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What's with the name?

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Supergirly

Lego Introduces Ladyfigs, Yes, That’s Minifigs For Girls


Lego recently came under fire for failing to offer girl’s name choices for their online Hero Recon toy customization program. They quickly listened to consumers who, at the very least, thought it was a glaring oversight and added new names to the list. Well, little did we know they had a HUGE GIRLY ANNOUNCEMENT tucked up their sleeve. “Let’s be honest: Girls hate him,” Mads Nipper, the executive vice-president for products and markets said of their yellow, little minifig people. “The greatest concern for girls really was beauty,” says Hanne Groth, Lego’s market research manager, after studying girls. So, they’re not actually called LadyFigs, the new line is called Lego Friends but either way, we’re off to a rough start here.

Bloomberg Business Week did a feature on the new collection. They write, “Twenty-nine mini-doll figures will be introduced in 2012, all 5 millimeters taller and curvier than the standard dwarf minifig. There are five main characters. Like American Girl Dolls, which are sold with their own book-length biographies, these five come with names and backstories. Their adventures have a backdrop: Heartlake City, which has a salon, a horse academy, a veterinary clinic, and a café. ‘We had nine nationalities on the team to make certain the underlying experience would work in many cultures,’ says Nanna Ulrich Gudum, senior creative director.”

Just sittin’ in a hot tub, drinkin’. You know, as we do.

I’m sorry, you lost me at “taller and curvier.” I’m not against “stuff for girls” but this line is already hitting several sour notes. I don’t understand what exactly is wrong with the regular female minifigs. Legos are blocky, that’s the point. My Lego does not need protruding breasts.

Here’s the background behind this latest move.

Over the years, Lego has had five strategic initiatives aimed at girls. Some failed because they misapprehended gender differences in how kids play. Others, while modestly profitable, didn’t integrate properly with Lego’s core products. Now, after four years of research, design, and exhaustive testing, Lego believes it has a breakthrough. On Dec. 26 in the U.K. and Jan. 1 in the U.S., Lego will roll out Lego Friends, aimed at girls 5 and up. …The company’s confidence is evident in the launch — a full line of 23 different products backed by a $40 million global marketing push. “This is the most significant strategic launch we’ve done in a decade,” says Lego Group Chief Executive Officer Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. “We want to reach the other 50 percent of the world’s children.”

And look! She’s even a cover model!

The new sets being offered have names like City Park Cafe, Olivia’s Tree House, Stephanie’s Cool Convertible, Butterfly Beauty Shop, Heartlake Vet, Stephanie’s Outdoor Bakery, Emma’s Splash Pool, Andrea’s Stage (oddly enough, the hot tub scene), Olivia’s Inventor’s Workshop and more. You can see more set shots on The Brick Blogger.

WALL-E? Is that you?

“The girls needed a figure they could identify with, that looks like them,” said Rosario Costa, a Lego design director. Girls told them, “I want to shrink down and be there,” after playing with the toys. But was this exaggerated route really the way to go? An expert, not from Lego, also weighed in.

“If it takes color-coding or ponies and hairdressers to get girls playing with Lego, I’ll put up with it, at least for now, because it’s just so good for little girls’ brains,” says Lise Eliot, a neuroscientist at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago and author of Pink Brain Blue Brain.

(image via streek2 on Flickr)

Eliot also said, “Especially on television, the advertising explicitly shows who should be playing with a toy, and kids pick up on those cues. There is no reason to think Lego is more intrinsically appealing to boys.”

And isn’t that the real issue? Legos aren’t “for boys,” the media and marketing just tell us they are. They reinforce this kind of gender separation when perhaps, it doesn’t necessarily have to be there. Here’s my thing: We don’t want you to ignore girls entirely but we also don’t want or need you to make toys for girls so blatantly obvious. It makes me wonder if they used the regular female minifigs with the newly designed sets in their focus groups if girls would be just as interested. Granted, I don’t think this is all bad, giving the characters backgrounds is good, having multiple nationalities is good but the way Lego is talking about it is bad.

Though perhaps some people are attempting to help. Business week says, “In the U.S., Wal-Mart, Toys “R” Us, and Target all plan to carry Lego Friends. Target’s Stephanie Lucy, vice-president and merchandise manager for toys and sports goods, says the Minneapolis-based department store will introduce Lego Friends on an end-cap (at the end of an aisle), then shelve it with other girl-oriented toys, not with the rest of the Lego—all currently in the boy section.”

So that’s…something.

(via The Hairpin, The Brick Blogger and BoingBoing)

Previously in LEGO

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  • mea.glitch

    Separate but equal, huh.

  • Anonymous

    Here’s a mad thought, why not put the Lego in the gender-neutral section where it dang well belongs, then people will buy it for girls. 

    Crazy, I know.

  • http://twitter.com/SarahWize Sarah Wise

    This is kind of ridiculous. As a female child who LOVED and cherished playing with Legos, I never felt like I needed to relate to them- for me, that was the point, actually. I could be a cowboy or cowgirl, astronaut, an engineer, or anything I wanted to be. Like you (Jill) mentioned, Legos are supposed to be blocky, so I could just put a girl wig on the lego figure to make it a female. Little girls don’t CARE about the curves!
    I’m actually a little heartbroken about this. What does this say about our society? Now instead of playing astronaut or engineer, little girls are supposed to play Housewives of Orange County and sit around in hot tubs with cosmos to play legos???

