I was 7 in 1981…

This is a LEGO ad from 1981. I was 7 in 1981…

How I found this: On twitter via @worstprofever’s RT of @urchinette’s original tweet. I tracked it down to Peggy Orenstein’s post from May 14th, 2011. Before moving into a discussion of this advertisement, I’m curious about how and why certain images and entries pop up again, months after they have first been posted. How many people will be like me and post or tweet about this image again? (When) is it important to track down the original source (is Orenstein the original source?) of a post? How reflective do we need to be about the links/sources we find? How important is it to make visible the tracing of those sources? These questions aren’t really about this image, but are prompted by other recent experiences of sharing  old sources that had gone viral again–like the video of an Iowa college student whose impassioned speech about his two moms that went viral a few years ago started making the rounds again last month….Okay, I just did a quick search and found that this ad was discussed on Feministing (found it via MAKE) way back in January, 2010. Feministing found it on the FLICKR account of Moose Greebles. There was another great Lego photo there too, from a 1980 magazine ad. (I also found a post for the ad on Sociological Images). Hmmm…through even more searching, I found a recent article at Huffington Post about a new line of Legos for girls, called “Lego Friends” for 2012. This new event must be why the image is resurfacing. 

Would this be a useful exercise for students/users who are developing digital literacy skills?  It seems potentially time consuming, but it might be a good exercise to try a couple of times…

Anyway, I love this advertisement for Lego from 1981. I was 7 in 1981, so I probably saw this picture (in their description for FLICKR of this photo, Moose Grabbles writes that they found the ad in a Decorating and Craft idea magazine; my mom had tons of these and I loved looking at the pictures). My mom probably also saw this picture. If she were alive, I would have enjoyed asking her about it. And my first grade teacher, Mrs. White, would most likely have seen this picture. Since I don’t have too many strong memories from when I was a kid, I can only imagine that this picture helped to shape an environment (a pre-Disney Princessified environment–Orenstein claims the Princess Phenomenon started around 1985), that encouraged me–at least a little–to think and live beyond the rigid and confining gender box of a girl who is only supposed to like pink (not that there’s anything wrong with pink…not all girly-girls are simply and unwittingly reinforcing rigid gender rules/roles) and princesses. Of course, I don’t want to romanticize the (early) 80s. After all, it was also the decade that brought us, “Get in Shape Girl!” I know I didn’t own any of this stuff, but I do remember watching the commercial (I couldn’t find the exact date for when this ad was aired):

One last thing, here’s another Lego ad that Moose Greebles posted on FLICKR:

Why hasn’t this image made the rounds too? I also like to see positive and (somewhat) gender-neutral images of siblings. Speaking of brothers and sisters, here are a few more images and ideas that are related:

1. A comment by Sally from an article on the new Legos for girls:

I played with Legos as a kid (and Barbies, and Hot Wheels). I sometimes wonder if girls actually prefer pink/sparkly things because it keeps their stupid brothers from, I dunno, stealing their toys and hoarding all the Lego.

2. “Sisters and Brothers” from Free to be…you and me: