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Friends "Controversy"


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Poll: Friends Controversy (519 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you like the LEGO Friends line?

  1. Yes (377 votes [73.06%])

    Percentage of vote: 73.06%

  2. No (139 votes [26.94%])

    Percentage of vote: 26.94%

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

  1. Yes (192 votes [37.21%])

    Percentage of vote: 37.21%

  2. No (324 votes [62.79%])

    Percentage of vote: 62.79%

How could LEGO improve this "problem?"

  1. I answered "No." I don't see any need for improvement. (219 votes [21.18%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.18%

  2. Make building more challenging (67 votes [6.48%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.48%

  3. Make monster trucks with female drivers (34 votes [3.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.29%

  4. Make monster trucks in pink (25 votes [2.42%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.42%

  5. Make houses in neutral colors (106 votes [10.25%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.25%

  6. Just let girls play with the other lines. Can't girls like construction without animals, lipstick and brighter colors? (82 votes [7.93%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.93%

  7. The sets are fine, but why are the minifigs different? (187 votes [18.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.09%

  8. Diversify other lines in theme (78 votes [7.54%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.54%

  9. Diversify other lines with more female characters (162 votes [15.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 15.67%

  10. Diversify other lines with brighter colors that appeal to boys and girls (74 votes [7.16%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.16%

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. (210 votes [40.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.62%

  2. Make building more challenging (22 votes [4.26%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.26%

  3. Make monster trucks with female drivers (3 votes [0.58%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.58%

  4. Make monster trucks in pink (6 votes [1.16%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.16%

  5. Make houses in neutral colors (27 votes [5.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.22%

  6. Just let girls play with the other lines. Can't girls like construction without animals, lipstick and brighter colors? (38 votes [7.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.35%

  7. The sets are fine, but why are the minifigs different? (125 votes [24.18%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.18%

  8. Diversify other lines in theme (21 votes [4.06%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.06%

  9. Diversify other lines with more female characters (53 votes [10.25%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.25%

  10. Diversify other lines with brighter colors that appeal to boys and girls (12 votes [2.32%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.32%

What is your expertise on the subject?

  1. I have studied sociology (61 votes [8.88%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.88%

  2. I have studied child development (52 votes [7.57%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.57%

  3. I am just an opinionated AFOL with no credentials in marketing or child development (334 votes [48.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 48.62%

  4. I have studied consumer product research (38 votes [5.53%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.53%

  5. I have studied marketing (54 votes [7.86%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.86%

  6. I am a parent (148 votes [21.54%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.54%

How do your children respond to the LEGO Friends line?

  1. I do not have children (341 votes [62.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 62.00%

  2. I have a daughter who likes the Friends sets (62 votes [11.27%])

    Percentage of vote: 11.27%

  3. I have a daughter who doesn't like the Friends sets (13 votes [2.36%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.36%

  4. I have a daughter who likes the Friends sets and sets meant for boys (59 votes [10.73%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.73%

  5. I have a son who likes the Friends sets (27 votes [4.91%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.91%

  6. I have a son who doesn't like the Friends sets (24 votes [4.36%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.36%

  7. I have many children who all have different reactions to the Friends line (24 votes [4.36%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.36%

Do you consider LEGO to be a unisex toy?

  1. Yes (344 votes [68.53%])

    Percentage of vote: 68.53%

  2. No (40 votes [7.97%])

    Percentage of vote: 7.97%

  3. It used to be, it's not now (52 votes [10.36%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.36%

  4. It has always been a toy primarily for boys (66 votes [13.15%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.15%

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 (307 votes [61.16%])

    Percentage of vote: 61.16%

  2. No (195 votes [38.84%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.84%

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

  1. Yes (280 votes [55.78%])

    Percentage of vote: 55.78%

  2. No (222 votes [44.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 44.22%

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#126 Hinckley

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 12:35 AM

View Postdef, on 19 December 2011 - 12:21 AM, said:

I still can't vote in the poll though, I literally have no answer to questions three and four.
You can just skip them. :laugh: I appreciate your help. Let me re-consider the existing options.

View Postdef, on 19 December 2011 - 12:21 AM, said:

The only part of the Friends line which is really incongruous with the rest of LEGO is the focus on nine ethnicities of people, since the yellow mini-fig has always been race-less.  For personal reasons, I prefer that to fleshies, but it would be an interesting shift if the company decided to give mini-figs their own race.  It would deeply change their international appeal.
I hadn't even thought of that... That is strange and incongruous.

I think the edits with def's suggestion now best reflect the full conversation we've been having here. :thumbup: Let me know if anyone has any further feedback and I'll do my best to improve the poll. Anyone who has already voted and likes the new options better can either edit or delete their current votes and start over.

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#127 Etzel

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 12:46 AM

I had a hard time choosing what option I agreed most with on the third question. I had answered "yes" on the second because I do feel that "Friends" is a bit too stereotypical. But I couldn't agree full out on any of the suggestions for how to solve that problem. I think small steps is the way to go if we want TLG to actually succeed in making LEGO a uni-sex toy (again).

First, to have something to move towards we need something to start with and there I think "Friends" is just what we need. It's an improvement from previous girl-oriented themes in many ways and has room for more improvements.

