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The phrase “go make me a sandwich” was first introduced in a Saturday Night Live skit[6] that aired on December 16th, 1995. John-John Mackey: When I see a storm front coming, I’m all, “What’s up, bitch?!” And the storm is all, “Not, much, Sir.” And I’m all, “That’s right, bitch!
Throughout the late 1990s and 2000s, the expression was used in a number of other TV shows and stand-up comedy specials, including an episode of X-Files (shown below, left) that aired in March 1999, an episode of That 70s Show in July 2000, as well as Dave Chappelle’s stand-up special For What It’s Worth (shown below, right) and an episode of Rescue Me, both of which aired in September 2004.
The phrase “make me a sandwich” was further popularized by an xkcd comic titled “Sandwich”[7] (shown below, left), posted on August 28th, 2006.[8] In the comic, one of the characters uses the phrase paired with the word “sudo,”[9] which is the Unix command that allows selected users to execute a command as an administrator.
In June 2012, New York Post’s senior reporter Stephanie Smith launched the food photography blog 300 Sandwiches[19] to document a variety of homemade sandwiches she makes for her boyfriend Eric Schulte. In September 2013, after creating 176 sandwiches, Smith wrote about her blog and the story behind it in a New York Post column article titled “‘I’m 124 sandwiches away from an engagement ring’,”[20] revealing that she decided to start the project after her boyfriend joked that he will propose to her one day if she makes him 300 sandwiches. This 1981 advertisement for Lego sets has been given a renewed life in the reaction to Lego’s Friends line, a line of Lego products that remain the only ones marketed expressly at girls, with minifigures that are incompatible with other Lego products.
You should go read their whole article, which relates Giordano’s account of creating the original ad as a child model, as well as a discussion of gendered toy marketing.
What Giordano missed in the intervening decades was a significant push on Lego’s part to corner the audience for boys toys. This is why, personally, I respect Nerf’s answer to the girl market for boy toys a lot more than the Lego Friends line.


On the other hand, the Lego friends line set in a different town than every other Lego set that depicts real world city life. In the skit, actor Tim Meadows appears as John-John Mackey, a weatherman who tries too hard to be hip by using confrontational language during the delivery of his forecasts. An explanation of the word was submitted to the writers’ community Everything2[3] in October 2000, which defined “sammich” as a food item made with care and lots of ingredients, making it better than a normal sandwich.
Shortly after it was featured on xkcd, the comic was subsequently linked to a thread in Ubuntu forums[12], a BoingBoing article[10] and actor Wil Wheaton’s blog[11] in September 2006. Giordano hasn’t paid much attention to Lego in years, so the Friends line came as a bit of a surprise. Nerf took some designs that would have fit in right alongside any other of their lines, colored them brightly in black and white and fuschias and sky blues, as if to say: we could have pretended that our toys lacked a gender affiliation by saying that camoflage and orange is just associated with hunting, but instead we made some brand new Nerf weapons just for girls. The minifigures have parts and hand sizes that prevent them from holding the same objects as regular Lego minifigures and swapping accessories like hair or headgear. The first Urban Dictionary[4] definition for “sammich” was submitted on January 3rd, 2003, also nothing that the word is reserved for sandwiches “with connotations of extra goodness.” The Oxford English Dictionary[5] officially recognized “sammich” as a word in May 2011.
The phrase became so pervasive in American colloquialism that a panel discussion on its hindrance of women’s participation in online spaces was held at the 2012 GeekGirlCon[18] in Seattle, Washington (shown below, right). Lego is entirely complicit in creating an environment where their toys are shelved in boy isles and not in girl isles in toy stores.


And that means that the line companies have to walk is harder, though no less cowardly: they have to find a way to make Lego products for girls without creating a perception that Legos are a girl toy. What Friends says is: we made new Legos for girls, because our other Lego sets, even the ones featuring heavily female fandoms (Harry Potter, for example), were for boys. The trouble for them now is one that many companies in the toy industry are facing: they want a larger share of the girl toy market. Because if a toy is gendered female, far, far fewer boys will buy it than girls will buy male-associated toys.
You can tell, because Legos for girls have their own world and are physically interchangeable from the boy ones.
We hold them accountable for plenty of other unethical but profitable business decisions, after all.
The Rebelle line says: Nerf guns are for girls too, and they can can play with the boys, just how the boys play.



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