Use of Sexist Language Affects Girls’ Creativity

81 percent of girls between the ages of 5-12 in Turkey say that the words they hear create anxiety in them about making mistakes and trying things, and force them to demonstrate perfection in whatever they do. The social experiment carried out by the company by bringing parents and daughters together under the name “Beyond Perfection” reveals how the creativity of girls who are worried about achieving perfection is restricted due to the language parents use. That’s exactly why The LEGO Group is calling on parents to remove the pressure for perfection on girls, starting with changing everyday language usage

The LEGO Group has announced the results of its new global survey to reveal societal trends affecting children’s creative confidence. According to research data, pressure for perfection and colloquialisms pose a risk to girls’ ability to fully reveal their creative potential. The LEGO brand, which focuses on the creativity of girls and runs campaigns to liberate them in every aspect of the game, this time focuses on the use of language and says that it can contribute to shaping a brighter future for girls with small changes in language use.

The LEGO Group Play Well Research (2023), conducted with more than 61,500 parents and children aged 5-12 from 36 countries, including Turkey, reveals that a call for social change is needed to realize girls’ passion for creativity and their unstoppable desire to play. . Researchers, who state that girls’ creative self-confidence can be suppressed even at a young age of 5, also agree with this call of the LEGO brand.

In Turkey, 75 percent of girls at the age of 5 are confident in their creativity, but this sense of confidence decreases as they get older. 70 percent of girls in Turkey are anxious about sharing their thoughts. In Turkey, as in all countries participating in the research, this anxiety stems from the pressure to be perfect and the fear of making mistakes, experienced by 79 percent of girls. 73 percent of parents in Turkey believe that such pressures increase the likelihood that girls will hesitate to express their own opinions.

According to the research results, 74 percent of girls in Turkey state that the messages of perfection given by society create pressure on them. Although this is a pressure experienced by all children, both parents and children agree that girls feel more pressure to be perfect and have more anxiety about making mistakes than boys.

The picture is not that bad because it is possible to change the future with small changes in language use. Research shows that colloquial language plays a role in preventing girls from freely expressing themselves creatively. 81 percent of girls between the ages of 5-12 in Turkey say that the words they hear create anxiety in them about making mistakes and trying things, and force them to demonstrate perfection in whatever they do.

The Play Well Study (2023) published by The LEGO Group also reveals a significant societal bias that disproportionately affects girls. For example, society attributes “sweet”, “cute” and “beautiful” to the creative things that girls do 7 times more than boys; Adjectives such as “brave”, “cool”, “genius” and “innovative” are used only for boys twice as much as for girls. According to the research results, 60 percent of children in Turkey believe that adults listen to the creative ideas of boys more than girls. 74% of parents in Turkey agree that society takes men’s creative ideas more seriously than women’s.

Girls in Turkey Want More Freedom to Make Mistakes

95 percent of the girls participating in the research in Turkey say that if mistakes are seen as learning opportunities, they will be less afraid of trying new things, 95 percent will feel more confident in showing what they have done, and they will give more importance to their development processes instead of being perfect. 98 percent of girls in Turkey say that their self-confidence will increase if adults focus more on the creative process rather than the end result. 92% of girls in Turkey state that if adults’ attitudes were in this direction, they would be less worried about making mistakes. More specifically, girls report that compliments made from a development-focused perspective, such as “creative,” “brave,” and “inspiring,” will motivate them more.

The LEGO Group, which has revealed the impact of parental behavior, especially the use of language, on girls through a comprehensive research, clearly shows the creativity abilities of girls and how their behavior differs depending on the language used, with its social experiment called “Beyond Perfection / The Language of Play”. On the one hand, the social experiment supports the research results, and on the other hand, it directly demonstrates the legitimacy of the brand’s call to parents in its use of language. The brand does not stop there. The awareness raised by research and social experiment also takes action to create a positive behavioral change in parents. In order to help equip their children with fun tips that will support their creative development, they collaborate with Jennifer Wallace, a writer-researcher who completed her education at Harvard and specializes in parenting, and shares a guide called “10 Steps to Increase Creative Self-Confidence” with parents.

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