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Friends "Controversy"


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Poll: Friends Controversy (514 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you like the LEGO Friends line?

  1. Yes (375 votes [73.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 73.39%

  2. No (136 votes [26.61%])

    Percentage of vote: 26.61%

Do you think the LEGO Friends line is too "effeminite" in appearance?

  1. Yes (189 votes [36.99%])

    Percentage of vote: 36.99%

  2. No (322 votes [63.01%])

    Percentage of vote: 63.01%

How could LEGO improve this "problem?"

  1. I answered "No." I don't see any need for improvement. (218 votes [21.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.35%

  2. Make building more challenging (65 votes [6.37%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.37%

  3. Make monster trucks with female drivers (34 votes [3.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.33%

  4. Make monster trucks in pink (25 votes [2.45%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.45%

  5. Make houses in neutral colors (104 votes [10.19%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.19%

  6. Just let girls play with the other lines. Can't girls like construction without animals, lipstick and brighter colors? (80 votes [7.84%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.84%

  7. The sets are fine, but why are the minifigs different? (186 votes [18.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.22%

  8. Diversify other lines in theme (77 votes [7.54%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.54%

  9. Diversify other lines with more female characters (159 votes [15.57%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.57%

  10. Diversify other lines with brighter colors that appeal to boys and girls (73 votes [7.15%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.15%

Which of the above issues affects your stance on this product the most?

  1. I answered "No." I don't see any need for improvement. (209 votes [40.82%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.82%

  2. Make building more challenging (21 votes [4.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.10%

  3. Make monster trucks with female drivers (3 votes [0.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.59%

  4. Make monster trucks in pink (6 votes [1.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.17%

  5. Make houses in neutral colors (27 votes [5.27%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.27%

  6. Just let girls play with the other lines. Can't girls like construction without animals, lipstick and brighter colors? (36 votes [7.03%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.03%

  7. The sets are fine, but why are the minifigs different? (125 votes [24.41%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.41%

  8. Diversify other lines in theme (21 votes [4.10%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.10%

  9. Diversify other lines with more female characters (52 votes [10.16%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.16%

  10. Diversify other lines with brighter colors that appeal to boys and girls (12 votes [2.34%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.34%

What is your expertise on the subject?

  1. I have studied sociology (59 votes [8.69%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.69%

  2. I have studied child development (52 votes [7.66%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.66%

  3. I am just an opinionated AFOL with no credentials in marketing or child development (332 votes [48.90%])

    Percentage of vote: 48.90%

  4. I have studied consumer product research (37 votes [5.45%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.45%

  5. I have studied marketing (53 votes [7.81%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.81%

  6. I am a parent (146 votes [21.50%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.50%

How do your children respond to the LEGO Friends line?

  1. I do not have children (338 votes [62.02%])

    Percentage of vote: 62.02%

  2. I have a daughter who likes the Friends sets (60 votes [11.01%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.01%

  3. I have a daughter who doesn't like the Friends sets (13 votes [2.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.39%

  4. I have a daughter who likes the Friends sets and sets meant for boys (59 votes [10.83%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.83%

  5. I have a son who likes the Friends sets (27 votes [4.95%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.95%

  6. I have a son who doesn't like the Friends sets (24 votes [4.40%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.40%

  7. I have many children who all have different reactions to the Friends line (24 votes [4.40%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.40%

Do you consider LEGO to be a unisex toy?

  1. Yes (341 votes [68.61%])

    Percentage of vote: 68.61%

  2. No (40 votes [8.05%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.05%

  3. It used to be, it's not now (52 votes [10.46%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.46%

  4. It has always been a toy primarily for boys (64 votes [12.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 12.88%

Do you think keeping Friends promoted only among girls toys in store and not with LEGO will reinforce the impression that LEGO is a boys toy in general?

  1. Yes (304 votes [61.17%])

    Percentage of vote: 61.17%

  2. No (193 votes [38.83%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.83%

Do sets marketed specifically to girls enforce the idea that the other sets are meant only for boys?

