys more?

Well of course they can play with them anyway. but that's not the problem the problem is that standard legos are marketed aggresively to boys. and when they are marketed to girls its through these bullshit subsets that aren't nearly as in depth as the 'regular' legos. and that reinforce gender stereotypes (a fucking hair salon? are you serious?) lets go back to that. LEGO specifically makes a subset of toys specifically reinforcing stupid bullshit gender stereotypes that do not benefit anybody. and thats the problem. Lego made this a problem by splitting up their toy lines based on gender.

Z: are we gonna start complaining about how barbies aren't suitable toys for guys, too?

Barbies are a whole class of busllshit unto themselves. But I don't think it pertains to this case seeing as how barbie was and always has been marketed to girls. if they started out being gender neutral and then became specifically marketed to girls at the exclusion of boys then that would be a different case. As to Barbie having always been marketed to girls and not to girls is an argument in of itself though and one that I don't particularly care to go into.

Z: why are people arguing about which sex has it better all the fucking time? doesn't this seem to ANYBODY like petty sexism?

Tell you what. when women have a remotely equal representation in government and have unconditional say over medical decisions for themselves. I will agree with you that making an argument of gender stereotypes in toys and media is silly. but women don't have equal representation in government or in most other areas of society. And the reason sarkeesian and others point out things like inequality and objectification in culture is that very likely one of the reasons women don't have equal representation is because things are marketed to them to encourage them to be princesses and hair stylists not you know actual people with positions of power and decision making capabilities.

Z: i do not see how anita is solving ANY problems with this ridiculous crap she talks about. has anybody else noticed that her videos have just caused a ton of drama, and nobody has actually come away from them with any helpful insight?

The drama caused by her videos is horseshit. I cant not agree with that more. but she didn't start the drama. Hateful little internet shitheads did. Yes. she then proceeded to point out the horrible bullshit of it all. but what she pointed out is a valid point. The vast majority of the criticism pointed out has been against her and "the drama" she's caused (Which she hasn't caused at all) not with the content of her videos and yes she then proceeded to give TED talks and whatever else. But that somebody makes an argument and then receives rape and death threats, is a problem. and one that should be addressed. I personally feel I have come away with a fair amount of insight in regards to her videos I don't agree with them all but they do make valid points about gender representation in pop-culture. (I'm quite happy with you response by the way. because it was actually criticism of her video).

Z: if you dislike any of anita's videos, you instantly get branded "misogynist" and everything you say is sexist and you're part of the patriarchy.

I sincerely hope I'm not coming off like this. There are quite a few things in her videos that I don't agree with./ but again I think she makes really valid points, and I think for us to progress as a society these things should be addressed. And it's not just her making these points these are issues that have been
brought up and commented on before. I think what makes her different is that her commentary is based solely on pop-culture. Which is something that hasn't been looked at so much in depth before.

Z: anita avoids real criticism at all costs and she emphasizes people who say vulgar sexist things to her to just make herself look better as a victim.

Because she has been a victim of abuse. granted it's internet bullying. But that's still something worth addressing. Do you think she started her tropes vs. women in video game kickstarter to become a victim? I think she legitimately wanted to point out something that is a problem. and when she tried to do that all this bullshit drama started. and YES she did point out the bullshit drama and damn straight she should have.

Z: just take a look at all of the disabled comments on her videos. that should be a dead giveaway.

And no we're totally back to talking about the presentation and not the content of her videos. Yes comments are disabled on her videos. but before her first kickstarter video for vs. women in video games. THEY were not disabled. They have been disabled because shitheads gotta be shitheads. and I think it's a damn shame but as somebody said in another video of hers on this site "I'm happy comments are disabled I didn't want to be that disappointed in humanity". I have seen her leaves some comments in her video's addressing criticism but not any any long sort of debate. So, I haven't noticed anything specific she's done to avoid criticism of her arguments. I'd like to see her make a video in response to tenderfoots critique of her.

Z: why aren't we talking about the terrible state of human rights in the middle east or india? there's a couple of places where women actually have it bad.

Yes. those are incredibly important topics to discuss. But just because those things exist doesn't mean that the state of women in American society isn't fucked up and shouldn't be addressed. I'm a firm believer that all drugs should be legalized and taxed. Is the drug war less important than third world starvation? yes it totally is. but that still doesn't mean that I can't comment or discuss the way on drugs being bullshit.

anyway. I am now going to be late to work. But I wanted to reply to your points. But come back at me you whiny misogynist dickweasel. (I don't mean that at all by the way. just doesn't feel like an internet debate without a little name calling)

Rosebeekee
While I'm not fond of the girl's lego for pretty much being "*~*LOL cafes, ponies, and swimsuits *~*" credit were credit's due, I've seen two sets that didn't suck. Magician http://tinyurl.com/kuqdcde (you know, instead of magician's assistant) and black belt in Karate http://tinyurl.com/motvvmy
Old_Zircon
I just don't see how building stuff with legos enter into the picture with those, though. There are like 10 actual lego parts and a bunch of single-purpose props. But I've made my lego-purist-nerd-bullshit opinions known plenty already.


This is what happens when I'm stuck in bed for three days with the worst head cold ever and no energy to do anything but watch standup comedy on Youtube all day. I literally felt like I was having all of my teeth drilled at the same time without anesthetic (and I know what it feels like to have teeth drilled without anesthetic, so that isn't just a casual statement) from Saturday evening until Monday afternoon. I guess that's what a sinus infection feels like? I've never had one before.

Bort
Yikes, glad you're doing better.

Tasso
Bitch all you want about the purple bricks, lady, any brick that's not a standard color is a license to print money.

And there were totally girl minifigs. I had a castle set with a princess minifig, she had a skirt piece instead of legs, the torso had a bodice stamp on it, and her head had lipstick. The skirt was a recolored architectural slope and made her a good 2 flat-bricks taller than every other minifig, which was compounded by her big crazy princess hat.
Jet Bin Fever
I remember when I was a little kid and really liked some of the earlier Mighty Max playsets. But, I got upset that Max didn't get a house to live in or a school or anything like Polly Pocket got. There was no way I would ask my mom for a Pollly Pocket house though, so Max was constantly locked away in the mummy's tomb or the mad scientist's dungeon, with no hope of ever escaping home for some R&R.
candyheadrobot
Okay. I watched both videos. She's still wrong. The creativity behind Lego isn't building a certain set, but turning the sets you have into something else entirely. Even letting that go, her argument still fails, as this is a consumer based problem.

The one thing she did right, is that ads have gotten to people. There are droves of individuals who subscribe to traditional gender roles, stereotypes, and other backward thought simply because they've seen nothing different, and reinforce one another in their behavior. Lego can't really be blamed for their strategy, because not unlike the Wal-Mart situation, if companies are to survive, they have to adapt to consumers wants and needs. These product designs and marketing have been successful in keeping Lego afloat, and while it's easy to villainize them for pushing this stuff, unlike most companies who only make one thing, they actually have progressive options readily available to people, like she references in the creator sets, and further emphasized in the builder academy and architecture lines.

Even in the themes, there are female specific/centralized products, and while there aren't as many, they are certainly set apart in desirable ways. I just bought this one myself (you people already know I'm a dork so I don't care about letting you know):

http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Samurai-Mech-9448

Racer X styled samurai girls who save the day sound a teenie bit progressive wouldn't you agree? Point is that Lego is doing what it has to in order to survive, and yet remain a positive influence in the marketplace due to the inherent nature of their product, which is building. While they admittedly could do more to feature more females, their product is vastly more acceptable for girls to play with than anything Barbie centric.
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