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lgbtq TERFs transmisogyny transphobia woke

“Gender critical” transphobes attack LEGO for a new playset that acknowledges the existence of trans people

Lego just announced that they will be releasing a new LGBTQ playset just in time for Pride Month, with gender-indeterminate characters in all the colors of the rainbow flag, including the pink, white and pale blue stripes representing trans people.

I’m not going to lie; it’s a little weird and minimal, and the lack of faces on each of the little lego people is a tad surreal. But it’s certainly a well-intentioned product designed to push the message that “Everyone is Awesome,” regardless of skin color or gender or sexual orientation.

So naturally I expected to run across some detractors on the right yelling about “woke” capitalism and the supposed degeneracy of the the LEGO corporation. And there were in fact plenty of people who reacted in this oh-so-original way.

And there were some who thought the whole thing was rather crass, a simple money-grab on Lego’s part.

But what I wasn’t expecting, but probably should have been, was the response from the so-called “gender critical” trasnphobes who consider themselves radical feminists.

I’m not really seeing any pedophilia in the “Everyone is Awesome” playset. But thanks for resurrecting and updating the old homophobic lie that gay people are pedophiles.

While LEGO does gender some of its playsets in regressive ways, this is not one of them. The pink and blue characters in the “Everybody is Awesome” playset aren’t attached to particular genders; that’s kind of the whole point.

Then there were those who accused Lego of “grooming” kids — much in the way that homophobes used to accuse gay people of doing.

It’s easy to be cynical about “woke” capitalists embracing the LGBTQ community, to see it as an attempt to cash in on a market that hasn’t always been served very well. And clearly Lego, like every other company hoisting the pride flag for Pride Month in June, is hoping to make more money from LGBTQ customers — at least enough to offset the business they lose when homophobic and transphobic shoppers vow to never buy anything from Lego again.

But, as the reactions to Lego’s rainbow playset remind us, symbolism matters. And so I’m glad Lego is releasing this playset, and glad that it’s offending the right people.

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Karalora
Karalora
4 months ago

As “woke capitalism” goes, this example is more sincere than most–the set designer, Matthew Ashton (VP of Design at LEGO), developed it as an expression of his own identity and a tribute to the LGBTQ+ community.

Most LEGO fans are pleased as punch to be getting a set of monochrome minfigs (which is sort of a thing for some reason), regardless of the sociopolitical statement being made.

Some people just need to unbunch their panties.

Viscaria
Viscaria
4 months ago

I feel sorry for any children who love Lego who won’t be allowed to play with it anymore because the adults in their lives decided their queerphobia was the more important consideration. Especially sorry for any of those kids who have realized or will realize that they themselves are LGBTQ.

Kind of wondering about “My grandkids will never own another Lego set!!” grandfather, though. Like, if the kids are primarily cared for by their parents, I’m not sure you have the authority to make that call, dude. Even if he is a primary guardian for the kids, what if they grow up and buy themselves some Lego? Whatcha gonna do then, Grandpa? Steal it in the dark of night?

Nequam
Nequam
4 months ago

Irrelevantly: up until the trans stripes that thing’s basically the resistor code.

Battering Lamb
Battering Lamb
4 months ago

“Waah! Waah! We’re being excluded because we want to exclude others! Waah!”

It doesn’t look like the kind of LEGOs I would have enjoyed as a kid, but that is more because of the lack of moving parts and dinosaurs (and faces for that matter).

Last edited 4 months ago by Battering Lamb
Chris Oakley
Chris Oakley
4 months ago

Can we get a fumigator in here? Those transphobic tweets absolutely reek with the stench of paranoia.

Errapel
Errapel
4 months ago

Anyone else amused by the ‘AN oBJECT CANT HAVE A GENDER ‘ thing? Because I’d bet they also objected to the ‘Potato Head toy has no gender’ thing too…

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
4 months ago

Not to be grim or OT but has anyone heard from Naglfar since someone else asked a couple weeks back? Just dropped off the face of the Mammoth, and I was reminded by this post Naglfar is trans and bad shit sometimes happens to trans people, anyone know if she’s ok?

MV96
MV96
4 months ago

@Big Titty Demon

Somebody said she’s OK but busy. 🙂

Malitia
Malitia
4 months ago

“first marvel characters turning gay all of a sudden”

I… read a metric shitton of Marvel comics and when did that happen?

I mean the closest thing I remember is revealing Iceman to be gay almost half a decade ago. And yes it wasn’t handled that well, but it was just making decades old fanon canon.

Amtep
Amtep
4 months ago

@Malitia

That tweeter is quoting Babylon Bee in an apparently serious fashion, so I doubt they’re very informed about reality. Or about superhero fiction.

But perhaps they finally caught on to what was going on with that Greek island full of only women that Wonder Woman came from?

Malitia
Malitia
4 months ago

@Amtep

But Wonder Woman is a DC character, he’s especially complaining about Marvel ones. But than again I’m not sure they can tell the difference between publishers.

Or between headlines like “Marvel will introduce a new LGBTQ+ Captain America”* and idiots yelling “OMG THEY’RE TURNING STEVE ROGERS GAY!!!!!!“.

*That story is only 1 or 2 months old, I wanted to use a recent example.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
4 months ago

I have to admit, I’ve been annoyed at LEGO for ages ever since they started dividing their toys into “boy” and “girl” sets*. Especially since the “for girls” ones all have wasp-waisted characters with long flowing locks; it seems very stereotypical to me. This rainbow set looks better, though I’m a bit creeped out by the faceless minifigures!

* In case it’s not clear, that’s how the LEGO company itself presents it; that’s not me deciding that afab people must only get the pink ones, and amab people must only get the blue ones.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
4 months ago

Another round of “won’t somebody THINK of the CHILDREN????” I’d say LEGO is definitely thinking of the children. My cynical half says that children are where LEGO finds its profits. My nicer half says that children want toys that are fun to play with, and part of the fun of play is getting to express yourself in ways that make sense to you.

Alan Robertshaw
4 months ago

Lego is the world’s largest manufacturer of tyres.

https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/100909-largest-tyre-manufacture-per-annum

I know that’s not exactly pertinent, but I just like facts like that.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 months ago

That set is mightily cute in my opinion and cool to have.

Similar to that glittery cereal of some days ago, it won’t actively make the life of LGBT better but might help some realize they are allowed to show it.

@Bookworm in hijab : it’s not really how they market it tho. They never outright say it, with the visibly for girl showing only female user, and the other showing mostly boys and some girls. Still annoying, yes.

(technically, it “only” happen for the lego for children. The one visibly made for adult/older children don’t usually have visible user at all ; and I suspect that it’s the biggest part of what Lego sell nowaday)

I do remember I mellowed a bit about it when actually looking at the range and seeing that in addition to hair dressers and nursery there also were a robotic lab and some computer-using set. Overall, there’s a ton of sets I like in that range, even if the marketing is annoyinbg.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
4 months ago

It just occurred to me that this adds a new level of hilarity to telling MRAs etc to “go step on a LEGO”.

“Go step on a LGBTQ+ rainbow LEGO that will not only hurt your foot as it would anyone, but will also make you shriek specifically because you’re a bigot!”

.45
.45
4 months ago

I wanna buy a bunch of Legos now to own the… ‘servatives?

What’s the Liberal version of “Own the Libs”? Operation Pearl Clutch cannot commence until we have our verbiage down.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
4 months ago

*takes out Werther’s Originals from my old lady shawl*

In my day the Lego weren’t gendered at all, they were just primary color blocks and I made my own little genderless people out of rectangles or just mixed in my Fisher Price people with the houses and furniture I made out of Lego.

Kind of sad to see a former WHTM commenter (The Bewilderness) included in the TERF line up. I was holding out faint hope that some of our banned for terfiness commenters would’ve seen the light as the “gender critical” movement has become explicitly and openly aligned with fascism. But I guess not.

Karalora
Karalora
4 months ago

To those who are side-eyeing the faceless minifigs…try not to read anything into it. Monochrome minifigs with no printing are sort of a niche fad with collectors, but one with enough traction that I expect this set to be very popular for that reason alone.

And just in case anyone here is concerned by the pink = girl, blue = boy color-coding, that symbolism comes from the Trans Pride flag, where pink and blue represent femininity and masculinity, respectively. The color palette of Everyone is Awesome is based on the Progress Flag, which combines the six-stripe rainbow with a chevron in the hoist (indicating a forward-moving arrow) colored pink, pastel blue, white, brown, and black for trans and POC inclusivity.

moregeekthan
moregeekthan
4 months ago

Would be interesting to see how many of these folks claiming to never buy another Lego for their kids/grandkids relent faster than Trump ordering a Diet Coke once the kids start asking for more Legos.

Alan Robertshaw
4 months ago

@ nequam

until the trans stripes that thing’s basically the resistor code.

Ohm my god, you’re right.