  1. Yes (276 votes [55.53%])

    Percentage of vote: 55.53%

  2. No (221 votes [44.47%])

    Percentage of vote: 44.47%

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#1 Derek

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 07:59 PM

I found this article/video on the frontpage of Yahoo today. I thought it was interesting to get such a drastically different insight on the line that wasn't just parts-hungry AFOL's  :laugh:

Web Not Happy About New Line of Lego for Girls

Do you agree with it? I understand the points being made about Lego being gender neutral, but it is obvious that a majority of lines such as Ninjago and Star Wars are blatantly aimed at boys.

-Derek

(P.S. I almost posted this in the Friends discussion thread, but I figured that it would be best to keep that as a discussion of the sets themselves)

Edit by Hinckley: Adding further reference links

Businessweek: (cover story) LEGO is for Girls

Ology.com: LEGO Friends are LEGOs(sic) for Girls

AfterEllen.com: Feminist Friday

New York Times: Should the World of Toys be Gender Free?

(Not necessarily LEGO-related) Discover Magazine: How not to market science to girls

View PostIgnited_Impulse, on 20 September 2010 - 01:51 AM, said:

Dude, you've got a Final Fantasy sig and you're on a lego forum....arguing about elves. Try not to think you're some cool guy because you don't play D&D
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#2 sharky

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:35 PM

I wouldn't put too much stock in all the "lashing" out.  It's easy enough to do on the internet these days.  I don't see what the big deal is.  Is it a crime for a girl to like a lot of pastel and pink?  Funny you don't see a lot of lashing out when a boy's toy is colored blue?  Have these people ever been down a toy aisle of girl toys?  The entire aisle is pink and pastel.  I don't see why Lego should be singled out now for doing it.  Bottom line, I think this theme will attract a lot of new Lego fans and the choice of colors will appeal to a majority of girls.  From the other articles I've read Lego did in fact spend a great deal of time and effort in market analysis to come up with this theme.  If there were already all these tons and tons of girl Lego fans then the need for a girls oriented theme wouldn't even come up for debate.

Edited by sharky, 16 December 2011 - 08:37 PM.


#3 HighFlyer

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:41 PM

LEGO have often been criticised of their products being mainly based and designed for boys, so I think that the "Friends" line is great, and it should attract new buyers to LEGO.
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#4 autobrick

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:57 PM

The way I see it, TLC is damned if they do and damned if they don't when it comes to creating a theme catered to girls. Two scenarios:

The Lego company releases a theme that appeals to girls' stereotypical tastes (pastel colours, hair salons and bakeries, the things you would find in the girls' aisle in any toy shop and tend to sell well, why wouldn't the Lego company create a theme with subjects/colour scheme that have a proven track record?).
Response of critics: The Lego company is sexist; don't they know that girls like things that aren't pink and girly?

The Lego company doesn't release a theme for girls.
Response of critics: The Lego company is sexist; why else would they ignore 50% of the population?

Of course, there is the 'AFOL solution', which is to increase the number of female minifigs, create more civilian buildings and possibly create a theme similar to Paradisa.
Response of critics: :cry_happy: :wub:

Some people need to stop making a big deal out of everything.

Edited by autobrick, 16 December 2011 - 09:02 PM.


#5 lightningtiger

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:13 PM

The problem is the figures, not the colour.....it's that they are not minifigs, I have been told Lego had been researching this product for over half a decade. Only time will tell, but now with Lego spreading it's wings in the Licensed area will this mean that if Friends doesn't do well real quick it would get tossed......remember an odd thing, when the first images of the Friends key-rings appeared briefly that on the tag were the words Warner Bros and we know about Ninjago as a TV series so perhaps maybe......? :wink:

#6 Dakar A

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:21 PM

This is just like anything else on the Internet. On YouTube, 99% of the comments are either rude, hatefull or vulgar. The sad fact is that the Internet gives people a wall to hide behind, allowing them to hide behind a wall of anonymity. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I thought I'd share my point of view. :tongue:

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#7 Ralph_S

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:30 PM

Businessweek have an interesting article on the Friends line. It deals exactly with the issues that some of the people in the comments in the page linked to in the original post were about

The Lego Friends team is aware of the paradox at the heart of its work: To break down old stereotypes about how girls play, it risks reinforcing others. “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, Eliot is the author of Pink Brain Blue Brain, a 2009 survey of hundreds of scientific papers on gender differences in children. “Especially on television, the advertising explicitly shows who should be playing with a toy, and kids pick up on those cues,” Eliot says. “There is no reason to think Lego is more intrinsically appealing to boys.”

from: http://www.businessw...s-12142011.html

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#8 Lordofdragonss

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:44 PM

Quote

Past- THER IZ NO LEGO FUR GURLZ!

