LEGO's Friends Line for Girls Raises Controversy

Jodi - posted on 12/22/2011 ( 28 moms have responded )

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Ok, I stole this from the CoM Editors, but right now it is very relevant to me, because my daughter is currently a Lego nut. She adores lego. All she wants for Christmas is the Lego City Police Station. We have purchased that for her, PLUS the Lego Creator house with the working doorbell (I thought that was pretty cool :P). I love Lego for the kids because it really does inspire their creativity.....until now.



The LEGO company is losing parental love over its new gender-stereotyped line for girls, "LEGO Friends."



"Unlike Lego's best-selling city line, which features realistic buildings, the [Friends] town is built with new pastel bricks and the main attractions include a beauty salon, a horse academy, a veterinary clinic, and a café. ... Each girl has a different personality: 'the smart girl,' 'the animal lover,' 'the beautician, and 'the singer.'"



http://jezebel.com/5868334/lego-targets-...



http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/leg...



So, what do you think? Do you think they are stereotyping and dumbing down Lego for girls? Would you purchase this for your daughter?



Personally, I am interested because in my Christmas shopping outings, when looking at the Lego for my daughter, I did see some girl sets of Lego/Mega Blocks. And my instant thought was that it really WASN'T what I expected of lego, and I thought it was very uninspiring and lacked any real creativity. I deliberately avoided the stereotypical girl sets because of that. I just couldn't see the same longevity in it as I could with the other sets I purchased. AND when I compared the sets, I really felt they weren't value for money.



I guess, to me, I have a certain idea of what I expect from purchasing Lego, and what I see the children getting from it, and this isn't it. I don't have any objection to them creating sets that have interest to girls.....but why the need to dumb it down?

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Mary - posted on 12/28/2011

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"... Lego pulled together its top designers and sent out teams to shadow girls as they played. After breaking down what girls really want in a toy, they came up with sets ...The researchers found that while boys focus on following the directions and getting the set together, girls like to take breaks throughout the process and start developing stories...."

The above are excerpts from the first article in the OP.

After reading that article, I don't really think that Lego's intent was trying to "dumb down" Legos for girls. It really seems that they were trying to market to a group of girls who otherwise would chose not to play with Lego's at all.

As much value as some of us like to place on creative play, and the value that something like basic legos can have in fostering creativity, the truth is, that type of "play" may simply not appeal to some kids (boys and girls). As a child, I loved Legos, and spent countless hours playing with them. This was back in the late 70's, when the "sets" were very basic and simple compared to today, without even a hint of the complex detail these sets come with today. My sister, who is only 16 months younger, had very little interest in them. She was much more into our doll house, tea parties, and more traditionally "girly" things. She certainly wasn't pushed that way (and I probably made fun of her all the time!). Funny thing is, of the two of us, she is definitely the overall more creative and artistic one. She may not have been building things with legos, but that doesn't mean her play was any more restricted, or didn't involve a very active imagination.

I think the issue is that we parents are looking at this new line in the vein of more traditional legos...and that's just not what they are. The focus of these sets is more on being a framework for imaginary, story-based play, and less the about constructing or building type of play we historically expect. There is nothing wrong with that, either. Girls are by no means forbidden from playing with the more traditional sets - this is just an alternative for those who would otherwise not even bother with Legos at all.

To me, the issue is really parental preconceived notions of what Legos "should" be, and how a kid "should" play with something. The focus of these toys isn't meant to be construction, but rather, a physical framework for that kid who prefers to make up and act out the more story-like scenarios. It's geared towards the girl who simply prefers imaginary play to physically building something.

Jodi - posted on 12/27/2011

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My problem is that they have gone out of their way to dumb them down for the girls. They are pretty much 3/4 built sets and defeat the purpose of the construction that Lego has traditionally been known for. So not only has it stereotyped the themes of the sets (whatever), it has also stereotyped the fact that girls sets are 90% already constructed for them.

Firebird - posted on 12/22/2011

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Yea, that's my only problem with this, the girl's sets aren't as involved as the boys.... what I see in the picture is this stuff is almost totally pre-assembled. Kind of defeats the purpose of wanting Legos if you ask me.

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Jodi - posted on 12/30/2011

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I can see it from the marketing perspective....but I still think it HAS been dumbed down for the girls, and I personally wouldn't bother purchasing it. Lego is a pretty expensive toy. If I want a dumbed down version, there are any number of dumbed down girls toys I can purchase cheaper.