I suppose that’s a happy coincidence that the flag has the association with ‘resistance’.

I just hope they don’t meet any impedance.

(OK, that’s enough now)

Wim Lauryssen
Wim Lauryssen
4 months ago

I’d love to be a fly on the wall when they have to explain to their crying kids why they can’t have more Legos or when they’re trashing the ones they have.

Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
4 months ago

Neat set. Like it. Grandkids prefer messing around with our old Meccano stuff to Lego though. What can I say – thanks to a failure in grandparenting, they’re all bloody engineers in training. 🙁

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
4 months ago

@nequam, Alan:
Well, they’re conducting themselves pretty well so far.
(I studied electrical engineering and have been through extended pun contests before. Don’t get me started. Please.)

I have some friends who are even more serious LEGO fans than I am, and some of them weren’t entirely happy about the ‘Friends’ line because of the somewhat blatantly female marketing, but they liked the Friends line because it added a few new block colours. Though my understanding is that the whole marketing point of the ‘Friends’ line was less a matter of corporate policy at LEGO itself and more a matter of trying to get any LEGO into the girl’s side of extremely gender-segregated American toy stores so that girls would still be able to get LEGO; in other words, they were trying to work around institutional sexism rather than promote it.

Also, the ‘OpheliaRising’ Twitter image reminded me of an ex-FreethoughtBlogs blogger who since went full TERF, but that isn’t her account. I do wonder if it’s a fan or the handle comes from some other source.

Last edited 4 months ago by Jenora Feuer
Waywatcher of the green
Waywatcher of the green
4 months ago

If I never again have to read a tweet from a right wing turd blossom with the word “woke” in it, I can die happy.
Problems with corporations monetizing queer culture aside, I think this set it rather a nice idea. I won’t be buying one however, as lego commands a financial outlay that makes even warhammer look reasonably priced.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
4 months ago

Karalora,

To those who are side-eyeing the faceless minifigs…try not to read anything into it.

Oh, of course; I never thought it was anything sinister, just visually odd.

But then again, my kid likes to pop off the heads of his legos and rearrange them, so…make of that what you will. 😆

Allandrel
Allandrel
4 months ago

My biggest problem with the girl-marketed Lego sets (which also include some wonderful fantasy lines like Dragons and Elves, as well as the Disney Princess license*) is the minidolls.

On their own, they’re great. They have even more customizability than the minifig.

But the fact that they are incompatible with the minifig doesn;t just segregate the “girl lines” from the minifig lines, it segregates the girls.

By saying “these few specific lines are for you, girls” and making them incompatible with 95% of the other Lego sets, they are saying “these sets are not for you, girls.”

*Where is my Gaston figure, Lego? I need one!

Last edited 4 months ago by Allandrel
Lumipuna
Lumipuna
4 months ago

As far as LGBTQ+ support goes, this product seems only slightly more explicit than a pack of crayons.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
4 months ago

Allandrel, thanks, you put that into more sensible words than I did! You can’t mix and match between the figurines from the various sets (to create, for example, something like my son’s gorgeous mix of Lego Wonder Woman torso and hairstyle with the head of a stubble-faced smirking crook from a Lego Police set). It ends up segregating the toy sets from each other. Though I do like the options for diffetent-coloured blocks*.

Honestly, though, we all know that those who are protesting *this* set aren’t doing so on feminist grounds.

Hmm, maybe this could be an Eid gift for my kids. Will have to acquire one if possible.

*when I typed “blocks” it originally typo’d itself as “bollocks”, btw.

Crip Dyke
4 months ago

@Jenora

 the ‘OpheliaRising’ Twitter image reminded me of an ex-FreethoughtBlogs blogger who since went full TERF, but that isn’t her account. I do wonder if it’s a fan or the handle comes from some other source.

So obviously I have no connection to that twitter account & could be wrong, but IMO it’s an obvious reference to Reviving Ophelia.

It’s a book that many thought important and useful, but got a good share of critique as well. I read only a small bit of it (it was borrowed, I never got into it, I gave it back mostly unread). It was directed mostly at parents, which I wasn’t at the time.

I don’t want to tar the book for sins it does not commit, but from what little I remember of the book and discussions of the book back then, I would find it completely unsurprising if it was anti trans and/or leant itself to that interpretation. There was a lot in there about things that make girls feel bad about their bodies, and the TERFs are committed to the idea (though it has no scientific support) that trans advocacy teaches girls to hate their own bodies. Since Reviving Ophelia was addressing social forces that teach girls to hate their own bodies, the connection might seem quite clear to a TERF whether or not the author is TERFy or otherwise anti trans.