Now: OMG! LEGO FOR GRLZ, WHO WILL BUY THEEEEZEEE?


Ehh.. People nation are realy stupid nowadays, and this is very sad. They don't know what they want.
Seriously? he don't wanted a PINK pieces when he was a kid?  I was a kid who N was in need of those, because I wanted to make nicer cakes...
We all know the Lego is for everyone, and sets are only for looking nice and for collectors. Even when we were young we mixed pieces togheter!
I don't care, I love new theme- great pieces for great prices.

Edited by Lordofdragonss, 16 December 2011 - 09:46 PM.

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#9 lightningtiger

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 09:45 PM

What a can of worms eh ? :laugh:
Well, I don't mind this Pocket Polly idea.....it should bring in more girls that wouldn't normally play with Lego. But already girls love City.....simply as girls love role play games....but generally based on either princess fantasy or more often real life.....playing dress ups, making their own shops or trying make-up...playing mum's and dad's with a baby doll. Hence the style of Friends including a family home with a mum, a dorky dad (looks like he has as much hair as me :laugh: ) and a girl in her teens.
Just like we are having the LOTR debate over if it's good or bad for the castle/kingdom's theme, it appears we are having the same for this product. :wink:

#10 Otherworld

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:16 PM

Wow, I can't believe it. Yesterday I saw LEGO's post about the new friends theme in Facebook, all the comments were like "Ohh they're not yellow minifigures anymore! This isn't LEGO!" And similar stuff. They think this is how LEGO is going to be from now on, but we already had Belville which didn't look like LEGO either. Like 99.98% of them have the wrong idea.

#11 Hinckley

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:17 PM

Awesome topic!! When my flight lands I will front page it.

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#12 Otherworld

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:35 PM

Wow, this will be the Bloomberg Businessweek magazine cover o.O

http://www.businessweek.com/

Edited by Otherworld, 16 December 2011 - 10:36 PM.


#13 stacker9000

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:40 PM

My ten year old daughter is very excited about these sets, and I am thrilled for her interest in them. She has always played with LEGO, and now she can have her own, softer version of sets to play with.

I personnaly think these are a excellent production by LEGO, And far superior to the BELLVILLE line. And, I think more colors (whether pastel or pink) is a welcome addition.

So, Thank You LEGO!!!
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#14 Speedy

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:50 PM

I didn't watch the video, but I can easily imagine the content.  The lame-ness of "girls LEGO" was the first thing I thought when I saw it.  At the same time, as a parent of a daughter who plays with LEGO, my wife is always attracted to the Purple girls' bucket, and perks up when she sees Belville sets.  

LEGO didn't use to be like that though.  Until the introduction of Castle and Space, it was very much gender neutral.   I think it's fair to say, stuff like Pirates and Star Wars is boy-targeted.

Posted Image

As a profit oriented move, I totally understand it.  Gender based marketing is pretty crucial for toy companies.  If you go to any Toys R Us in the world, the store is divided by gender, except the educational stuff and board games.

But, as a parent in the 21st century, I find it pretty lame, and will avoid the series when shopping for li'l def.  I still consider LEGO one of the few toys that is gender neutral.

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#15 lorax

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:40 PM

When I was growing up I had lots of lego to play with.  But it was originally bought for my older brothers.  

Generally my girl friends at school didn't have Lego, unless they had older brothers.  Most of the females I talk to now about my hobby (non AFOLs) didn't have Lego growing up.

