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Building Awareness With LEGO and Netflix

When the boys opened the box they immediately grabbed the first LEGO set, the one tied to the new Netflix show LEGO Bionicle: The Journey to One, and proceeded to build it. It was a big robot with a spear, what’s not to love?

They ignored the other set, the one decorated in the bright purple of LEGO Friends: The Power of Friendship, another new Netflix show, this one based on the brick-maker’s line created for the girl demographic.

I must admit, it felt like a setup.

I am not one for marketing robots to boys and baking to girls, in fact, I find it rather offensive. I prefer the offering of all options to all children, and let them choose what it is they want to play with rather than what society dictates they should.

My boys opted for Bionicle. They built. They played. I waited.

This is an opportunity, I told myself. I can use this as a conversation starter about gender, the importance of being an ally—a feminist.

I almost felt sorry for the boys, knowing the weight of the knowledge that I would soon drop upon them. But it was important, and they needed to know that just because the world wants to insist that something is necessary or true doesn’t always make it so.

I was so ready.

“Where’s the other set?” they asked.

“Which one?” I replied. This was going to be good.

“The Friends,” they responded.

“Oh,” I said. “You mean the purple one with the cupcake thing?”

“Yes,” they answered. “It’s a birthday party.”

“With pink cupcakes.”


And then I braced myself for the “girl set” eye-rolls and the inevitable “we don’t want to play with it.”

“So,” they continued. “Do you have it?”

“I do. Why do you want it?”

“To build it,” they said. Frankly, they were a bit huffy about it.

Then they took the Friends set into the other room. They built. They played. I waited.

I’ve been waiting a really long time.

“Do you like that set?” I asked.

“It’s cool,” they said. “It has balloons. And a bunny.”

“Did you know there is a show about it?”

“Yes,” they said. “It’s on Netflix. We’ve seen it.”

And then they went back to their party of balloons, a bunny, and a robot with a spear.

I went into the kitchen. I felt like baking cupcakes.


This post was written as part of our relationship with the Netflix #StreamTeam. Netflix has a lot of great shows for the whole family available for streaming or rental, which is nice. All opinions are our own.

Whit Honea is the author of “The Parents’ Phrase Book” and co-founder of the philanthropic organization Dads 4 Change. He is the Social Media Director/Community Manager of the Dad 2.0 Summit. His writing can be found at Fandango, GeekDad, Disney, Today, Good Housekeeping, City Dads Group, Stand Magazine, The Washington Post and several other popular publications. He previously covered travel for Orbitz, CBS and AOL, and served as Editor of Family Travel for UpTake. Deemed “the activist dad” by UpWorthy and one of the “funniest dads on Twitter” by Mashable, Whit has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and is the 2015 winner of the Iris Award for Best Writing.

2 thoughts on “Building Awareness With LEGO and Netflix”

    1. I only have experience with our side of it, but I agree with your theory. We’ve got a lot of work to do!

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