  • http://www.spaceunicorn.net Jayme

    Hey, aren’t those Polly Pockets?

    Also, as a girl who loved playing with Legos, I remember longing for girl hairpieces (they didn’t exist when I got my first set), but that was all I needed for gender differentiation. When I finally got a princess figure with the jousting set, her lipsticked head often became a dude in drag. ;) But I’m weird that way. My Barbies married other Barbies with their hair shorn rather than share our 1 Ken doll with my sister’s and my neighbor’s Barbies.

  • http://twitter.com/LJo83 Lindsay Beaton

    I…don’t get it. Granted, I’ve been off the Lego boat for awhile (though not gonna lie, I still HAVE my Legos from when I was a kid, I just haven’t, you know, played with them in like 17 years). But haven’t girls always played with Legos? I had (*cough* have) this great giant horse farm from this whole series they had going in the ’90s, and yeah, the blocks were pinkish (sigh), but if you switched the ponytail wig for a short wig my Lego chick was suddenly a Lego dude, no problem. Why the sudden body molding? Why the sudden gender-specific marketing?

    I don’t remember either my brother or I caring about our Legos mixing, and I was just as happy to share my Lego horses with him as he was to share his Lego racecars with me…and I’m pretty sure my horses DROVE his racecars on occassion, come to think of it. This sort of thing seems like a backward step, rather than a forward one. Let the kids figure it out. I’m sure they can look at the wigs and red lips on the blocky Legos and get the picture–or not, as their natures suit. Doesn’t seem very friendly to me. But maybe I’m just getting old.

  • http://twitter.com/seanseger Sean Seger

    Executive #1: Girls aren’t happy with us.
    Executive #2: Girls play with Legos?
    Executive #1: Yeah, and they aren’t happy because we didn’t include girly names in a list somewhere.
    Executive #2: Well give them some.
    Executive #1: We did, but Marketing says we need to do more.
    Executive #2: Like what?
    Executive #1: We need to give girls a reason to buy Legos.
    Executive #2: Gilrs will pay to play with Legos?
    Executive #1: Yeah.
    Executive #2: Well I have niece I haven’t seen in 3 years, she was all into ponies and princesses and makeup.  There’s your market research, run with it.
    Executive #1: Excellent, we’ll make ‘em all feminine and throw in some sciency looking stuff to make ‘em feel empowered while we marginalize them by pointing out they like pretty things and making their figures all curvy with boobs.
    Executive #2: Heh you said boobs.

  • Anonymous

    This isn’t LEGO, this is Polly Pocket. And Polly is/was a very successful brand, but…still not LEGO.  And there is STILL way too much pink in those sets. I wish they would just put them next to the “regular” LEGOs; once again, male is default, girl is the spin-off.

  • http://profiles.google.com/amberlovescomics Elizabeth-Amber Delaney

    I agree, Legos are Legos. If you want a Polly Pocket, you buy a Polly Pocket. The fact that you can make a Lego costume out of cardboard boxes is a good thing.

  • http://twitter.com/PhysicistLisa Lisa M

    Wow. just WOW. The thing that instantaneously bothers me (and this could just be because this is a really limited set of pictures) is that these toy set up rooms aren’t really legos.  there’s specific pieces that can only be arranged in one way.  What makes legos good for kids is that they can explore the creative practice of building and THAT”S what’s good for hteir minds.  it doesn’t sound like Lego wants girls to play with legos because it’s a good toy for them, lego just wants to sell more legos. end of story.  I know you can currently buy lego kits but tehy still involve a lot of blocks that can be arranged and played with in different ways.   
    Also, i feel like this whole legos are for boys is a new thing that we’ve some how (constant gender marketing of the toy sections, thank you barbie) done to our kids. I feel like EVERYONE i know in my age group (late 20′s early 30′s) played with legos, because they were a cool toy.  now it’s a boy toy. confusing. 

  • http://twitter.com/SnarkyNerdette Katie

    I’m tempted to submit a picture of myself with the DOZENS of Lego kits I’ve assembled and collected over the years, as they’re displayed on my shelves for all to see. I’m a big Lego advocate, but this separation of “Boy Kits” and “Girl Kits” is incredibly stupid.

    I grew up coveting ALL Legos, okay. Blue, Red, Yellow, Pink, honestly it doesn’t MATTER. Legos are toys that are meant to stimulate creativity, make you break down something to build something new, something that you didn’t get an assembly manual with.

    And guess what, Lego? Creativity is gender neutral.

  • http://twitter.com/fireholly99 Holly

    I remember that as a child I wasn’t particularly into Lego, partially because of the Minifigs (which I only really learned to adore by the time I was twelve and while not too old for Lego, too old to be making playing with Lego my main pastime). I was always biased towards the far less creative Playmobil stuff because of this. I feel absolutely awful for saying this, because it’s playing into what’s basically sexist stereotyping on the part of the marketers, and I want toys to be less gendered overall just like everyone here does; but it’s true, and if I’d been given the girly Lego as a kid I would have been thrilled with it.

    And while the ‘girls’ greatest concern is beauty’ line makes every bit of my body wince, I do love that one of their characters is a girl inventor with her own robots. Regardless of your feelings towards making girly Lego, 

  • http://twitter.com/SpaceMonkeyX Rob Lammle

    For years now, LEGO has been selling Star Wars kits with bricks you can really only use to create the specific vehicle or playset on the box.  Sure, a kid can rearrange them, but that’s not really what’s intended.  So, yeah, it stinks that these are geared more for single scenario play, but that concept isn’t exclusive to just the girl’s toys; LEGO is crippling the creativity of boys, too.

  • http://twitter.com/campcreek Lori Pickert

    i’m a grown-up girl who still plays with lego, and this type of thing is just embarrassing for me in front of my boy children. lego is teaching them to be sexist? srsly? thanks, lego!

  • Anonymous

    Oh man, does that science lab set have flasks and a little microscope?  I might need to buy that…for, uh, my niece.  Yeah, that’s it.  I wouldn’t want to buy a girl’s toy for myself.

  • http://twitter.com/RockShrimp Willow

    These look like Playmobil toys. Isn’t playmobil’s target audience like pre-school?

  • Jaime Kimbrel

    So they made their lady figs look like a crap version of Playmobil people. That’s great R&D work right there!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563223409 Vic Horsham

    This isn’t even polly pocket.  It’s playmobil.  Lego’s significantly less cool ripoff cousin.  I especially like the limiting of girls play to these few sets.  The entire POINT of lego is having a big box of mixed stuff with a few prebought kits mixed up in it that you can make ANYTHING with.  Girls don’t need a lego cafe – they can bloody well make one if they want one.

    Gaaaaaaaah!

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad it looked like Playmobil to someone else, too! But, I guess my point is, it’s not the end of the world; they’re emulating other successful brands, which only sucks because those other brands  *aren’t LEGO.*

  • Rose Stipati

    If I want boobs on a Lego I’ll use Sugru and hack it myself. Sheeessh!

  • http://twitter.com/vertdragain Karen E Conway

    Both of my kids were sooo psyched when Legos FINALLY had the female Clone War action figures…since Hermione has been starring in everything. My kids have always just taken hats and hair pieces off of other characters (thank you Jack Sparrow for your lovely locks) to create whatever females they need. UGH! So sad because it is nearly impossible these days to find any toys not inherently marketed separately to boys and girls. Ok, where’s the link so I can complain and harass the Lego Company?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristin-Frederickson/852880113 Kristin Frederickson

    There’s definitely nothing to be ashamed of in having liked gendered toys as a child. I imagine as long as children exist, there will be girls who like pink and boys who like guns and what have you – the problem is that at the moment, heavily gendered and stereotypical toys are basically the only thing available, so kids who aren’t interested in their associated gender role are either left out in the cold or made to feel weird. Kids should be able to grow up deciding for themselves what they’re interested in, rather than having specific toy criteria shoved down their throats – meaning that girly, boyish and neutral toys all still have the right to exist, and should, but in equal numbers to allow for more choice. And maybe a little less fanatical advertising would be nice too.

  • Anonymous

    That line about the other 50% of the world’s children genuinely hurts. 

    As for this new Lego Friends line, I gotta say I like much of the concepts behind it, in particular the differing nationalities as part of the characters. And the sets in the photos look rather appealing too, as it’s all still fun scenery made from simple basic bricks. 

    What I am not fond of are the figures themselves. They look rather… cheap? Like those toys you can get from inside a cholate egg. It doesn’t seem like their wrists can move, which is a pretty big turnoff for me. And even Bellville had heads you could attach headwear to, which doesn’t seem to be the case here. And their faces look kinda bland, like a Mii. I don’t think these designs will have a lasting appeal.

    And of course, I am not fond of the need to diversify. Before getting to the 50% line, I thought this would be a nice new line in addition to the ‘regular’ Lego lines that could reel in those girls (and boys?) that simply found no appeal in the other stuff. This is also how I interpreted 50% at first read – 50% of the girls aren’t interested in Lego (which I thought would be a bit of a high estimate). Then it hit me what the line really conveyed. Not cool. I rather wish the Lego company had tried to take ideas from this line and incorporated them in the usual lines, as it is a fact that female characters and themes are under-represented in the regular lines. And that isn’t about being able to pretend a figure is a girl – it’s about how it is marketed and how welcome a female audience is made to feel. I guess that is a good part of why Paradisa appealed to me so much as a kid – the genders were done pretty evenly, whereas my big native island’s set’s sole female native figure quickly became one of my most precious lego pieces. 

  • Marc Johnson

    How are they going to sit in the cars and space ships? They dont have holes on the backside of their legs!

