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One of the things that years of research with men and women, boys and girls, has taught me is that the genders are just (gasp!) different.

It always stuns me when people push back against this idea – as if acknowledging differences will somehow suck our society through the space-time-continuum, back to the bad old days when there were “Want Ads for Men” (engineers and doctors) and “Want Ads for Women” (grade school teachers and secretaries). (Yes, that did happen in the 1950s and 60s, believe it or not… but I think our culture has gone just a teeny bit beyond that at this point.)

For those of you who haven’t seen it, there was a recent uproar over the new Lego line for girls, called “Lego Friends,” which focuses on more realistic girl characters that girls can both build around and play with as they engage in the type of fluid storyline-based play that girls tend to do automatically. Only some people are screaming sexist as a result, since the new line features sets like cafes and beauty parlors rather than dungeons, skyscrapers, and spaceships.

As one outraged woman asked, “Is Lego telling my daughter that she has to run a beauty parlor rather than be an architect someday?”

Actually, no, they’re not. The problem is that this concern ignores the reality that Lego is simply giving many girls (not all, but many) what they actually want. And they want it because their girl brains are simply wired differently than boy brains in many, many different ways. Read on to learn more.

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