Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Not ashamed to admit that we are friends with the new Lego "Friends" series

Lego has a new series. It's called "Friends" and it's clearly marketed to girls. And this has a lot of people really up in arms. I mean, it's all the buzz in the blogosphere and on Facebook. And quite frankly, it's starting to really piss me off. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. But for crying outloud... people are boycotting Lego. The buzz about "Friends" has been so negative that I fear it's drowning out anything positive that people are saying out there about the series. I refuse to give any additional attention to this mind set by linking up to any of the things I've read. All I care to do here is present our side. Our argument for why we love this new series. And how we can love the sets, buy them, build them, and play with them but still be intelligent, interesting people who can think for themselves.

I figured the best way to handle this was to go straight to the biggest "Friends" fan in the house, my daughter Ronin. I have interviewed her and here is a transcript of that interview. My questions are in bold and Ronin's answers are below.

Do you have any of the Friends Lego sets?
Yes, I have two of them.

Which ones do you have?
The singing music one and the bakery.

How did you get them?
I bought them for myself at Target because I have a ton of money. I'm the richest one in the house. (This is true)

What do you think of them?
Seriously, they are awesome.

What makes them awesome?
Because both of them have hobbies that I like.

How did you feel about Lego before the "Friends" set?
I didn't really like them.

Why didn't you like them?
The other sets were related to things that I was not interested in and they were too difficult. (She knows this because her brother has many sets.)

Do you think that you might be interested in the upcoming Lord of the Rings series?
Yeah. ( I asked this because I knew that she likes LOTR.)

How do you feel about the way that the Friends are dressed?
They aren't inappropriate. They are probably wearing tank tops and skirts because it is the middle of summer.

Some people feel that Lego made a mistake and a bad choice when they made the Friends series. What do you think about that?
That's pretty cruel because I think they are the best Lego sets ever.

In this video she shows us one of her sets.

I decided to also get a boy's point of view. So I interviewed Hunter.

You're a big fan of Lego right?
Uh huh.

What do you think of the Friends series?
They're okay. It's cool that they are making big sets too.

If your sister didn't buy them, would you like to buy them for yourself?
Maybe a few.

Which ones would you like to have?
Probably the big house. If I had a lot of the girls I'd get the house and they could all live together in the house.

Are you glad that your sister enjoys Lego now?

One of my fellow unschooling friends decided to ask her girls about the series as well. Fourteen year old Mindie stated the following: "Well, I like that they have sets now that aren't focused so much around battle and stuff like that. It's about stuff I like like hanging out with my friends."

I think that Mindie raises an excellent point. Not that I have a problem with it, but hasn't Lego been marketing to one specific gender for years? Aren't most of their products going to appeal to boys more often than they would appeal to girls?

Is it truly bad or wrong or sexist of Lego to create a series of building sets that happen to appeal to girls who want to build with Lego but who haven't been very attracted to them before?

Is it okay for mothers and women to be sending the message to young girls that it's somehow not okay to be interested in stereotypical female activities and hobbies? Isn't this limiting and invalidating them as much as it once was to send the message to girls that they couldn't work outside of the home, hold public office, vote, fight in a war...?

Is my daughter dumb, brainwashed, or buying into a stereotype simply because she prefers these sets to the helicopters, Harry Potter, and alien sets?

I know that when I was a little girl, I believed that Legos were for boys. They just weren't even on my radar. Perhaps something like the "Friends" series would have helped me become interested in them, allowing me to become exposed to Lego in a way in which I was comfortable... and improving my math and spatial skills in the long run.

One thing that I'd like to see happen for this series is the addition of more male minifigs. We've already established that it's marketed to girls, but it might be nice if there were a few more male characters to help encourage the meeting of the genders. Also, I've always thought that it would be cool if Ken, Barbie's man, had a few friends to hang out with. So the little Lego minifig dude might like another dude to go do dude stuff with... or not dude stuff. There might be little boys out there who don't like "battles" and prefer to play with toys in a way similar to the way that girls tend to play. Those boys might enjoy additional male characters as well.

And of course, let's address color. I do believe that it would be practical, beneficial, and the opposite of sexist if Lego would create some generic building block tubs with all of the colors. For instance, Hunter has the blue tub. It's filled with primary colors. Ronin has the pink tub. It's got "girl" colors in it... whatever that means. But I feel like it would be a move in the right direction if Lego would create a set that included all of the colors. And more orange all around both of my kids say!

