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Online Petition Charges LEGO With Creating Sexist 'Friends' Line

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There was mounting pressure Friday after thousands of young women sent a message to the makers of LEGO. They say the new line of toys targeting girls 5 and up is sexist.

As CBS 2's Rachel Stockman reports, they are getting the company's attention.

The LEGO "Friends" line features girls who can be built, go to the cafe, get their hair done and even dress up in different outfits.

"These girls are very focused on their appearances as opposed to really building and being active with LEGO, which is really the value in that product," petitioner Bailey Shoemaker Richards said.

So appalled was Shoemaker Richards, she, along with three others, worked to get a petition signed. More than 55,000 girls signed on.

"The problem with it is that it was being presented, especially as it was being represented, is that it was only a line for girls," petitioner Stephanie Cole said.

The board of LEGO Group agreed to meet with the women

"I thought that they were fantastic. They were incredibly receptive," Cole  said.

Lego Friends
One of the figures in the Lego "Friends" line (Photo: Lego)

In a statement, the company said: "We value external perspectives -- critical or complimentary -- as inspiration for exploring development of the LEGO brand."

However, many are wondering why these women are stirring up trouble.

"I think feminists get a little carried away about that kind of stuff," Donna Zygmot said.

Stockman wanted to test the theory out. Would little boys go for something like the Friends line, and would girls go for something different?

So she asked small children outside the Lego store in Rockefeller Center if they would buy the Friends line. Several little girls said yes, while the boys said no, giving the usual reasons, but one little girl, 9-year-old Tori Lowthers, said she'd be more interested in LEGO Hero Factory, a line geared toward boys, "because girls also get to play with boys' stuff," she said.

And that's exactly the answer the women behind the campaign hope more girls will give.

The women said they are hoping to get 75,000 signatures, and that Lego will make good on their promise to work with them.

Do you think this crusade goes too far? Or are the women on to something? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below. ...


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