It may have been made 'unisex' but it was still largely considered a boys toy in the families I know (so only anecdotal evidence).  But Lego has so much to offer girls in encouraging creative, dynamic and interesting play.  So I think the Friends theme is brilliant, the sets themselves are very 'brick' focused unlike belville but with figures that more girls will find attractive.  

I really think that Lego is brilliant for a child's development, and if more girls build it is a brilliant outcome (for Lego, for our girls and for me (who will have access to more colours and pieces).

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#16 fred67

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:44 PM

Everything's a controversy.  You can't make everybody happy.  Even LOTR is now a controversy.

TLG can't win for trying... if they just release plain old building sets, they get slammed for being too much for boys; if they try some things to attract girls they are accused of being patronizing.

#17 -zenn

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:49 PM

About the figs, I've got one thing to say...

Posted Image

Polly Pocket rip off. :sceptic:  Too bad they aren't real minifigs.
But in a financial point of view I can understand why they did...

Edited by -zenn, 16 December 2011 - 11:54 PM.

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#18 vexorian

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 11:50 PM

Of course it is stereotypical. And you know what? Boys themes are stereotypical too.

I just cannot get why 'normal' themes cannot have a single mirror. God forbids if we put a puppy in a city theme. And of course, the color schemes have to be drastically different too. Pink does not exist in 'normal' themes. Whereas it must be present in every single Friends set.

The stereotypes will begone once LEGO begins marketing all or most their sets to both genders.

#19 UsernameMDM

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 12:07 AM

Are any of the complaints coming from the target audience?  

Just face it, most little girls like girly things.  Just ask mine and all of their friends.

View Postfred67, on 16 December 2011 - 11:44 PM, said:

TLG can't win for trying... if they just release plain old building sets, they get slammed for being too much for boys; if they try some things to attract girls they are accused of being patronizing.

I think their bank account says they are winning!

#20 Speedy

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 12:18 AM

View Postfred67, on 16 December 2011 - 11:44 PM, said:

TLG can't win for trying... if they just release plain old building sets, they get slammed for being too much for boys; if they try some things to attract girls they are accused of being patronizing.
Really?  Is the City line slammed for being for boys?  This is the first I've heard of it.  I've only ever heard of TLG being slammed for patronizing girls with pink bricks.

View Postvexorian, on 16 December 2011 - 11:50 PM, said:

Of course it is stereotypical. And you know what? Boys themes are stereotypical too.

I just cannot get why 'normal' themes cannot have a single mirror. God forbids if we put a puppy in a city theme. And of course, the color schemes have to be drastically different too. Pink does not exist in 'normal' themes. Whereas it must be present in every single Friends set.

The stereotypes will begone once LEGO begins marketing all or most their sets to both genders.
Agreed.  They are mostly there with the general themes.  (Duplo, City, block buckets), but the licensed stuff is only as gender targeted as the product in question; ie. superheroes are aimed at ten year old boys in the States, so the LEGO is too.

But I think it's fair to say LEGO has made backwards progress on this topic as the decades move on.  The early ads showed boys and girls, and, as the detestable ads they use these days show, they consider their target audience to be boys now.  I'm sure the majority of the market share is boys, but by relegating girls to the margins, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Why can't we have an obnoxious girl to hate as much as this prick?
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#21 Lordofdragonss

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 12:31 AM

I still wondering- Why Lego can't make a theme like Paradisa again? It was perfect, and with some new pieces- it could be a hit!

And about Friends: They could do excatly same sets, but with minifigs and put it as City theme. WHY they didn't?
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#22 Mooch

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 12:38 AM

View PostLordofdragonss, on 17 December 2011 - 12:31 AM, said:

And about Friends: They could do excatly same sets, but with minifigs and put it as City theme. WHY they didn't?

From the Business Week article...

Quote

from the moment it became clear that if the company were serious about appealing to girls, it would have to do something about its boxy minifigure, its 4-centimeter plastic man with swiveling legs, a yellow jug-head, and a painted-on face. “Let’s be honest: Girls hate him,” says Mads Nipper, the executive vice-president for products and markets
and

Quote

The key difference between girls and the ladyfig and boys and the minifig was that many more girls projected themselves onto the ladyfig—she became an avatar. Boys tend to play with minifigs in the third person. “The girls needed a figure they could identify with, that looks like them,” says Rosario Costa, a Lego design director.