So, I want to hear from you. What do you think of the Lego series "Friends"? Better yet, what do you think of the hoopla and controversy surrounding these new toys? Is this a positive step in the right direction for Lego and little girls? Or has Lego created a generation of future idiot prostitutes living on welfare?

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  1. I dont think they marketed to "boys" when I was growing up. I dont remember the "boys sets". I just remembered BLOCK in which I built random stuff with. I think they should have more of those.

    22 y/o female

  2. I totally agree with you! Why is it anti-feminist to encourage a girls choice to like girly things? I thought the feminist movement was about giving women/girls MORE CHOICES, not about controlling their choices toward the new extreme. All the hoopla is just crazy to me. And, my daughter's birthday is next month, and she's getting a set of pink Legos. The end.

  3. I was surprised and couldn't really understand why anyone would find this set upsetting. It's cute and after showing it to my (unschooled)girls, they want to go and pick up a few too.

    When creating something, there has to be a market. Do we find it sexist when on commercials all the people wearing bras are women? "How dare they suggest only *women* wear bras?!" Of course that's extreme but seriously, take a look at the product page over at, most of it is geared towards boys. It's about time they *tried* to pull in girls. I played with them when I was younger but only with my boy cousin. I loved our battles but it would have been cool if (like another teen unschooling girl said) we could have gone to the cafe after a battle.

  4. I think both sides of this issue have very valid points. What I think I would like to see is something not so gender specific. Just make legos and lego kits and lets just market them to children minus the gender divide. Since my first two children were the same gender we've always had the same toys. Since my daughter was born, family members are buying pink dolls and the like (which is fine) but there's nothing wrong with her playing with our massive train table or building lego creations with our primary colored legos just like there is nothing wrong with my boys wanting to care for the new baby dolls in the house or Solomon wanting to pick out princess books at the library. I think it's the labeling that has me confused, but not angry. I want my daughter AND my sons to be able to look at every aisle in the toy store as a potential toy for them and not see the "color" division. That being said, I believe there is a difference in men and women. (insert gasps and "can you believe she said that" here) I mean, scientifically our make up is DIFFERENT. Any way you spin it, XX and XY are two different things......testosterone and estrogen are two different things. So do I think genders may divide naturally, SURE! But I'd like to let it happen naturally and leave the marketing out of it so the ones who might think a little differently or be interested in other things might not feel so "different". Shew. Sorry to take up your entire page! Great discussion!

  5. AMEN sista! Preach it! I took a picture of my girlies spending their hard earned money on "Friends" sets and am planning on e-mailing it to Lego, THANKING them for making so fun and creative. My girls have also played with Legos for a couple of years now, and they SO APPRECIATE having more "girl" characters to play with now...

  6. As a mother of boys as well as girls, I have noticed that, when given the chance, boys WILL choose "BOY" stuff (balls, legos etc) and girls WILL choose "GIRL" stuff (dolls, makeup, etc). It is not anti-feminist to be a girly girl! I fight in pink gloves!

  7. I understand why Lego has marketed sets towards girls... frankly, I think it's way overdue. And I understand why they are primarily in "girl" colors - I think it's because the people who buy toys for girls usually just buy pink stuff. As a longtime Lego-loving girl though, I had some awesome sets as a kid (which I still have): a police station, a motorcycle shop, a robin hood set, space station, etc. and they were all just plain awesome. Whatever gets more kids playing Legos is a good thing, but I agree with the other commenters that they would be better combined all together than to be making such a clear divide between the sexes. My biggest problem with the "Friends" sets, though, is the character figures. The standard Lego minifig is perfection! Why would they mess with that?!

  8. It's been YEARS since I bought Lego sets as my 5 kids are now all adults, my bonus daughter has absolutely no interest and my Grandbaby is only 3, so I went to look thru what's now available. I agree with what someone above's not sexist to support a girls choice to play with or gravitate to stereo-typical "girl" colors, toys or whatever. I had a daughter that LOVED pink, dresses and considered herself a princess... all with scabbed knees, carrying a frog and dirt smeared all over her. From looking at the Lego sets, they did seem to me to be geared towards typical "boy" interests. I am glad to see the the Friends line being brought out.... as it not only opens up options for girls.. but for the BOYS since it is NOT just the girls that need to be free to chose. I am also THRILLED to see the Archecture sets which WOULD have interested my oldest!!


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