Lego Stirs Controversy With New Girl's Toys

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drewhorine
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Proponent
Legos for Girls
drewhorine   1/5/2012 11:41:41 AM
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But what about the girls who do like pink, curvy toys?

Lego isn't alienating girls who like to play with spaceships and action figures. 95% of their products answer that need. They are including the girls who like to play with boutiques, dolls and makeup.

These critics need to understand that every toy made by everybody doesn't have to revolve around them. If we all spent our lives trying to please everyone, all toys would end up being boring little grey blocks.

No matter what the PC crowd would have you believe, there is a difference between boys and girls and the toys they generally prefer to play with. If that wasn't true, why bother with demographics?

Ariella
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Re: Legos for Girls
Ariella   1/5/2012 11:55:11 AM
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drwhorine, it is more complicated than that. The ones who object to the label "for girls" do so because it implies that this is the appropriate choice for girls, and all the ones that don't say "for girls" on them are really for boys. For kids who are taking their cues about what a girl should do rather than just doing what they want, this could prove limiting. Now my daughter doesn't care about that at all. She is not a "girly girl."  But she is still a girl who wants to have fun in her own way. 

Actually, none of my daughters were very girly, but people just made assumptions about what all little girls like and gave play makeup and pink princess accessories for birthday gifts.  Ah, I must be bringing them up wrong; they should all aspire to look like Barbie and hold out for plastic surgery gift certificates. 

Of course, that is an extreme, and I don't really blame the doll for the lengths some women will go to in the pursuit of looking good. But one has to not cast girls into pink molds and say anything else is just a PC construct.

 

Mitch Wagner
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Re: Legos for Girls
Mitch Wagner   1/5/2012 2:58:09 PM
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Hello, drewhorine and welcome to The CMO Site!

I know one mother who had an interesting perspective on ultra-feminine products for girls. She had one daughter and three sons. She got her daughter a Barbie Camera, which was pink and had flower appliques and was, to my male eyes, utterly ghastly. 

But it was a pretty good camera for a children's toy, and it allowed the girl to be creative and play with technology. 

My friend, the girl's mother, loved the camera because it was a perennial issue in that house that the boys would take all the girl's toys from her. But the boys wouldn't touch the Barbie Camera because (said my friend), it had "girl cooties all over it."

My friend saw ultra-feminine design for girls as a form of protective coloration. 

Ariella
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Re: Legos for Girls
Ariella   1/5/2012 4:13:02 PM
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Some mothers who have had a string of boys really go heavy on the pink when they finally have a girl. One mother I know who had a daughter of sixteen followed by boy welcomed her late baby girl in pink everything, and she admitted that was the reason why. It's fine for a mother to choose how she wants to dress or accessorize her baby. However, once a girl already has her own preferences, she should be able to express them. If she wants a doll or other "girly" toy, that's fine. But she shouldn't have her selections limited to the pink version of things.

infinity
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Evangelist
Re: Legos for Girls
infinity   1/5/2012 4:47:01 PM
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I've never met a girl who wouldn't play with standard Legos if the blocks were placed in front of her, nor have I ever heard anyone consider it a toy for boys -- sure, certain playsets may be stereotyped into something a boy, rather than girl, would play with, but even that is taking it a bit far. I love Legos. I do not love the new concept: looking at that picture, there is nothing Lego-like about it, other than certain pieces snap onto a base with Lego bumps. There is not much to actually build in that set from the looks of it. The whole point of Lego is to inspire creativity: sure, build things that are shown on the box, but then build other things you want to build as well. It doesn't look possible with the "girl" Legos. 

There's nothing wrong with Lego creating playsets such as cafes, etc, but at least make them more "buildable" and imagination-friendly so kids can build a cafe at the Lego spacestation, if they so desire. 

Ariella
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Re: Legos for Girls
Ariella   1/5/2012 6:04:00 PM
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I agree with you, infinity. That's been my experience, as well. For those who think the new line would encourage girls to advance their building skills, I tend to doubt it. As you say, there is very little building involved. It's more like setting up the backdrops for the dolls and their accessories.

To be fair, though, many of the kits Lego sells at present don't really work to make more than they're designed for. Many boast "3 in one" because the kit can make 3 types of cars, but that is far short of the infininte possibities one was able to look forward to with a collection of bricks and part that could be made into anything. Also in the interest of fairness, one online review said that the parts from the new line could make a spaceship, though it did involve 3 separate Friends sets plus pieces already owned.  Obviously, the person who pulled this off is beyond the target group of 5-12 (concentrating more on the 6-9) year-old girls.

 

"Taking parts from 3933 Olivia's Invention Workshop,icon3187 Butterfly Beauty Shop,icon 2X 3183 Stephanie's Cool Convertible,icon 2X3936 Emma's Fashion Design Studio,icon and my own collection, I built a spaceship to show a use for the new pieces."

Pixie Poison

 

Mitch Wagner
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Blogger
Re: Legos for Girls
Mitch Wagner   1/5/2012 8:13:36 PM
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... and a lovely spaceship it is. Kind of girly. :)

infinity
User Rank
Evangelist
Re: Legos for Girls
infinity   1/5/2012 10:13:18 PM
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Ariella, yes, I have noticed some of the Lego sets that leave very little to imaginative building, and that's disappointing. When I was a kid the sets all had basic pieces that could be used many ways, and we had great fun with them. I think Lego dilutes its brand when it ends up cranking out regular playsets that have little to do with building and everything to do with just playing with a specific type of toy (a cafe with toy people that aren't even typical Lego people).

PS: cool spaceship!

 

Ariella
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Blogger
Re: Legos for Girls
Ariella   1/6/2012 9:14:34 AM
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Lego claims that their research showed that their target group wanted the people to look like this -- what they call more realistic -- because they could not identify with the standard flat Lego people, and girls play by projecting themselves on the figures they play with. It did make me wonder if these girls are identifying with the play people, why do they have to look like they're already well into their teens? One mother I know is quite irate about the womanly shape, though it's more Polly Pocket than Barbie. Though they look very different from the standard Lego minifigs, and are slightly taller, they do fit on the Lego pieces.. The problem, they said with their previous line for girls, Belville, was that the parts didn't fit with other Lego sets. 

 

John Barnes
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Blogger

... is that what they're doing for both genders is turning out assemble-it-yourself toys, rather than building kits.  It's just more obvious that that's what it is for girls because the "backdrops for dolls" are focused on consumer/leisure experiences (hmm.  Maybe the next Lego kits for girls can be called "Trophy Wives" and you'll be able to assemble the Yoga Studio, the Expensive Lunch Restaurant, and ... oh, wait, they already have the boutique.)

At least the guys in Boy-Legos have jobs, although there may not be very many openings for Batman or for Galactic Overlord. 

Wonder how many of those kits are being assembled by the parents, because the kid just wants the toy, by the way?

As a marketing analyst, I suppose I should be happy that we're moving toward more and more perceiving the next generation as primarily proto-consumers, not makers, builders, or doers.  As a citizen ... mmph.

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