Isobel - posted on 12/30/2011

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What Mary said. Lego is a massive company with a very successful marketing team, I am 100% positive that they would have researched for ages on why they were lacking in the girls marketshare, and then found out what the girls liked that weren't playing with lego, then developed prototypes for them to try and then launched the most successful ones.

anytime you are pissed about a product that has been released, think about the fact that it's been tested and proven successful and that there IS a large enough segment of the populations who actively WANT these products...it may be morally kinda crappy (like in the string bikinis for ten-year-old girls which I am currently wrestling with) but...obviously a lot of the girls my daughter's size out there are allowed to wear string bikinis with padded bras or it wouldn't be the only thing I can find :/

Amber - posted on 12/30/2011

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i have a son that will be 7 in a week, and a daughter that just turned 4, 2 weeks ago. Both of my children have had the mega blocks and they still play with them all the time. Recently my son has had a huge intrest in legos, thanks to his cousin. So of course that gave my daughter the interest. They both asked for legos for christmas and their birthdays, of course I found my son legos pretty easy. Yes I was trying to find PINK legos for my daugher. I was so excited when i found a big box of 402 legos with the horses.. It never dawned to me that there was a some sort of stereotype.... ok so i just looked at some of those lego sets, wow, my daughter is 4 she just got a big pink box with 402 peices that you can make ur own things..The way my kids go from one thing to another I seriously doubt that they would even be into legos for long...... YES we love legos! My husband and I both will get down and help both make things....as a matter of fact. I helped Gabe with his cars set and Daddy was helping Noell with her set they made a car for the horse!!!!!

Jennifer - posted on 12/28/2011

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Hmmm, Mary, you make a good point! I loved my old lego sets, but my girl friends, the very few I had, did not. I was thinking of my daughters, who actually do play with legos now. They would not like the new sets, but my neices might. My neices play with Barbie and Bratz, and most of their 'houses' are pre-assembled. I guess, put that way, the 'girls' sets are not too bad.......

Sherri - posted on 12/28/2011

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I think they are totally cute. My nieces would totally love them I think I may just buy them for them next Christmas. I think it is a fabulous idea.

Vicki - posted on 12/28/2011

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I don't think the problem is with lego itself, but with how society now genders boys and girls from birth. Ads from the 70s show girls building all sorts of things with lego, now they are supposed to only be interested in fashion, beauty and cute animals. They ARE interested in these things, because people buy them girly stuff from birth as that's what is aimed at them in the shops.

One of the above posters said 'other lego is aimed at boys'.... historically no, it was aimed at kids. It's just that things that used to be seen as suitable for both boys and girls.... building, farm stuff, random creations in bright colours are now just seen as boy things.

And people say feminism isn't needed anymore.

Jocelyn - posted on 12/27/2011

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Nope I wouldn't buy it. I'd buy pink and purple normal legos, but not those girly sets. Seems like it leaves nothing to the imagination; there's no challenge. Now if they came out with a doll house that was as complicated at the millennium falcon, then maybe I would buy one.

Medic - posted on 12/27/2011

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OMG! I like totally think those sets are like totally dummed down.....ok sorry I had to do it. I LOVE legos, my son has a lego camera, lego alarm clock, lego everything and my daughter is following in his foot steps. The lego camera comes in the pastel colors as does the alarm clock. They just are not marketed and you have to actually look for them. I think if they want to make "girl" sets that is fine but don't dumb them down. I had a lego barbie house when I was a kid and it was pretty cool. We have multiple plastic tubs full of legos for the kids and all the instruction booklets that go with them.

Jennifer - posted on 12/27/2011

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I'd buy 'girly' LEGO's, but not those sets. But to be honest, I've been disappionted with lego's for quite some time. When I was a kid lego's were used to make anything, now all I can find is 'set's' used to make a certain toy. You have to buy several sets to get the same choices we use to. I wish we could just buy the big sets again!!

Nicole - posted on 12/27/2011

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I honestly don't see a problem with these Legos. If you think about it most legos out there are aimed at boys so if you have all girls wouldn't you want something oriented towards them to play with? Lego is just trying to market other kids which I think is totally fine! I have a girl and boy and they both love to play legos, and I can't wait to buy some of them for my little girl!

