LEGO For Girls

BY  |  Thursday, Dec 29, 2011 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

Here we go again. Yet another company has determined that the only way to appeal to females—in this case, young girls—is to reduce her to a stereotype. This might not be so surprising if the company were one of the usual suspects—say, American Apparel—but this time around the offender is LEGO, a toy manufacturer we respect and generally love.

LEGO’s new line of Friends, which you’ve surely read about by now, has left us scratching our heads. Friends is a set of LEGO building blocks and figures geared to girls. LEGO created the line because it said it wanted to broaden its appeal to “the reach the other 50 percent of the world’s population,” as CEO Jorgan Vig Knudstorp put it. Presumably all those LEGO Star Wars and fire house play kits are not meant for girls (that, in fact, was the company’s strategy. After it began catering its toys just to boys, revenue grew 105 percent) So what does the new Friends line for girls include? Five figurines who live in “Heartlake City,” a purple and pink hued village that has a beauty shop, a “splash pool,” a cafe. What, no massage parlor?

I’m not one to argue that we should gender neutralize everything—I do believe that there are certain traits that set most males and most females apart (my son has loved trucks from almost the time he exited the womb, through no doing of ours). Sure, women go to the hair salon more often than men, and little boys probably prefer playing with trucks more than girls do. But really, LEGO, is this the best you can do? Girls hanging out at the café and going to a dog show? It makes the “inventor’s studio” you included feel like we’ve been thrown a bone.

LEGO hails from Denmark, arguably the most progressive and open-minded country on the planet (tied perhaps with their neighbor, Sweden, two of whose residents you may remember decided not to reveal the sex of their child in an effort to do away with gender stereotyping). We expect more from them. That’s probably why many moms have taken to the web to register their discontent—to put it mildly—with the company. There are petitions, open letters, and a deluge of comments on the company’s Facebook page.

But whether or not LEGO responds remains to be seen. Already the negative comments have died down on its Facebook page, replaced by fans’ photos of newly constructed LEGO sets. There are train stations, Stormtroopers, airports, etc. So far, no Heartlake City.

(Photo: LEGO Facebook page)

4 Comments

  1. POSTED BY Holly Korus  |  December 29, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

    Ok, so it is not just me. This was a very lego Xmas around here. My daughter is a master. When asked from friends and family what to get her this year I told them all “Lego Sets” non gender specific. I was told they don’t exist over and over.

    So we just got three boxes of basic sets two blue and one pink. We also recieved the large flat Lego boards and those were a big hit.

  2. POSTED BY bluegirl  |  December 29, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    My daughters love the LEGO City and Creator sets, and especially their LEGO model of the Empire State Building. They even enjoy playing with the Space Police and Star Wars LEGOs that their friends have – imagine that!

  3. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  December 29, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

    My oldest daughter loves LEGO just the way it is. Her favorite set is the Atlantis. Why they had to go and change something that has been perfect for all kids, regardless of gender, is beyond me.

  4. POSTED BY Kristin  |  December 30, 2011 @ 6:21 pm

    I’ll bet it has to do with $$ and those darn focus groups. I can speak for this house: The grandparents tend to buy strictly along gender lines because they don’t want to go wrong. Dora/Diego – Princess Dress-UP/Remote Controlled Cars.

    When in doubt…

    We bought our kids two sets of blocks (can’t remember the name), one in boy colors and one in girl colors and then we encouraged them to mix them all together. They are now co-existing happily.

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