Toys Get Sex Change: LEGO Scores Big By Catering To Girls

Toys got a sex change, and, as a result, LEGO gets a lot richer.

The toy company put out a new series of building blocks designed for girls, and the success of the product helped the company’s sales increase 25 percent. The privately owned company said on Thursday that its annual revenue reached $4.2 billion, and much of that was due to a simple sex change for the toys.

The Demnark-based company recently began selling LEGO Friends, a new rollout for girls. The line included mini-figures in pink, a dream house with a pool, and a beauty shop, The Associated Press noted. The product was so successful that production units couldn’t keep up with demand.

The toys undergoing the sex change have drawn criticism from some US consumer groups that say they reinforce old gender stereotypes.

A pair of activists even started a petition to ask LEGO to stop selling the products.

“Narrow stereotypes associated with pink and blue simply box kids in from an early age,” wrote Stephanie Cole, one of the founders of the petition. “But, raising healthy girls and boys is all about creating a wide range of possibilities and options for our children. This is why LEGO’s latest marketing campaign has parents so angry.”

The anger over the product was similar to the reaction last summer when Bic announced a line of pens specifically for women. The idea that women need their own special pens was panned by comedians and critics, though Bic said it had no plans to scrap the pens.

LEGO noted that it wasn’t just the toys getting the sex change that did well. The products traditionally marketed to boys — the LEGO Star Wars and LEGO Ninjago — remained among the most popular items.