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I think this is great! I have 4 girls and each fits exactly into those stereotypes...it's true! My eldest Lily is my academic, loves reading, science and maths, then next is Ruby the beautician and fashionista who loves all things fashion - clothes, shoes, make-up, jewellery, then I have Ebony; her love of animals is awesome - horses, fish, dolphins...I think she's a bit of a water baby and will grow up doing something in the marine world arena, and then I have my baby Lucy who is the family entertainer, she loves dancing and singing...My girls would LOVE this Lego. Who cares about stereotypes really, if they love it let them have it. Lego is there for the imagination, my girls love making all sorts of things out of Lego and mega blocks and they use it for all kinds of play incorporating Barbie as the mum and other toys like Buzz and Woody. Add this to Lego you already have at home and it's a great recipe for some fun.

Jodi - posted on 12/23/2011

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That's the beauty of lego Teresa. Even if I buy a set for my daughter (and before her, the boys had Lego too, and they STILL play with it), she will find new creative ways to use the blocks. The set only ever gets built once with the instructions. Then it comes apart and she uses it in any way she sees fit. So having these 3/4 prebuilt sets is just NOT something I would buy.

Erin - posted on 12/23/2011

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I loved LEGOS as a kid. My sisters and I would build cities on dad's ping pong table. I have 3 tubs if them at my dad's waiting for my sons to get old enough to play with them(2y/o and 5months). I think my mom even saved all of the instructions that came with them. If I did have a daughter I probably wouldn't buy this for her. I grew up playing with regular legos. As far as I am concerned they are pretty gender neutral. I do remember a few set I had gotten when I was young that seemed like they were for girls. There was a beach house and a stable. I think they had pink, white and gray blocks in them.

[deleted account]

Oh, and my best friend's 10 year old son is obsessed w/ Legos. We bought him an airplane set for his birthday party on Wednesday, but even it can turn into 3 different things.

[deleted account]

Those look pretty stupid. I do like different colored Legos (bet my son would love some pink ones), but those sets really leave nothing to the imagination.... which is one of the best things ABOUT Legos.

Minnie - posted on 12/23/2011

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I don't pay attention. If it comes with Jedis and Storm Troopers we're golden here. And dragons. We always have to have dragons. We must have like eight different dragon sets.

Janice - posted on 12/23/2011

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I love Legos and this is definitely not the best product that I've seen! When I ran summer camp most of the kids, boys and girls LOVED Legos. We had 3 giant buckets and they were well used. The legos weren't in sets and the boys and girls definitely used them differently. The girls usually did build houses and other places and used the little lego people to act out scenerios. The boys usually built giant towers and vehicles and had races. So I do think that gender may affect play. However, pink and purple pre-assembled "girl" legos are just silly and unnecessary. They could have made a "salon lego set" that had tons of peices and accessories in gray and black and pink and purple with out dumbing it down.



I do have a 2 year-old who builds with her pink and purple mega blocks. When she gets older I will get her whatever Lego she is interested in. I'm sure we will be buying a lego bucket (not set) so that hubby and I can build too.

Jayce - posted on 12/22/2011

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I don't have a daughter so I can't say if I would or wouldn't buy it. But as a girl who used to love Lego (and can't wait for my son to be old enough to paly with it. IMO, Mega Blocks doesn't hold the same appeal) I wouldn't have been interested in the 'girlie' stuff. I liked the sets that made cars or airplanes. Couldn't they have incorparated the vet, salon or whatever into the city line without the pastel bricks. I think that's what I object to most - Lego shouldn't be pastel.

Jodi - posted on 12/22/2011

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LOL Sharon, there is currently a Lego sculpture exhibition in Sydney and I am considering taking the kids up there to see it over the holidays :) It looked awesome!!!

Did I mention I love Lego? Hubby and I are excited about giving Lego as the gift because we get to help build it. What fun we will all have!!! Hahahaha!

[deleted account]

I can't say I am surprised by this. There must have been a push for a "female friendly" line of Legos and hey, well one of the top world name-brand toy must have researched the marketability of such a girl-friendly line. It might work, or it might backfire. I don't think Lego will lose any credibility in the creativity department in the least. Yup-a glorified doll house sums it up. In the event the line fails, Lego will pull it off the shelves and just chalk it up to a bad idea. Ironically, we were talking about a trip to Lego Land in the Spring at dinner!

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