  • http://twitter.com/cell_at_sea Giselle Rodriguez

    As another girl who played with Lego as a kid, all I can remember is hating these tiny kits. When my brother and I were younger, we would build the sets and then promptly demolish them. I’m pretty sure we had a fleet of spaceships we had created ourselves. But you can’t do that when the only bricks you have are specialized for the set they came with… The castle edges used to give us a really hard time…

    But am I remembering incorrectly or was there already a “girl Lego” set? I remember having a set that had an ice-cream store on the bottom level and like a lighthouse? There were definitely pink bricks in there and it came on its own island-shaped building board. The ponytail hair that came with the girl who ran the joint was one of my favorite bricks ever. Now I could make all of my characters girls.

    And I’m pretty sure there have always been female Lego people…wasn’t one of the deep sea drill operators a woman? I still have her and her awesome dive suit…

  • Francesca M

    Wasn’t lego originally advertised so girls could be an architect and boys can be a builder? Wasn’t that their original schtick? It was originally a gender neutral toy, why not remember that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alice.tordoff Alice Tordoff

    Can people stop comparing this to Polly Pocket? The original Polly looked nothing like this although the current version (which does not fit in a child’s pocket) does.

  • Anonymous

    Paradisa wa the pink island series. Absolutely a great series, but never given a follow-up. Unlike pretty much every other theme.

    And yeah, the “one of” part is a problem here. There have always been female lego people, but outside of the Paradisa series and some of the City series, there is/was about one female figure per series, and usually she is/was only available in the larger sets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000500177841 Rachel Banzhaf

    I wish they’d just put together a package of random feminine minifig parts and let girls supplement the regular sets with that. Long hair and ponytails and hats-with-hair (it always bugged me I couldn’t use the Robin Hood hat with hair) and girly heads and so on. It’s hard to tell from the images provided but it doesn’t look like the parts can be swapped around like normal ones. 

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me that a lot of the ire here is from the idea that “These classic Lego toys are for boys, but here’s some pastel pink and pretty sets specifically for you girls.”

    To me this seems to be less about defining gender specific lines and more about widening the appeal to include kids who might be more attracted to this kind of traditionally “girly” appeal.

    My Goddaughter has always enjoyed playing with her brothers with the traditional Lego sets. She builds the kits as designed, disassembles them, puts them back together in whatever manner she wants, makes little stories about the minifigs and in general just has fun playing with a classic creative toy.

    My Nice on the other had wouldn’t touch those Lego blocks with a 10 foot pole. She’s much more interested in the whole Disney Princess, My Little Pony, Fashion Doll type of toys.
     If she happens to find these new line of Lego toys more appealing then I don’t really see the problem.

    Of course I’m a guy and neither of these girls are my kids so my opinion on this matter couldn’t count for less if I wanted it to…but still thems my two cents.

  • http://twitter.com/fireholly99 Holly

    Yes, I definitely agree. I think it’s fine having Girly Lego, but I would definitely like mainstream Lego to be marketed less genderedly. Unfortunately ‘genderless’ in popular culture just means ‘male’, so until that’s fixed, that’s not going to happen. And that’s not going to happen, until that’s fixed.

    Sexism is annoying, I am so bored of it.

  • Anonymous

    This is just me, but sometimes like this, when I see a fairly ubiquitous toy become “girlified,” I wonder if it’s less about marketing to girls and more about not losing the boys if they lose the primary color scheme.

    And, to be honest, there have been plenty of Lego systems in the past that have been marketed more to boys: The more advanced, industrial looking systems like Mindstorms were geared for boys and pictured boys. The licensed video games feature adventure-themed male heroes.

    But let’s look at this capitalistically: Boys aren’t going to STOP buying Legos because of this, and the girls who are currently playing with traditional Legos aren’t going to stop playing with them, so Lego is simply trying to create another brand to create another revenue stream.

    Is it bad for the self-image of girls, Probably, yeah. Will the line succeed over the long-term? Probably not. But I do understand why they made the decision. 

  • http://twitter.com/amongthegoblins K. Traylor

    To be fair, I would have wanted the hell out of these when I was little. Although I would have had more interest in regular Legos if there’d been more than a tiny smattering of female figurines in the sets my brothers had. (I could have had them if I’d wanted. I asked for Barbies and Ponies and Precious Places and Polly Pocket, instead…)

  • http://twitter.com/amongthegoblins K. Traylor

    Is there a gender-neutral section? A lot of toy departments are pretty clearly segregated.

  • Anonymous

    My 7 year old niece is getting Legos for Christmas. But just the 650 basic bricks bulk set. No dolls or kits for her. She specifically asked for the blocks because she’s working on a large project and needs them for construction.

    What I like about PlayMobile is even though they have boy dolls and girls dolls (and still, sadly, segregate them into stereotypical scenarios) you can switch the wigs and accessories around and make female pirates and male dog walkers pretty easily. The same niece just got a bunch new PlayMobile people from me for her birthday. The glow-in-the-dark zombie pirates were her favorite.

  • http://wpmututorials.com Andrea_R

    They already have lego sets with pink / pastel blocks.

