This blog is in response to a petition & spam campaign of a few feminists

Some radical feminist groups realized they can advance their own agenda by launching a "No pink aisle, bring back beautiful" social media campaign by claiming The LEGO Group offers no "gender equity" in the new theme "Friends" and its marketing. They created an online petition, then proceeded encouraging their followers to SPAM the LEGO Facebook page with one of TLG's own ads. Laced with false dramatic information, they convinced the petition site to include their "cause" in its membership mailing notice.
This blog sheds light on their omissions, skewed facts & images.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pink spam - read about the campaign tactics

A recent comment on TLG's facebook's page going along with the above image being spammed there:
"A huge part of deciding the things I buy, particularly toys for my kids, is the ethics of the company which make the product. I won't be buying any more Lego once you roll out the new Lego collection aimed at girls. I have no interest in encouraging my daughter to become "a budding Kardashian" (as the NYTimes describes your goal). I am deeply disappointed."

First of all, the piece is an Opinion Editorial (that's what an Op-Ed is) and the writer is a partner in the "No Pink" campaign -- she's on the advisory board of Hardy Girls, and a SPARKsummit partner. The "budding Kardashian" comment is not The New York Times' description.
Peggy wrote this article when all the skewed images & misinformation were first plastered all over various sites -- then re-tweeted and re-posted ad nauseam.

 The 1981 LEGO ad
    It started with the Bloomberg photo-shopped, skewed image of one of the new Friends "mini-dolls" (they are not called LadyFigs) which attempts to portray the size of the new mini-dolls as quite larger than the Classic MiniFigures, by magically giving her the ability to hold a yellow minifig head:
Bloomberg Businessweek image photo-shopped to skew proportions of new Friends mini-doll
Bloomberg's photo-shopped image skews size ratio.

    Stephanie Cole, also of SPARKsummit, who wrote the first piece for SPARK about TLG selling-out girls' intelligence, also wrote in her article how she doesn't even own LEGO bricks, "I was never a Legos kid, not because I wanted my figurines to have boobs, but because I didn’t like all the assembly required before I could start staging battles and cowboy adventures." -- Stephanie Cole ig-legos-bui...

    Then, fueled with anger by what Stephanie wrote, SPARKsummit's Baily Shoemaker Richards did not like the reply she "personally" received from TLG's twitter & facebook fan page, so she wrote, "They thanked me for sharing SPARK’s thoughts on the new line of toys and respectfully disagreed, stating that 4 years of research had told them the mini-skirt-wearing, hot-tub-bathing, beauty-shop-running Lego ladies are what girls want now."

    *That's not exactly what TLG replied, it was actually: "Your feedback is important to us and I will share your comments and concerns with the design and mrk team" -- per @LEGO_Group on twitter.

    The "so-called" hot-tub referred to by Bailey = a Splash Pool you know, like the kind loads of kids on AFV are filmed playing in every week. The beauty shop set is just one set out of many, see if you can find it:

    Still not satisfied with TLG's response, the "No Pink" campaign (blitz) was launched. It calls for a petition: compliments of sub-section Women's Rights, run by Shelby Knox; and encouraging a SPAM campaign on the Facebook wall the of the LEGO fan page with an image of TLG's own 1981 ad.

    Then, with a few more online women's rights groups joining the campaign -- with their many titled entities (to make the "no pink" appear way bigger): such as PBG (Powered by Girl) whose alias is the same Bailey, SPARKsummit is listed as an employer by Bailey too; New Moon Girls, aka, Nancy Gruver, aka, The broad side; Lyn Mikel Brown, aka, Colby college, aka, Hardy Girls; Shelby Knox, aka, Women's Rights; Peggy Orenstein, aka, Hardy Girls, aka, SPARKsummit; REEL girls, aka, Margot Wagoman; Pigtail Pals, aka, Melissa Atkins Wardy; and Dana Adell, aka, SPARKsummit.