Crip Dyke
4 months ago

Separately:

An object can’t have gender, you dumb shits!

Well, yes. But that makes it all the more stupid for you to be complaining that someone made pastel widgets that look vaguely humanoid. If you believed your own ideology, then a purple plastic vaguely humanoid widget should be no more or less objectionable than a Black one or a taupe one or a paper white one or a pastel one.

To be upset about this is to reveal the incoherence of your own position.

rabid rabbit
rabid rabbit
4 months ago

I’m not going to lie; it’s a little weird and minimal, and the lack of faces on each of the little lego people is a tad surreal.

Oddly enough, the lack of faces makes perfect sense to me in context. You can imagine any face you want on those, which is… sort of the point? Anyone could be any of those colors.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 months ago

@Bookworm, Allandrel : you can mix and match hair and hand accessorie. You cannot mix and match legs between the two style of minifigs sadly 🙁 And yes, the elve line was super duper ultra cool.

@rabid Rabbit : agreed.

Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
4 months ago

@book worm in a hijab

my niece has this doll you can dismember, her hands, feet, arms, legs, and head comes off and then you can snap them back on. It is the oddest thing but she loves the damn thing. she also has these two dolls that are like…. fish people. like teenage angsty versions of the fish guy from the shape of water. Toys have just got a lot weirder then when I was a kid I guess.

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
4 months ago

@ Bookworm in hijab

But then again, my kid likes to pop off the heads of his legos and rearrange them, so…make of that what you will.

Am I missing some context here? Isn’t rearranging them the point?

… though I do seem to remember making totem poles out of the minifig heads, popping everything off the Belville figures and actually having to work slightly hard to pull the arms of a Technics figure, so maybe I should worry about my past self now.

Also, I remember some knock-off Barbie dolls had heads you could just take off and put back on without damaging anything, and that was great. If an actual Barbie lost its head amidst a battle, the neck joint was ruined and the head had to be pushed back and it would sit too low and not turn properly.

Last edited 4 months ago by Masse_Mysteria
Viscaria
Viscaria
4 months ago

@WWTH

Kind of sad to see a former WHTM commenter (The Bewilderness) included in the TERF line up.

I noticed that too and had a sort of disappointed but not surprised kind of feeling.

Elaine The Witch
Elaine The Witch
4 months ago

@Masse_Mysteria

I had those dolls! they were fun, i also had a doll that when you pressed a button on her, her face changed through different expressions.

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
4 months ago

Am I missing some context here? Isn’t rearranging them the point?

Laughing wildly while popping them off and flicking them at his sister. And THEN rearranging them. That’s the context. Eight year olds…🤣

Bookworm in hijab
Bookworm in hijab
4 months ago

Kind of sad to see a former WHTM commenter (The Bewilderness) included in the TERF line up

I’d thought that name looked familiar too. When was she posting? I think it was before my time, but I like reading old threads so I thought I’d seen the name.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
4 months ago

@Crip Dyke:
Ahh, thanks! I figured it was more likely there was some other reference I was unaware of. I’m glad to know there was, even though it sounds like it’s also being co-opted for purposes not in its original remit like so many other anti-trans arguments that claim to start from feminist principles.

(You could write the following ‘feminism is not a monolith’ argument much better than I could anyway.)

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
4 months ago

The packaging is black and according to CNN, the set designer “said the set was also a celebration of the LGBTQ community within Lego and among the company’s adult fans.” So this is probably a collector set? It’s the Black Canary Barbie bullshit* all over again, only now with TERFiness on top. *sigh*
@.45 I’ve heard “own the cons” as a liberal equivalent of “own the libs”.
@Elaine The Witch The dolls you’re talking about sound a lot like Monster High. They are indeed weird, but also very cool.
*Quick primer for anyone who never heard about this: when I was about 13, Mattel made a collector Barbie of DC superhero Black Canary. She was wearing the character’s most iconic costume: leather jacket, leotard, fishnet tights, and knee-high boots. Parents had conniptions about her encouraging young girls to sexualize themselves, despite the fact that her box was clearly marked with “for the adult collector”. My 13-year-old self (and, I gathered, most kids) didn’t even bat an eye-from what little I heard of the general kid consensus, it was “Eh, a female superhero in a skimpy costume. Nothing new here.”