  • http://wpmututorials.com Andrea_R

    “Over the years, Lego has had five strategic initiatives aimed at girls. Some failed because they misapprehended gender differences in how kids play. Others, while modestly profitable, didn’t integrate properly with Lego’s core products. Now, after four years of research, design, and exhaustive testing, Lego believes it has a breakthrough. On Dec. 26 in the U.K. and Jan. 1 in the U.S., Lego will roll out Lego Friends, aimed at girls 5 and up. …The company’s confidence is evident in the launch — a full line of 23 different products backed by a $40 million global marketing push. ”

    Did ayone else read this and think, “We think THIS will make us loads of cash!”

  • http://twitter.com/turkeycreaux Turkeycreaux

    There was also “Belville”, which I think you can still buy on the Shop Lego website.  IIRC, the set the have available is a pony riding adventure type set.

    TC

  • http://twitter.com/turkeycreaux Turkeycreaux

    This whole thing has got me thinking.  I’ve been raising my daughter on the ideal that “Toys are toys. ‘Boy toys’ and ‘Girl toys’ don’t exist.  If you like it, play with it.”  She’s got lots of Barbies and Princesses and My Little Ponies, but she also has quite a few matchbox cars and Transformers, and digs Batman and Darth Vader as much as her old man does, and plays with them all equally, much to my delight.  But after reading this, I began wondering if I’d show as much enthusiasm if I had a son that played with “girl toys”.  I wouldn’t forbid him from playing with Barbies, but on the same hand, I don’t think I’d be buying them for him for Christmas either. And the only reason I can come up with for that is that I don’t want him to be bullied by his peers because of it.

    So if I’m worried about that, why am I not worried about that for my daughter?  Wouldn’t she get picked on as well?  Is it different for girls?  Now that she’s started school, I have noticed that she’s picking up on the concept of gender specific toys and making more decisions based on that…am I really empowering her or just setting her up to be made fun of?

    TC

  • http://twitter.com/PhysicistLisa Lisa M

    meh i kinda disagree with you here. as someone who may or may not still play with lego sets at almost 30… you know with my niece or something… i feel they still really push integration with the bricks and larger playsets… this just looks like little rooms that go together in one way to play girly things. but as i said *looks like* i could be completely wrong about this and maybe the’yll be released with boxs of pink and teal legos for adding on and building and stuff. i dunno. this looks different to me but i haven’t played with the product so i could be completely wrong. 

  • http://twitter.com/PhysicistLisa Lisa M

    i mean… i can see the point that in a generation that has much more realistic toys, that kids might want to see a more realistic person to put in their legos, i don’t really know why this should have been exclusively marketed to girls though.  i think the concept of updating the legopeople would have gone over well with both genders.  except now it won’t because these will now be hte dolls of legos and they’ll be “for girls” sigh

  • Bill LaBarge

    I printed out pics of the lab set and showed them to my tween daughter who’s been playing with legos from Brio to  Bellville to Mindstorms since she was able to crawl.

    First impressions were “Cool Lab”  which was quickly followed by “too bad the figure sucks” and “why couldn’t they just had a regular girl minifig?”

    I’m going to be showing it to the First Lego team tonight, half of them are girls, and see what they say.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe that’s part of the problem.

  • http://nakedhobo.com/blog Glenn Buettner

    Dammit, now I want Legos that I can identify with as one of the few boys of the world that doesn’t have yellow skin.  Where’s my taller, more muscular Lego dude?  

  • http://twitter.com/JonathanLHoward Jonathan Howard

    My experience echoes Bill LaBarge’s; my daughter’s the same sort of age and has played with Lego since she was a toddler. She has built a Lego village in her room that is occasionally the scene of bizarre crimes carried out by her Harley Quinn minifig before Batgirl (a homebrew she created from a Batman minifig and a female minifig from a blind bag) comes to save the day. 

    She liked the laboratory, but strongly dislikes the new figures. In fact, she had a bit of a rant about Lego not understanding what’s so cool about their own product. I can’t disagree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kalynn-Osburn/100000209378615 Kalynn Osburn

     My mom bought me Lincoln Logs, Hot Wheels, Legos and all sorts of stuff that were considered “boy toys” and I never cared where they were from or if boys or girls were supposed to play with them. I liked them. I wanted to play with them. I also had a diecast fire truck I took everywhere with me. There is a picture in my house with my in a little pink frou frou dress with lace around the edges and boys and roses holding a big red diecast fire truck.

  • A Talbot

    I see absolutely no problem with the usual yellow figs…except they hardly make female versions. By that I mean female outfits and longer hair. I loved playing with Lego but I had to pretend some of my figs were female just because I had lost the ONE female wig I had. And I had an entire storage box full of Legos. Is that ridiculous or what? girls would play with them if there were more options. They don’t need newly styled figs. They need to start making sets that at least half the cast is female so that its less gender biased. I mean, would that really be too hard?

  • http://twitter.com/SE_Norred SE_Norred

    couldn’t put it better, friend!

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.ie/7fb

  • Paula Mould

    All the gender issues aside, and I’m not minimalizing them but you guys said it better, anyone notice how the new figures are not designed to the same scale as the original ones? So in addition to pinkifying our girls, they can’t even play with their brothers because the figures are incompatible. I am so not impressed. And so not buying this stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/AmazingWomen Amazing Women Rock

    What? There are “gender-neutral” sections in toy stores? I wish! The whole place should be gender neutral!

