A Facebook friend posted a link to the story about Lego’s cat-calling sticker. For anyone who missed it: Josh Stearns, a dad of two little boys posted photos of some really stupid LEGO stickers on his Tumblr account. One of them depicted a LEGO construction worker waving and shouting “HEY BABE!” He couldn’t understand why LEGO would not only approve of but encourage the act of a man cat-calling a woman — even the plastic kinds. My Facebook friend thought Mr. Stearns was blowing everything out of proportion. His exact words for Stearns and everyone who thought the sticker was offensive: “oversensitive, ninny baby wussyhood.”
I respectfully disagree.
Kids model adult behavior by playing. LEGOs are a perennial favorite. When a little boy sees a construction worker saying, “Hey babe,” you can BET they are going to say it, too. They won’t understand why or what it means, but they will say it. Don’t believe it? Hand any kid a talking toy and see how quickly they start repeating whatever it says. Kids are the ultimate copycats. I know from first-hand experience. (Why did I ever get that singing Barbie doll???)
If we want to raise smart, respectful boys and girls who won’t stand still when they are disrespected we need to teach them right from wrong — right from the start. That means it’s not okay for Mr. LEGO construction worker to call out, “Hey, Babe,” t0 Miss Cute LEGO girl under any circumstances. Next thing you know he’ll move on to, “I would love a PIECE of that LEGO ass, babe!” And maybe he will even grab a curled handful of plastic. I joke, but I am serious. Again, kids model what they see and what they think is normal and acceptable, which is why my girls have American Girls who put out recycling buckets and act out what they see in the books that come with the dolls.
And to my Facebook friend who thinks we naysayers are ninnies? How old is your daughter again? About two, right? Come talk to me in 10 or 12 years — or even three or four — and tell me what you think then. I’m guessing you’re going to change your tune really quickly the very first time someone disrespects your beautiful baby.