#23 UsernameMDM

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 12:39 AM

View Postdef, on 17 December 2011 - 12:18 AM, said:

But I think it's fair to say LEGO has made backwards progress on this topic as the decades move on.

Statements like this make me want to slam my head against my keyboard.  What is wrong with little girls (or females in general) wanting to be girly/feminine?  

View PostLordofdragonss, on 17 December 2011 - 12:31 AM, said:

WHY they didn't?

100% sure because the target audience likes polly pocket type dolls more than blocky minifigs.

I am willing to bet that Lego did tons of market research into this line, and they found out girls want to play with girly things.

Now everyone just get over that fact of life and move on.

#24 Hikaro Takayama

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 12:59 AM

*Headdesk* Boy, there are relatively few times when I've seen such a clear case of did not do the freaking research combined with the feminist extremist attitude that real women don't wear dresses! :angry:

Oh, really promoting stereotypical "feminine" roles and behavior? I guess they didn't bother looking at Olivia's Treehouse or Olivia's Inventor's Workshop, both of which, are, you know, more sterotypically BOYS activities (if you want to be sexist about things).... Granted Olivia seems to be the tomboy of the group, but still she's got a FREAKING ROBOT that she BUILT HERSELF and a chalkboard COVERED WITH PHYSICS EQUATIONS!  As an electronics engineer, I'm all for ANYTHING that encourages girls to get into engineering, even if it IS pink and lavender! :laugh:

...Not to mention that I like the new hair pieces and animals they're introducing with these sets (I'm definitely getting Olivia's Treehouse and Stephanie's Cool Convertable for those exact reasons).

Sheesh!  People should at least do some research before whining about stuff!  Of course, you do have to keep the whole G.I.F.T. factor in mind when looking at anything dealing with internet opinion polls...... :wink:

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Edited by Hikaro Takayama, 17 December 2011 - 01:01 AM.

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#25 Speedy

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 01:07 AM

View PostUsernameMDM, on 17 December 2011 - 12:39 AM, said:

Statements like this make me want to slam my head against my keyboard.  What is wrong with little girls (or females in general) wanting to be girly/feminine?  
:wall: Try not to give yourself a headache as you slam it  :sweet: There is no genetic disposition for the female to like pink and purple.  It is a gender role that people learn to fulfill.  Is pink feminine?  NO.   Is blue masculine?  NO.  That is a contemporary invention. Here is the quickest thing a Google search came up with.
http://www.straightd...-blue-for-girls

Quote

For years one camp claimed pink was the boys' color and blue the girls'. A 1905 Times article said so, and Parents magazine was still saying it as late as 1939.
So, what you call "wanting to be girly", I call, imitating other kids.  It's all arbitrary.  

Likewise, pre-teen girls dressing 'slutty' usually has no sexual implications with them, it's just a form of imitation.

So, nothing is wrong with girls wanting to be girly.  Something is wrong with companies promoting a small minded view of what being a girl means.  In toy-terms, it means boys like building, jobs (construction, military, police, fire fighters) and generally active things, and girls like fashion, homemaking, and generally non-active things.  A company can simply target the lowest common denominator, or they can be a market leader.  I think LEGO was really a world leader in the 20th century, and though they are the most profitable now, I think they have a lot of unremarkable business practices coming to the fore these days.  This is certainly one.

You can chalk 'Friends' up to genetic disposition, but I would class it more of humans' tendency to imitate, which is the basis of society.

Quote

100% sure because the target audience likes polly pocket type dolls more than blocky minifigs.

I am willing to bet that Lego did tons of market research into this line, and they found out girls want to play with girly things.

Now everyone just get over that fact of life and move on.
Again, if you think girls inherently liking Polly Pockets is a fact of life, I hope you never raise a daughter, with such a limiting point of view.

Girls have enough negative, restricting influences on them in this world already, without parents to reinforce such a world-view.

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