  • http://twitter.com/AmazingWomen Amazing Women Rock

    LOL :P & likely dead on :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=563223409 Vic Horsham

    I read it as “we didn’t integrate old girl-oriented lego items well into the core lego franchise.  Let’s fix it by making something even LESS able to be integrated into the core lego franchise!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504383964 Heather Anderson

    When I was young I was jealous of my other girl cousins because they had the huge Lego set that you could use to build houses, which I loved to do (guess I fit in the girls are architects stereotype).  Minifigures?  I didn’t care if there were any people in the set or not.
    When my son began playing with his own Legos, I went out of my way to buy the large sets that aren’t meant to be any one specific build.  As he got older he began asking for the kits, and also would ask for house and city building kits so “Mom can make the buildings”.  What a great kid! 

    All that said, I probably would have liked playing with the “girl” sets they’re releasing now, at a friend’s house.  But you can still get the nice big bins of assorted blocks and my heart will always lie with them.

  • http://twitter.com/DoctorOddfellow Doctor Oddfellow

    I’m hoping that these new minifigs will resemble the new Doctor Who minifigs. http://denimsblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/doctor-who-mini-figs.jpg I smell new Companion scenarios! <3

  • http://ladymercury-10.livejournal.com/ Maiasaura

    I dunno, the inventor playset where she’s building a robot makes me pretty happy.  There is a chalkboard with (fake) equations on it–not something you see often in toys for girls OR boys.  Yay science!

  • http://twitter.com/StephanieWarthe Stephanie Warthe

    Aaughhhh!!!! * Head-desk *

    I’ve always adored Lego, so something this stupid really pains me.

  • Anonymous

    nirl.eu/aR

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574502885 Marsella Lee

    there is one here (I’m in Australia) it’s the last aisle holds teddy bear’s and balls and bubbles and stuff i’m really confused why not just add more female names and carters to the normal set’s and online games and show girls in the adds?

  • Anonymous

    Ohhhhh barf barf barf barf. Barf. Ruining my childhood. RUINING.
    And to me this reeks of another urge to fix the women when a female doesn’t look the way she “should”. No hips or boobs? Let’s fix that!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574502885 Marsella Lee

    i didn’t like shearing my legos with my brother why? he hogged all the windows and stuff lol but that it not cause she didn’t a bumpy chest the boy ones didn’t have bumpy pants it was logo

  • Anonymous

    Why is the one on the magazine cover holding a disconnected head that is apparently not to scale?

    They immediately self sabotage by including in this campaign a very clear message that the existing legos (lego bricks) are not for girls. I definitely remember using the generic smiling face for female characters, so I do not like the implication that only freaky BratZ doll style minifigs can be girl toys. Do they at least pull apart? They’re not really lego people if you can’t make bizzarre cyborg creatures or trees of body parts.

    I think there’s just some inherent absurdity to gender coding plastic bricks. (this story has some rude language, but it’s cheering me up to remember it)  http://thebloggess.com/2008/08/so-i-got-a-box-in-the-mail-filled-with-80-body-parts/

  • Anonymous

    For God’s sake people, how can you talk about gender politics when that 1.8 inch tall monster is HOLDING A MINIFIG’S HEAD IN HER HAND!?!  Is this like the French Revolution for minifigures?  Are we going to see a mass cull of minifigs in the Great Makeover at the hands of our New Girly Overlords?

    THEY MUST BE STOPPED NO MATTER THE COST

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.ie/7fb

  • Aeva Ntsc

    Food for thought:

    The hips, waist, and chest all have roughly the same width; and that the shoulders are broader than the hips.  So either the figures are prepubescent, tweens, or adult males.  The gender cues come from how the figures are dressed and color choices; but otherwise they’re pretty androgynous.

    To illustrate my point, look at the picture above that has the robot in it.  Now, say we only change the colors of the clothing the character is wearing:
    purple sandal straps –> black sandal straps
    green pants with purple butterfly –> plain khaki colored pants
    orange top with heart -> solid black top or idk add a skull pattern or something

    Something different emerges!
    The print pattern for the face would only need to be adjusted slightly – maybe throw some stubble dots on that mug for good measure.

    The hair style could probably be changed; but I think that is fair game, since one’s hair style is more or less a conscious decision.

    Now I want to buy a set with that figure in it, and modify it to look like a boy =)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1188702941 Christine Mooers

    I played with Lego before we had people at all.  We have girl legos, just had to buy them as part of a set (Aunt May, Invisible Girl).  The real reason for Lego people is just to see how far you can launch them with the Lego catapults…at least that’s what my kids do with them…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=24404250 Margo Romanowski

    I like the Cleopatra better.

  • Em Singh

    Wish they would make some “stylized” lego men, too. Instead of trying to pink-afy everything, why not just make better commercials & gender neutral packaging.

