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LEGO world for boys and girls

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LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby Fry_slayer » Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:16 am

Hi Folks,

LEGO made it to CNN on... wait for it, gender equality issue :roflol: To be fair I found TLC made great progress on their then seriously lop sided gender ratio on boys VS girls minifig population. I found the article to be decent so figured to post and share it.
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Re: LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby Karalora » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:06 pm

Do yourself a favor and don't read the comments (good advice for the Internet in general, but it bears repeating). Some people seem to feel really threatened at the idea of LEGO sets being made and marketed in a gender-neutral fashion.

The gender implications of LEGO production and marketing are one of my personal bugbears, so I'm really glad to see this issue getting some mainstream attention, even if it garners some hostility from the peanut gallery. I have no love for the Friends line for pretty much all the reasons stated in the article, but when it came out I held out hope that it was just going to be a stepping stone--re-introduce girls to the hobby and if it worked out, LEGO would start diversifying the regular sets with more female minifigs. So far, that seems to be what's happening, so yay!

You know what the creepiest thing about Friends is, though? It's not the Polly Pocket-esque "ladyfigs." It's not the cupcakes and hair salons. It's not the abundance of pink and purple bricks. It's not any specific thing. It's the absence of something. Watch LEGO commercials, and what phrase comes up over and over? "You can build!" You can build the castle! You can build the rocketship! You can build the police station, the Rebel base, the dump truck, Hogwarts! But that phrase isn't used in the LEGO Friends commercials. They refer to various locations being "newly built" without saying who did it. I can't be the only person who finds that incredibly skeevy. It's like it erases the thing that makes LEGO such a great toy in the first place.
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Re: LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby Bluesecrets » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:42 pm

My take is quite simple:

Meh.

I'm sick and tired of this Friends backlash. I'm sick and tired of listening to both sides. Meh. It is a toy. Toys are for fun. All this controversy or whatever it is, isn't fun. Meh.

Talk to the parents and the girls...heck talk to 13-15 yr old girls...they love it too. Talk to AFOL's...and don't limit yourself to the FFOL's...they love it. Friends just like Belville, Scala and Click-it's have some of the best detail parts. Don't believe me? Take a gander at my latest community window and try and figure out just how much of it is from these "girl" lines (hint, quite a lot of that is). http://www.flickr.com/photos/48243528@N00/9084564171/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Parts are parts...they rock the MOC's.

Meh...keep the politics and other drama out of it all. Seriously. Have fun.
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Re: LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby Forestboy » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:32 pm

Karalora wrote:Do yourself a favor and don't read the comments

:lol: I should have listened to you first. They are atrocious.

I think the writer makes a lot of good, valid points. Should LEGO cater to more young builders? Yes. Should they include more females in different lines? Yes. If LEGO recognizes the want for more female minifigs in "boy-aimed lines", they'll do it. And everybody wins. But right now...Like Blue mentions, pretty much everyone in the Lego Community loves the Friends line (mostly for the parts). I simply don't buy them because I don't want anymore colors added to my collection. I got trouble sorting something like 20 colors already. But the parts are nice, the hairs are interesting. My sister has a couple though (who, like Blue mentions is in the age range of 13-15), and loves them. And she's what we would call a "Tom-boy". She grew up on Barbie and Polly Pocket and the lot also, but doesn't like make up or the colors pink and purple. So I don't really buy into the whole "LEGO friends will influence everything" on your sibling, child, family member, etc (then again, I know very little on the topic). Like somehow LEGO is now a menace to genders in society. She enjoys both the "girly" stuff and the regular stuff simultaneously.

I thought I remembered back in around 2009 on LAML Podcast, that it sounded like there were a ton more female minifigs. I'm just using shotty memory, but I think the FFOLs stated there were something like 31 female minifigs at the end of 2009 across a bunch of different lines, including pirates, castle, and city. But after flipping through a recent catalog or two, I'm noticing that there are a lot less female minifigs. I think this is due to so many more licenses nowadays, and obviously, the Friends line. (again, using generalizations, mostly :) ) But nowadays, we have tons of alternatives. It's not like there are any other ways to get female minifigs. A lot of the faces are gender neutral, they're just slight, higher quality variations on the classic smiley. But male hair on. It's a guy. Put female hair on. It's a girl. I use that all the time. And we have Bricklink. And we have Ebay. Not to say that I don't want or think we need more female minifigs in new sets. But still, the article just seems like we've gotta blame Lego for all our problems when ultimately it's up to the parent to decide how the child plays, what the child plays with (which the parent has plenty of options to acquire these desperately wanted figs).

And shouldn't we be solving more important world problems than Lego gender ratios?

Anyway, How likely do you think that the Cuusoo set will be made? Do we know what other sets it'll go up against for review?
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Re: LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby AK_Brickster » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:09 pm

I'm with Blue on this one. I could care less if you trucks are marketed at boys and fashion-themed coloring books are marketed at girls. Studies have shown that boys and girls play differently. We get so caught up in the "equality" debate that we think "equal" means "identical", and that's just not the case. Boys will be boys, girls will be girls. Let them play with what they like and quit worrying about it. Toys are supposed to be fun :)

That said, I'd like to see more female figs as well, but in a castle theme, I'm not looking for scientists or even female knights. I want normal peasant figures.
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Re: LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby Karalora » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:17 pm

Take a gander at my latest community window and try and figure out just how much of it is from these "girl" lines (hint, quite a lot of that is).


First of all, that is an utterly gorgeous MOC. These are the ones I really love--the "landscapey" ones that show off a little piece of the builder's LEGO world.