Ann M Hatzakis
Ann M Hatzakis
4 months ago

What about children who NEVER felt comfortable in the “skin” of the gender they were assigned at birth? Those children need to be respected as well

Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
Nikki the Bluth Wannabe
4 months ago

Also, I don’t think the size incompatibility between LEGO Friends and regular LEGO is nefarious antifeminism so much as trying to make sure every LEGO parent has to buy every set, or as many sets as possible. It’s just a marketing tactic.

francis
francis
4 months ago

Aren’t classic mini figures genderless anyway? ans you can already mix “boy” bits and “girl” bits and even unicorn or draggon bits to create whatever gender identity you want. but the new set is cool and im glad its pissing of the terfs

Alan Robertshaw
4 months ago

Speaking of dolls (sort of, I’ll get there eventually)…

This is Scooby. He’s a raccoon. Unfortunately he has something called cerebellar hypoplasia. He’s in good hands though and I follow his progress as he adapts to his condition.

Anyway, he now has a back brace. It seems to be helping him. But, to get to dolls as promised.

You may be wondering where you get a back brace for a raccoon. Well, the guy who sent it to him makes back braces and similar aids for dolls. They’re for kids who have to wear such things. So they can have their dolls and teddy bears etc wear them too. As well as having a doll or bear they can identify with, the aids are fully functional, so they can better understand how they work.

There’s a lot of crap in the world, but thing like this reassure me that, generally, people are intrinsically nice.

Lakitha K Tolbert
Lakitha K Tolbert
4 months ago

I, personally, am very glad that bigots, transphobes, and racists, lack the imagination to come up with brand new reasons to hate other human beings, and insist on using the same sorry excuses, interchangeably, for every group, that have never worked to prevent social progress.

I mean, imagine how much worse things would be, if they were able to imagine brand new reasons every single time. All of the excuses have all been done, over, and over, again, dropped on top of whatever group such people decided needed to be marginalized at the time.But fortunately, a complete lack of imagination is one of the side effects, or perhaps, the cause of that kind of ugliness.

Aaron
Aaron
4 months ago

I’d thought that name looked familiar too. When was she posting? I think it was before my time, but I like reading old threads so I thought I’d seen the name.

She was definitely a regular at one point, but I don’t think she’s been around for a while – like early-mid ’10s or so. Which makes some sense because trans issues hadn’t assumed the salience they now hold in feminist spaces.

Ohlmann
Ohlmann
4 months ago

@Nikki : [lego nerdism start] the two incompatibility is head and torso.

Torso is a real shame, albeit understandable if you want the mini doll to have a human general shape. That’s definitely the worse problem of them in my opinion.

The head is interesting, because it’s the size of a regular axe on mini dolls, instead of a very strange diameter used nowhere else. So you can much more easily put mini dolls heads on axis to do strange effect, like sci-fi dioramas with heads in machines.

Hair are compatible between both, as are hand-held objects.

Also, the marketing strategy to push people to buy everyone is compatible torso/heads between models, with people buying set for specific head / torso / legs to mix & matchs and have a more disparate set of individuals.

I personally think the marketing argument for mini dolls is that they can have many more kind of clothes (molded on legs/torso). Regular mini dolls cannot give a decent impression of skirt (who don’t go up to ankle) nor of different shape of leggings. Mini dolls allow them to sell more different clothing type.

Alan Robertshaw
4 months ago

There’s all sorts of weird legal reasons for Lego changing the design of the figures.

I won’t bore you with the details but it all relates to how Lego was seen as patentable, but not copyrightable.

But Lego have a big issue with knock-offs. So they keep tweaking the figures in the hope they count as creative works rather than designs. That gives them more protection. Also, even if they’re held to be designs nor creations; there’s still a 20 year protection. So they just need to change every two decades.

One problem for Lego is that you now can’t copyright or patent a connector. That was to stop car manufacturers rigging it so you could only buy their own brand oil filters and the like. And the argument was that Lego is really just a series of connectors. Whatever rights they had have now expired though, so feel free to make your own bricks; and generic figures. But not the figures with identifiable features!

Last edited 4 months ago by Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
4 months ago

More here on the Lego legal in case anyone is interested.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=eac7fe44-cdec-4fe2-b278-50ad34a7f6c6

This was an interesting case about the Star Wars helmets. If you click the ‘appendices’ link at the end there are some nice early production sketches. But that all hinged on what’s a creation and what’s a design.

https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Ch/2008/1878.html

Incidentally, this is why action figure makers do a lot of monsters/aliens/robots etc. It’s easier to classify them as creative works rather than with the human figures which are just seen as sculptures. And you have more protection for the former.