  • Camille Guillot

    Am I the only one snickering at the name LadyFigs?  
    non è che ridondante?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=586041243 Natasha Glass

    Just what we need more toy to push gender sterotypes…. plus it looks like a damn Polly Pocket toy set! Aren’t there enough dolls and weren’t legos gender-neutral so why do this? This not only pushes gender sterotypes but it validates those idiotic statements that Legos are for boys!

  • Anonymous

    Oh dear… and what about girls who want to build machine with the lego technic? Hu? Are you going to make a “build your own iron” set?
    (I need to get back my box of lego technic…)

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.weller Rachel Weller

    As a kid I used to get the Lego magazine (which was really just an add) but they had sets with just hair and stuff, I think there was one just for girls. I never seemed to have a shortage of girl hairs though, mostly because I mostly got the city ones and the early Harry Potter legos.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alina-Grayson/100002154090953 Alina Grayson

    Maybe they ought to just make their sets more equal, like, with some female heroes! Plus, they already did this with their “Belville” line. Didn’t work.

  • http://twitter.com/brandyliane Brandy Buckingham

    That inventor’s workshop looks awesome and I want.

    I mean, yes, gender segregation is bad, obviously. But I guess I’m just not that attached to the classic minifies, because I think these ones are adorable. If my son were old enough for legos yet I’d be running to buy him Stephanie and her workshop, and maybe the vet. The color scheme is not so great, the gender-based marketing is worse. But the toys themselves? I kinda like.

  • Anonymous

    This whole split between boys and girls has been conscious effort by companies to make bigger profits–at the expense of kids who are paying the price by absorbing these very limiting messages. I wrote a blog, also, about Lego and Disney (per the new Princess Sofia that will be marketed to girls as young as two). 
    http://www.princessfreezone.com/pfz-blog/2011/12/15/lego-and-disney-are-lazy.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/Gorillazfan Emily Hill

    and now I have one more toy I can’t buy my niece I am sorry but not all girls are supermodel made

  • Konosanoke Joryiu

    There are a number of reasons I don’t like this. 1. Does this mean less focus on adding more standard female parts to the regular line of minifigs? I, am a male mind you, but I was never off-put by the female parts. I liked building little cities and populating them with minifigs, the more diverse the better. 2. Putting the two together, minifigs and this new… style is very jarring, I mean, just look at them, they look like two completely different toys. 3. …Why on top of making genders more separate, introducing nationalities? They were already neutral but now not only is the line being separated by gender, but nationality. They need black legos to sell to black kids? Asian legos to asians? White to white? I don’t even. Maybe I’m biased because as a child I could never relate. I’m of mixed descent and was never “accepted” as part of a nationality at school because I never exhibited the stereotypes associated with them. In fact toys that weren’t an offshoot version specifically created for a certain ethnic group interested me the most because I felt so disconnected with how they marketed the other ones. I just… well I can’t really put it into words, but it’s a bit upsetting. What was wrong with yellow minifigs? Lego was one of the few bastions of true toy neutrality and look at it now.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.ie/7fb

  • http://tmirai.deviantart.com/ Talia

    I played with legos as a child and never did I wish that they were more girly, nor was that ever a thought that crossed my mind. I had my barbies and my Littlest Pet Shop when I was feeling especially girly. I never longed for more femininely figured lego people. I even remember the Paradisa set, which I never wanted.

    Girls like Legos and want them, but there’s no reason that Lego has to go with the stereotypical “female-marketing” route by introducing settings of spas, vet clinics (seriously, is this the ONLY thing girls can be besides teachers?!), convertibles, and the like in order for them to more actively ask for them. I liked Legos because they didn’t pander to my gender. It was just fun to build and be imaginative, which is not inherently male or female, nor does it have to be for kids to want a toy.

  • http://twitter.com/phoebenorth Phoebe North

    This is way belated, but it’s clear that a lot of these reactions are knee-jerk and not, you know, based on the actual toy line. It’s clear that there’s at least as much building involved in these as any other lego kit; the blocks will all be compatible with regular legos; the minifigs are the same size and you can even use the same hair pieces and hats as you can with regular minifigs. There’s not only “girly” stuff like spas and bakeries but also tree houses, inventor shops, and ATVs. As a girl who played both with littlest pet shop dolls AND my lego castle, I think this is a great way to capture girls with all sorts of interests and get them into Lego.

    I do wish that there were more male figures in these sets (there’s one), and more female figures in regular lego. But there’s not. This is, at least, a step towards inclusivity. It beats bionicles–which were certain marketed in a gendered way, namely a way that excluded girls.

  • http://twitter.com/opus4me Jennifer Luchsinger

    It sickens me that once again the advertisors are trying to pigeonhole young girls and give them poor role models. How is sitting in a hot tub with a (fake) glass of (insert alcoholic beverage of your choice here) whatever supposed to show girls that they are valued, intrinsic, important contributing members of our world?

  • http://twitter.com/opus4me Jennifer Luchsinger

    Okay, folks…let’s just all agree that we will buy the nuetral sets of the primary colors….and let the kids’ imaginations fill in the blanks. That’s the whole idea. Then the Lego people get their money, and we get creative kids who can problem solve-with gender taken out of the equation.

