Sunday, October 20, 2013

{rant} :: Lego, you got it all wrong.






Lego, you got it all wrong.


I was up in arms, like the good feminist mom I am, when you released your Friends sets to girls.

They are too cute, way too easy to build, overly promote vapid, self-limiting girly activities like shopping, eating sweets, going to the hair salon and being a rock singer. Where is the challenge? The adventure? Where are the colors that inch away from the pink/purple/magenta end of the spectrum?

But my daughter, who plays Legos with her brothers, thought they were cool, so she got them and they were incorporated into the kids' play.

INCORPORATED is the key word.

At home they are incorporated, sort of like the real world. In the store they are 3 rows apart. Worlds apart really.

But here is the rub, that I did not even think about, boys are missing out too. My boys who have nearly every Lego set they have ever asked for are getting bored. They are tired of battling Star Wars or Hero Factory or Ninjago.

Sometimes they just want to just play life.

They want to build real communities. But to do that fully they have to head to the aisle that works so hard to exclude them with its doe eyed, dripping pink, victim/vixon plastic menagerie.

You might suggest the primary-colored City theme comes close - but it is a little public works oriented. I mean, not everyone wants to be a garbage truck driver or police man. In the real world, men can do helpful, even heroic things, and go to the cupcake shop. They get their hair styled and teach at a school.

This is not about gender bending (or Brony culture), this is about fully participating in life. Becoming a whole, multidimensional person and knowing how to feel comfortable in all aspects of human life.

Am I naive to think that if boys were allowed to fully engage in society the need for overly violent games would diminish. I don't think so. I am with kids 24 hours a day. I watch them. I have seen boys in school and in public being continuously fed a limiting role to play in our culture. They are shot down  (sometimes subtly, sometimes barbarically) if they begin to stray off the acceptable path of masculinity.

When you falsely separate the Lego worlds, you force kids to make a choice. A hard choice that has girls and boys, having to physically walk to another section of the store where they are sent signals that they are a foreigner and not supposed to be there. That takes a pretty empowered kid to cross that line. The interior dialogue might be: "Today, I am liking this better, but I might be weird, am I strong enough to make my own choice or should I just go back to my aisle where it is easier. I don't really belong here, do I? This is not meant for me."

Many adults I know struggle and have a hard time straying from the norm. How and why do expect kids to be able to do it?

And to be clear, these boys of mine love to battle and make things from duct tape. They fart and pick their noses and like to be gross. They are very stereotypical boys in many ways.  They are not the shy, delicate boys who just want to play with dolls (although, of course, I would have no problem with that either).

But times have changed, Lego. These boys play hard and then come in and help their Dad make dinner. They sew with their mom and watch her handle difficult people with ease and verbal skills. They help their dad with demolition projects and throw stuffed animal parties.

It is all there. Their world is so much richer than what you are offering them. Kids play is not just about creating fantasy worlds, but also as a place to work through the emotional detritus of their own lives. To practice playing parts and solving problems. So, what happens when we give them toys that splinter their world into disparate parts that have no chance of connecting with each other? Why such a complete and devastating fracture?

You have an opportunity to help boys + girls across the globe develop as whole beings.

And while you are certainly not the biggest piece of the problem, you are in a unique position to promote values of equality, exploration and wholeness.

What would happen if you stopped offering Legos in specifically boy and girl themes?

What if the packaging was not a gender indicator of the consumer?

What if you suggested that stores sell ALL the Legos on the same aisle?

What if you did not play to the lowest common denominator of mass consumer?

What if you became a leader and helped charter a world where boys and girls lives are integrated under the category of "kids"?

This extreme separation of toys, not only along gender line but also age lines too, is a direct result of unconscionable greed.

Sadly, I am sure you will stick to profit building as the guiding principle of your company. And reluctantly we will still support you by buying Legos as long as my kids want to build with them. But, be assured that my kids (and many others) subvert and use Legos in ways you will never see in your "test" groups. You are missing something so much bigger. Your simple, underestimation of children's culture will drive you into obsoletion much sooner as kids realize your limiting view of contemporary life. Of their lives.




Thursday, October 10, 2013

Holiday Lab!!! {1 x this season}



This is happening.

In just a few weeks.

And it is buy one, bring one - which means you can do it with a friend!

If you want to set intentions, gather inspiration, and create a community around your holiday values, join us!

This is a packed 10 day lab with a Mama Scout spin on things. I guarantee you will love it.

Read more here.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Souling the Self Surreal :: Alexis Yael


One of the things I want to do more of in this space to share the work and projects of other entrepreneurial women. I do this on FB, but I never seem to make the leap over here. 

Well, today that is changing. 

An important aspect of Dream Lab is to support and share other's dreams and passions. There is enough room for everyone at the table of beautiful, creative, provocative living. 

So, today I want to share the work of Alexis Yael. I first learned of her work through my Instagram stream. She posts the most interesting, eerie, searing, beautiful multi-exposure self-portraits. 

It is her practice.

We will be giving away a spot in her upcoming e-course in Dream Lab or you can read below to learn more about it and sign up. 

I will be there, learning from her and expanding my vision of myself and connecting with her community. 


souling the self surreal: playing with multiple exposure and (self)portraits
October 14 - 25. Two working weeks. Monday - Friday.

Ten prompts from me. A private classroom in Facebook where we can play with ideas and implementation (you're not under obligation to join this group or to post). Videos, words, photos. Lots and lots of inspiration.

This class is for you if: 

* You sort of understand how to take double and multiple exposures but you haven't played around with it much because you don't know where to start.

* You are a pro at double and multiple exposure already, but want a fresh perspective and fun prompts.

* You have no idea how to take double or multiple exposures but you can download (mostly free) apps to your phone or computing device and aren't scared of figuring out new technology (I can hold your hand to some extent).

* You're intrigued by surrealism.

* You already have a self-portrait practice.

* You haven't taken any self-portraits lately but you're willing to try.

* You have the money to take the class OR are willing to make a trade or pay a kindness forward.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

{{Wellness Challenge}} :: write everyday



A new month, a new challenge!

This month, I am challenging you to grab a notebook and write everyday. In the past decade, I have come to value journalling above all other forms of self exploration and discovery. Regular writing can heal, transform and inspire you. It is simple, cheap and profound.

This is not about being a great writer or trying to publish your work - although this practice can help you along that path too. This is just about getting out your ideas, angsts and the bits and bobs of your day.

How it works:

Get a journal and something to write with. The cheaper the better. See the middle composition book in the photo above? I buy those by the case for about 50 cents each. We want to be messy and need something non precious to write in. You might even decide to burn it when we are done! (I took a class with daily writing work and at the end we had to destroy everything!)

You need to join the Facebook group here. Everyday for the month of October, there will be a writing prompt. I will also pass along journalling inspiration to keep you on the path. And we can discuss and share all we want too!

That is it!

xxoo,
Amy

Mama Scout Wellness Challenges are free programs that are run monthly on FB. When we work together and have fun - significant changes can happen.

There are a few days left to join the Dream Lab. Read about it here

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