   "No pink aisles, bring back beautiful" slogan is quite catchy -- except it rings hollow.  When Friends did reach major retailers in North America, the sets were on an end-cap of the "regular" LEGO / construction aisle -- as with any new theme's introduction.  At some retailers, there is a stand-alone display for Friends sets.  Also, the word beautiful used in the 1981 ad refers to the creation the girl made -- not the girl herself, as many spammers confusingly wrote.
Below are some of the online inciting articles, which were continually re-circulating amongst the various groups' sites, Facebook pages, blog, tweets, e-mail, etc:

    REEL girls, aka, Margot Magowan -for-girls-g... also encourages people to spam TLG fan page while giving TLG a triple "S" rating.

    Lyn Mikel Brown used the Huffington post platform to continue to drown out counter-information: for-girls_b_...

The "Riley pink & blue tirade" was added to the campaign for more visual punch: ABC News was duped

    The "backlash" Buzzfeed post by Donna, seems to be a lone wolf act of spreading misinformation by one of their "she-eple" since there wasn't an obvious alter entity indicated.  Their social connect tools make it super easy to spread just about anything. sh-has-begun

    Dana Edell, also of SPARKsummit, got an article published in the New York Daily tarts-petiti...
which is what first caught my attention, and how I was made aware of their facebook SPAM at Christmas time!  At first, when I wrote my comment on the NY Daily article, I was obviously confused. I even included a link to the very same 1981 LEGO ad they were using in their spam campaign
(because I had seen the scanned/uploaded image years ago on Flickr).  Then, after viewing it being spammed on the Facebook fan page of LEGO and causing skewed information to be spread online, this blog was created to document and attempt to grasp the groups' agenda.

    New Moon Girls questioned why real girls who use NXT can't develop a line for LEGO: 
 After getting some comments with correct information about some NXT activities these past four years, Nancy hid the post on their wall. Although, continuing encouragement for their campaign people to spam TLG's wall. Plus, New Moon, aka, Broad Side, aka, Nancy Gruver, created yet another petition.

    Soon, people online started drinking the "no pink" Kool-Aid and posting comments complaining the new Friends bricks were over-sized and would not fit with other LEGO sets. This is also false:  All Friends set bricks & elements are 100% compatible with any LEGO System set.

    After that, some mis-information was spread that Friends sets are "pre-fab" (pre-built) and require merely setting out a pie & gumball machine.
and claiming that this set will take a girl "only 4 minutes to build" when the set actually contains 222 bricks & elements:
    Then on Dec 30, Pigtails reveals she makes her very first ever LEGO purchase, as a "newly minted" LEGO Mom:
     How can she be knowledgeable on how long it takes to build a LEGO set, if she has never?

    One of the most beautiful aspects LEGO is its re-build-ability. Images on set boxes are merely ideas. Ideas which have painstakingly been converted into instructions included in the sets. Some kids like instructions, some don't. Current building trends are for kids to be encouraged to re-build with the bricks from the sets into a MOC [My Own Creation]. This fosters imagination and spatial skills. There is even a website dedicated to MOCs, called, hosted by certified professional builder, Sean Kenny.

    Many claims & comments in this campaign have tried to equate Friends as somehow denying girls access to education in STEM [Science Technology Engineering Math], even tweeting such fears to Pitsco (LEGO Education elements manufacturer). If anything, this open access to even more girls to STEM. Girls who may not currently manipulate bricks, yet, who might be interested in Friends, can also use their imaginations while building spatial skills. If you don't like Friends, no worries. Just continue to buy from the plethora of red & yellow LEGO sets/tubs which don't cause any perceived confusion on gender. Truly though, the activity of building with any color bricks is gender neutral.

    Now I have gone through several phases of trying to understand their campaign's agenda. At first I thought it was "more girls in ads," then, "no pink bricks," and then "don't market huge doll-like figures to girls which aren't compatible with other LEGO minifigs" [note: the hair pieces of mini-doll is completely interchangeable with all classic minifigs, also their hands can grip any element a yellow-headed minifig can].
   Today I am not really sure. It's a bit unrealistic if this social-media campaign thinks they'll get Friends "halted" at production, or distribution, like they did a t-shirt on JC Penney web site: 
    Many independent retailers of LEGO say their customers have been asking them for for a while exactly what Friend sets provide: a new option.

   The character of the females protesting LEGO Friends:  

Melissa Campbell is responsible for SPARK's twitter tweets: @SPARKsummit as well as tweets as @pluralisms -- her image pretty much says it all.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for setting the record straight.