Second of all...I think the dolphins are from Paradisa, right? And maybe some of the other sea beasties. I know the transparent "seaweed" pieces originated in Belville, and I think some of the other transparent pieces did as well.

Do I pass?

Meh...keep the politics and other drama out of it all. Seriously. Have fun.


Who says I don't have fun? I want everyone to have just as much fun as I do if not more. I argue against exclusionary business practices because they reduce the fun.

It's not like there are any other ways to get female minifigs. A lot of the faces are gender neutral, they're just slight, higher quality variations on the classic smiley. But male hair on. It's a guy. Put female hair on. It's a girl. I use that all the time. And we have Bricklink. And we have Ebay. Not to say that I don't want or think we need more female minifigs in new sets. But still, the article just seems like we've gotta blame Lego for all our problems when ultimately it's up to the parent to decide how the child plays, what the child plays with (which the parent has plenty of options to acquire these desperately wanted figs).


These are good points, but they mainly apply to AFOLs and their kids. Those aren't the kids I'm worried about. They'll be fine. I'm worried about the mainstream kids begging their parents for LEGO for their birthday. The average parent isn't going to go on Ebay or Bricklink and rustle up a bunch of heads with lipstick so their daughter can replace all the dudes in her City set with gals if she wants. They're going to go to Toys 'R' Us or Target or whatever and pick up a LEGO set and that's it. If they're lucky enough to live close to a LEGO Store, they might be aware of Pick-a-Brick and the minifig parts bins, but that's a minority of people.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who treats the heads lacking both facial hair and visible makeup as gender-neutral, but I wish LEGO would do the same. The huge City model sets use the classic smiley for all minifigs, but that's about it--other than that, if an "official" minifig is not a specific named character and has female hair, it's going to have one of two faces: this one or this one. I'd like to see a greater variety of feminine heads moved into the "generic" lineup.

And shouldn't we be solving more important world problems than Lego gender ratios?


Don't you worry your pretty little head. :P No one's putting the environment or the Eurozone on hold while we discuss this. There are enough great minds in the world to tackle all of them simultaneously.

Anyway, How likely do you think that the Cuusoo set will be made? Do we know what other sets it'll go up against for review?


A LEGO rep made an official remark to the effect that LEGO is very interested in expanding the female presence in its regular sets, so things look good. I'm choosing to stay optimistic.
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Re: LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby Bluesecrets » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:20 pm

Who says I don't have fun? I want everyone to have just as much fun as I do if not more. I argue against exclusionary business practices because they reduce the fun.


I'm not claiming you aren't having fun. I wouldn't. I don't know what is fun to others.

But I do know that a toy is a toy. I don't hear Hot Wheels getting attitude for not having "girl" cars. I don't hear Nerf being told to get girl toys. I don't hear the little green army men being forced into having little green army women. Likewise I don't hear Barbie being told to make boy friendly Barbies. Or My Little Pony (who does have a male following) have to make male ponies. Why should LEGO have to provide a toy for both genders? The primary audience is boys..the age range differs between 8-12 to 9-12 or even as much as 6-12. But it IS male. That's who buys/wants the sets, so why wouldn't they cater to them? It's just good business. Sure they have been trying for...forever to get into the girl area and have and have not been successful. But they shouldn't HAVE to provide a toy just because people want them to.

It is not my place to tell parents what they should or should not have available for their children nor do I even fool myself into thinking that anything I can say or do would ever have any impact. They are the parents. They raise their kids, not me.

It is also not my place to tell a toy company that their business model and testing of toys with children is invalid because their primary market is one gender. They are in business to make money, not please every single human on the Earth because they never will.

But as I said before, gender equality is not something I enjoy being part of my hobby. Not one male I have encountered online or in person (yes I go to fan events and volunteer at LEGO store events) has EVER treated me different or badly because I am a female. In fact, they are far more gentlemanly than a lot of other males in the world that I have encountered.

On top of that, I am just really really tired of the whole discussion. Every single time this comes up, the discussion is always "touch and go" as people get offended or defensive. And then the staff has to be on alert making sure everything is running smooth and not getting out of control. Since I have yet to hear from a member who thinks LEGO is only for boys, I really don't know why this keeps coming up over and over.

AND I will issue a reminder. Classic Castle is NOT your pulpit. See the following thread: http://www.classic-castle.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7316&p=87685&hilit=pulpit#p87685
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Re: LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby Karalora » Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:19 am

I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to soapbox. Should we just never talk about these things on the forum?

I think LEGO gets hit with the "y u no gender-neutral?" more often than other toy companies because a) the bricks have proven brain-building capabilities, and b) they used to be marketed gender-neutral and only started being considered a "boys' toy" in the 90s.
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Re: LEGO world for boys and girls

Postby Forestboy » Fri Jul 05, 2013 4:13 am

Karalora wrote:I think LEGO gets hit with the "y u no gender-neutral?" more often than other toy companies because a) the bricks have proven brain-building capabilities, and b) they used to be marketed gender-neutral and only started being considered a "boys' toy" in the 90s.

Yeah, I think the reason why people aren't clamoring for girl themed hot wheels (although, I think this is a great point on how Lego is being specifically targeted, thanks for pointing it out, Blue) is because Lego is fundamentally open-ended on it's gender-ness. The core "toy mechanic" is putting blocks together to make whatever you want. Of course, this has hugely changed in Lego marketing these days. The downplay of basic bricks, the increase of licenses, and the fading away of pictures on the back of the box that encouraged creating new things. That and the fact that Lego is just such a mainstream toy these days (they said #2 company, right?) that it gets more attention in the spotlight.

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