Wow, now that is a lot of research and information!
Don't praise too highly. All I did was look over on Bricklink's catalog. Nothing anyone else can't do if they felt like wasting the time, haha.
So, Should they make more Female minifigs with Female only torsos?
Yes. It saves up time where a builder wants to place a Women in their MOC.
Why would it save time? Because you want -specific- female torsos? You can make as many females as you want in your MOCs without any special parts. It's not a matter of needing them for MOCs, it's a matter of the personal preference of having torsos that look more feminine than 'stock' torsos.
But by that same logic, I could argue that LEGO doesn't make enough distinctly male torsos. If we can make a case for needing more feminine torsos, we can equally make a case for needing more masculine ones. Shadowing where the pecs are outlined, open collars with hairy chests (ala some of the Johnny Thunder and Western theme torsos). If female characters are being done wrong by generic torsos, then we must say that male characters are done an equal wrong by them.
Actually, these types of torsos were first introduced in 1989 with Pirates. In 1990 there was the Princess figure in 6081 and the Forest woman in 6071. So we have actually had these figures for 18 years (1989-present) and figures without more definition for only 11 years (1978-1988).
Right you are. But the majority of this style would not really come to the fore until years later. The torsos you mentioned amount to a whopping 4 figures (2 Pirate, one Forestmen, one Princess - if I recall correctly) from the beginning of LEGO right up until recent memory.
I think it's a bit misleading to say 18 years for one, and 11 years for the other. Generic torsos have existed since the beginning of LEGO (30 years now, right?). They existed first and continued to be used consistently until this very day. More stylistic feminine torsos existed afterwards, and in only specific circumstances until recently. So we didn't really have them ongoing for 18 years, but rather had them a few times over a course of about 12 years (and then they became more prominent after that timeframe, I think about the time LEGO started making Star Wars sets).
So LEGO adopting their usage more widely is a recent thing (which is what I meant earlier - but phrased poorly). And even with their more widespread adoption, generic torsos are still found quite frequently.
Personally, I think that's a good thing for kids. It allows more creativity when LEGO isn't telling you 'you can't use this torso for a female figure, because it doesn't have breasts -- use this one instead.' I remember as a kid making Valkyries using the old printed breastplate design. I didn't ever make the distinction that a feminine breastplate would look any different. She was female because she had female hair and I chose that the minifig was intended to be female. That's good enough for most kids.
And like I said - young boys generally don't care that much about female minifigs. LEGO is just going by the market research*. So generic is a better way to go for the company, as it allows for female characters without pushing their gender on young boys that don't want a lot of female characters in their toys. What's better for AFOLs isn't always what's better for the company to actually do. I can definitely see a case for the more advanced sets geared towards adults including a higher ratio of distinctly female torsos (and distinctly male ones, to be fair) - but for the generic in-house themes aimed at kids it's better to have a higher instance of generic torsos that can be used however the kid wants.
(*The market research that says boys age 5-15 are more prone to buying and playing with male characters than female ones -- as attested to by Jesse Falcon of ToyBiz/Marvel Toys when commenting on the MUCH higher ratio of male characters to female ones in the Marvel Legends line and its sister lines.)
This includeds more women, children, and civilians.
I honestly think the latter two are more important. Since my position is such that most of the time generic torsos are perfectly suitable for female characters. But in order to make proper children you need stunty legs, and in order to make civilians you need proper torsos (especially in the Castle line -- Town has plenty of civilians available).
But as you say - many sets are action-oriented and AFOLs are probably far more interested (in general) in taverns and farms than kids are, who would rather have catapults and citadels. Perhaps Castle '07 will strike some sort of balance in upcoming sets toward the end of the year or early next year. The Crown Knight Blacksmith or the Guarded Crown Inn.
Much more should be done with minifigs to market the product to girls.
Maybe. But I think the quick downfall of Paradisia marks that there's less interest among young girls in LEGO than in other toys. Even Bellville never seemed to gain nearly the popularity of boy-oriented lines like Castle and even Town (cars, trucks, construction equipment, Town is definitely geared more towards boys).
I'd love to see it, but I do wonder if a more young girl-friendly approach would be more of a loss for LEGO than what they're losing by not having it in the first place. It's times like this that I wish I were a LEGO insider and had all the necessary information - because of course all I'm saying is largely speculation. I would -love- to have the facts, but I doubt a LEGO representative is going to come over here and tell us, haha.
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