  • http://twitter.com/swolasses Angela Reid

    I can just hear the team at LEGOS trying to justify this by saying they’re merely reflecting the realities of our society. But that is an irresponsible and short-sighted way to think. Especially when marketing to children. We marketers need to be courageous enough to take the high road, to elevate the conversation, to aspire to something better than easy clichés and status quo. Come on LEGOS, I know you can do it. Trust yourselves. Better still, trust your consumers. 

  • http://twitter.com/Meijhen_A Jenn C

    Except they are NOT compatible with existing sets (only the hair is), and they aren’t the same size.  Even the Duplo blocks are compatible with regular LEGO, but these aren’t.

  • Frodo Baggins

    God hates figs.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RASQYYYSAU5HG56QHJVISN7VLU Wraith

    You people are cynical pricks. My cousins adore these.

  • http://claimid.com/lewisgrubb Lewis

    Lego didn’t make your female children superficial and disinterested in their own imaginations.  You did.  Lego is just finally catching up to a couple decades of Disneyfication.  Blame yourselves.

  • http://twitter.com/_Rozax_ Jessica
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XTLN6LTYOMMIEIET2YCCF6V6SM Larry Lines

    My daughter loves the sets and pink and princesses and pirates and guns and toy hand grenades.  And there’s nothing wrong with her.

  • http://twitter.com/Lady_MoorWood Rebecca Hultz

    Why couldn’t they just introduce more female minifigs for their EXISTING sets and make it clear in ads and marketing that those are unisex?  I was never interested in the stuff they’re pushing as a girl and this stuff looks…boring, frankly.  It’s going to get “played” with once and then forgotten.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F7C74QACZLBSH7FQUJIVIVM7RQ Roxy M

    Do we get muscular crotch-bulge nice-butt beefcake Legos to go with these?
    Jokes aside, the marketing is sexist. As a young girl, I never stared at my Legos thinking, “Man, they need breasts.” And never did I want a set to be “pre-assembled.”

    It would have been smarter just to make the figures as individual sets that were size-and-color compatible with regular Legos. That way, they can wear all the Lego heads and bodies, and people could mix and match. Isn’t that the whole point of Legos?

  • Ann-marie Waters

    I can’t really see any stereotyping with these new lego sets and the mini-figures are in no way slutty like Bratz for instance.

    Amusing review on Lego friends here:

    http://canidoit.org/new-lego-friends-review-heartlake-or-heartache

  • http://twitter.com/LegoMyMamma LegoMyMamma

    Jill, you fail to give proper attribution to the image you are using in regard to the new “mini-dolls” in your biased spin on the theme:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/60445953@N08/6714726255/in/photostream

    Re-spinning mis-information isn’t very “Mary Sue” in historical terms.

  • http://twitter.com/LegoMyMamma LegoMyMamma

    Since when is a little girl’s Splash Pool a hot tub?  Surely the sides would melt from the heat.  This is your “journalism” to re-name products to your own agenda?

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Thank you for bringing that to my attention, the lack of attribution was not malicious. It has now been linked to the photographer’s Flickr page.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    “Surely the sides would melt from the heat.” Oh, LOL, reality in Legos.

  • http://twitter.com/LegoMyMamma LegoMyMamma

    Well, yeah, why not?  If The Mary Sue premise is that “in reality” girls may be harmed by the new focus on girls by TLG, my use of toy-meet-reality prose merely illustrates your incorrect product name in the caption.

  • http://thebrickblogger.com/ TheBrickBlogger

    Sooner or later this had to happen! Our Friend are not safe in the hands of adult LEGO fans! But seriously, these are awesome! http://thebrickblogger.com/2012/01/lego-friends-undergo-plastic-surgery/

  • Anonymous

    WTF is wrong with you people.  This whole “political correct” stuff has got to stop.  Women are different then men in physique…it’s a fact.  Young girls like to to “girl things” while boys like to do “boy things.”  It’s like your trying to make men and women not what they truly are.  You people really have too much time on your hands.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see “protruding breasts”. Where, on their backs? And, have you NOT ever sat in a hot tub with a drink. Or, are you always too busy running huge corporations and ordering thousands of men around?

  • Håkan Storsäter

    Actuallly, the Playmobil characters appeared four years before the Lego minifig, so the ripoff claim is a bit shaky.

    And Lego Friends is based on the same system as all other regular Lego sets so there’s no problem mixing it up with everything else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wendy-Coon/1480849272 Wendy Coon

    2.5 year old niece and I had plenty of fun building a big house with age appropriate legos (box of blocks with one of the princess sets and one of the farm sets) Best part? Stuffing the various figures in the windows and watching the seven foot tower fall because I didn’t have enough blocks to stablize the tower because all I had left were the square legos. She didn’t care which blocks she used nor did she favor the princess figures– her favorite was the cow from the farm set.

    As a child myself I remember using my legos to build things. Occasionally it was furniture or houses for my barbies but just as frequently my sister and I had fun tower building contests (build the biggest tower we could without having it collapse) or using the blocks to build sculptures (I did a pretty good man in a chair and sphinx)