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Lego For Girls Already Exists – It’s Called Lego

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lego for girlsIn case you were worried about your little girl building imaginary worlds out of primary-colored Lego sets, fear not. After five years of focusing on the boys’ market – think along the lines of Star Wars-, Indiana Jones– and Harry Potter-themed sets – the company has created a new line of products especially for girls called Lego Friends. And trust me when I say the products are as ‘girly’ as can be – in every stereotypical sense of the word.

For starters, there are characters like Emma the beautician and Stephanie the social butterfly (hey, girls, need to dream big here!). And they’re dressed in outfits like pink shirts adorned with red hearts and little denim miniskirts.

Following some intensive research, Lego found that girls wanted “more beauty, realistic details, accessories and interior building and role playing opportunities.” So the new line, slated for release in the new year, features larger dolls that come with their own back story (kind of like American Girl dolls) and lots of accessories like purses and shoes. The girl figures are also taller and curvier than the traditional boxy ones.

I’m the mother of two boys and I won’t lie: they gravitate towards Lego Ninjago and anything, really, that contains “bad guys” and weapons. But I spoke with a bunch of mothers of girls – including a few on Mommyish staff – and they told me unanimously that their girls love playing with “boys'” Lego – and they were equally as baffled that the company would be infiltrating the girls’ market. Like most people, they never realized that Lego was skewed towards boys in the first place.

The Lego that we grew up with in the 70s and 80s consisted of red, blue, green, yellow, black and white bricks used for building houses and towers (check out this ‘vintage’ ad found on peggyorenstein.com). If I recall correctly, they came with male and female figures and, well, my brother, sister and I could care less which ones we ended up with (my sis and I also failed to noticed that the bricks weren’t pink – as if we cared!).

What’s ironic, of course, is that those decades were rife with gender stereotypes and yet Lego managed to create a product that appealed to both sexes. Now, as we approach 2012, parents and corporations alike are trying to break down those gender stereotypes. Except Lego’s not. The company seems to be working in reverse order here.

The truth is, Lego put lots of time and money into researching what girls want. And I believe them when they say girls “desire” this type of product (i.e., accessories, pastel colors, and so on). But I guess I just expected more from a company that I always considered to be such a trailblazer.

(Photo: businessweek.com)

22 Comments

  1. Cee

    December 20, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    When I was little, i would paint my lego people pink and purple. I pierced my cabbage patch’s ears and dyed her hair and said she would grow up to become a pediatrician. Gasp! How could I think of such a profession when I’m playing with a DOLL!
    I’m all for feminist issues, but what would appease mothers and the sudden fear for any toy that is gender stereotyped? a lumberjack princess with armpit hair?
    Feminists, in my opinion, need to let this issue go. Some girls will like pink, some girls will like glitter, and some girls will go batshit over every princess they see on the Disney channel. For some girls its almost inevitable to like something, dare I say, girly. But, guess what? They wont be strippers or have daddy issues! They will go to college! Its okay.

    Plus, if you solely blame you or your child’s lack of interest in education, lack of wanting a professional job, men issues, dad issues…life issues. Something is very wrong with you!

    • Jen

      December 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm

      So, I think you need a lesson in feminism, because you clearly lack any and all understanding of it. It’s not surprising since feminism has some become a dirty word in recent years, with so many ridiculous misconceptions about it that I would laugh it wasn’t such an awful thing.

      No sane person thinks that giving a girl a pink toy (or princess dress or a purse) is going to suddenly make her aspire to be a Stepford Wife. That’s not AT ALL what the author was saying. The point is that we keep sending girls the message–at younger and younger ages–that there is one and only one way to be a girl and not following that will lead to unhappiness.

      You can feel free to disagree with whether or not you believe that message is actually sinking in, but there have been enough studies conducted that show that no matter how successful (academically, athletically, professionally) a girl or woman is still more likely to have her happiness depend on her physical appearance and relationship status. We have a media who analyzes every single female in a position of power based on what they wear and how they look, Nickelodeon put Dora on a diet and there is a continuing movement to sex up younger and younger girls. Peruse this site if you want some analytical proof that girls are being sent–in EVERY way–a very specific and targeted message about who and how they should be: http://www.seejane.org/

      And, stop criticizing a movement you haven’t taken the trouble to understand.

  2. Cee

    December 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Plus, if you solely blame you or your child’s lack of interest in education, lack of wanting a professional job, men issues, dad issues..life issues *on gender stereotyped toys*

  3. kp

    December 20, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    They had Lego sets marketed to girls when I was growing up in the 90’s. They were beach themed, and mostly pink. There was a lifeguard stand, horse stable, beach house, and some others. I had most of the sets and as far as I can tell, did not turn out delinquent. I loved those sets and also my (boy) cousin’s Lego castles and pirate ships.

    The sets I had were the Paradisa line, and can be found on E-bay for a much larger price than I remember them costing at the time. Wish I would’ve saved them!

    • Steph

      December 22, 2011 at 12:48 am

      I was just about to say this! I had the ones called De Ville or something like that. Didn’t hurt me any, but then again, I loved my Barbie dolls so I’m obviously a traitor to the sisterhood.

  4. k

    December 20, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    i agree with you previous posters. i have a little girl and she most certainly does like things “girl” oriented. she wants nothing to do with her brothers ninjagos and star wars legos, and im pretty sure she’d like these and there is nothing wrong with that. I didnt buy her the pink little people plane, or pink lego bricks, and she like the primary color stuff just fine, but she’d also enjoy some ‘girl’ aimed more specific products that arent just painting the regular stuff pink, and thats ok

  5. Lindsay Cross

    December 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    I can freely admit, I’m one of the moms whose little girl loves Legos. She doesn’t think of them as “girl toys” or “boy toys.” They are just toys. And I’ve liked that Legos have always just been plain old toys that everyone could enjoy. The existence of a separate “girl Lego” that doesn’t focus nearly as much on building and is more about characters and role playing does both me a little. Because it says that this is what girls should like, instead of the the traditional toys. I don’t think that playing with these new gendered Legos will hurt a child’s development, especially if a parent is discussing the toys with their kids. I just really don’t understand why they’re necessary.

  6. Save1Star

    December 21, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Megablocks or some other Lego-like set tried this one already- in the early 90’s I had a pink and purple pastel nursery set. It came with women and babies and you built the house, carriages, etc. I quickly ignored this toy in favor of my brother’s kinex (because building real moving cars is much cooler than taking care of plastic babies anyday).

  7. torako

    December 21, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    i can see both sides of this.. on one hand, it’s pretty silly to aim what is essentially blocks at one gender or the other… i realize that they’ve kind of gone away from just blocks, but that’s kind of silly too, imo.

    but there’s also the fact that when i was a little girl, i played with barbies and american girls and baby dolls and wanted everything to be pink. some of that may have been a desire to fit in, but some of it was that i liked it. that didn’t stop me from playing with my hot wheels or my little dinosaurs or my lego, though.

    i think the problem is stereotyping. retailers think girls want pink toys, so if a manufacturer makes a pink toy aimed at girls, they’ll buy more than if it wasn’t pink. if anyone here is familiar with the new line of my little pony toys, you know what i’m talking about. that’s why all the princess celestia toys are pink. that’s why when applejack gets her hat, it’s never the right colour. that might even be why twilight sparkle is the weird shade of magenta that she is. toy manufacturers and retailers need to start taking cues from my little pony: friendship is magic. lauren faust set out to make a show aimed at girls that didn’t make boys want to barf. there are people who work there whose job it is to balance the colour in every shot. in the older fandom, there is at least one fan pairing of background characters that is based solely on how their colours balance (or rather, the fact that they’re always seen together because colour-wise, they LOOK good together) the colours are feminine but “cootie-free”. if they’re going to make a set of blocks aimed at girls, they should do that instead of painting everything pink.

  8. Hanna Brooks Olsen

    December 21, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Agreed! Love this post. There’s nothing innately male about blocks that snap together.

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  10. cm

    January 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Actually Lego Girls-Oriented themes Already Existed back in the 90’s

    http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/Paradisa

    http://lego.wikia.com/wiki/Belville

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  19. Rachel M

    March 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I think it’s giving people a choice. I don’t care about the female characters, etc. but I’d love to have more color choices for the blocks for my daughter, rather than just primary colors. Nothing wrong with wanting that.

  20. Rebecca Szeto

    January 20, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    heLLO. Word.

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