Secondly, we need both the boy-oriented and girl-oriented themes to move towards less extreme types. Right now I think we can divide LEGO's themes in "very boyish", "boyish", "neutral" and "very girly", e.g. Star Wars - Kingdoms - Creator - Friends. If we want LEGO gender neutral we need more gender neutral themes, the "extreme" themes don't need to go but there have to be more options for neutral and just slightly girly themes.

Thirdly, this process is slow and we can't expect to see large changes immediately. But I do think it exist already. Look at how more and more female minifigs are being produced for example. I think TLG is very much aware of that "Friends" is stereotypical and that it is a problem, but that it is a step on the way towards something better.


Now, some comments here I find quite strange.

For example, some people brings up comparisons of other girly toys and asks why there are no complaints about them. Well, that's an easy answer. There are lots of complaints about them, maybe not in this specific topic but that is because we are not discussing those toys, we are discussing "Friends".

Others asks why no one asks the children what they think and seems to have completely missed to read the article it all began with. Asking, interviewing and observing kids is exactly what TLG (or their consults, I'm not sure how they work) has done for a very long time to get to these results. Asking your own kids and back up your statements with their answers will not have the same scientifically value, I'm sorry (not saying it's not relevant though, it is. But TLG has a much more data to derive it's theories from).


I checked the box "I have studied sociology" although it's in fact anthropology that is my field, but they are quite similar.  :blush:

Edit: Oh, I see more option have been added to the poll now. Ignore what I said about the limited option then :)
And def seemed to have a similar idea on how to solve the problem. :thumbup:
I write too slow. :tongue:

#128 Hinckley

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 12:48 AM

Def is smart, and a father, so I'm glad he's been participating, especially with suggestions for the poll. :thumbup:

I do appreciate that these sets seems just as complicated to build as the other City sets and other themes for this age range. I don't think they made it simpler which is something that annoyed me about the Belleville series.

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#129 def

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 12:54 AM

I can vote now  :sweet:

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#130 Hinckley

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 01:05 AM

View Postdef, on 19 December 2011 - 12:54 AM, said:

I can vote now  :sweet:
:laugh: Awesome! :thumbup:

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#131 M'Kyuun

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 01:24 AM

I'm a bit surprised that "Friends" is stirring up so much controversy, especially given the previous Scala and Belville lines, which were marketed pointedly to girls as well. While I understand Def's concern over the use of social stereotypes, I personally don't see the harm here. LEGO has been reinforcing historically masculine stereotypes in most of their sets for years via police, race cars, trucks, fire, space, airplanes, knights, and many other traditionally male oriented themes. Stereotypes are with us, and unfortunately they have long staying power, evidenced by the long standing tradition of signifying pink with femininity, and blue for masculinity. Given all the much more dire concerns in life and the world, I can live with it. Moreover, having recently walked the pink guantlet of girls' toys at my local dept store, I can't fault LEGO for following the trend. I've not lost my respect for them; contrarily, if these sets appeal to a young lady, or even to a boy, then I'm happy that they've chosen a product which will hopefully inspire creativity from a company who holds the enrichment of children (even us 40 yr old kids) as their highest priority. I'm also happy to see that there is a scientist among the Friends. I hope the line is successful for TLG, as there's definitely room for expansion in both roles portrayed and in the essential building aspect. My hope, ultimately, is that building and construction toys will become less stereotypically boys' toys, and more parents will see them as an avenue for creativity, artistry, and imagination fulfillment not just for their young lads, but for the ladies as well. If it takes new girly figs in a pink and pastel world to do it, then the benefits outweigh any potential social damage, real or alleged. My humble, uneducated opinion.

I've never been invloved in any studies, although I do think it'd be interesting to have a group of ten boys and ten girls, ages 5-14, and let each of them choose one set from among a large selection of sets across all the current themes, including Friends, and see what the results would be.

Edited by M'Kyuun, 19 December 2011 - 02:22 AM.


#132 def

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 01:41 AM

View PostM, on 19 December 2011 - 01:24 AM, said:

I'm a bit surprised that "Friends" is stirring up so much controversy, especially given the previous Scala and Belville lines, which were marketed pointedly to girls as well. While I understand Def's concern over the use of social stereotypes, I personally don't see the harm here. LEGO has been reinforcing historically masculine stereotypes in most of their sets for years via police, race cars, trucks, fire, space, airplanes, knights, and many other traditionally male oriented themes.
That's not been my main concern at all.  Actually, in one of my last posts, I'm pretty sure I encouraged LEGO to expand there themes to incorporate some of the ideas in friends.  I'm certainly not trying to get girls to play with bulldozers.

And while it's true LEGO has explored male themes over the years, they never felt the need to slap a massive BOY in bold letters over their stuff.  This is the modern LEGO company that's doing it.  Let's review one of the quotes from the company, from back when we fell in love with them as kids:
http://www.businessw...011_page_2.html

Quote

Among the “10 characteristics for Lego” set forth in 1963 by the founder’s son, Godtfred, is: “For girls and for boys.”
Now, the company is saying, This is for Girls, and this is for Boys.

Quote

Stereotypes are with us, and unfortunately they have long staying power, evidenced by the long standing tradition of signifying pink with feminity, and blue for maculinity.
As has been said, that is a 20th century invention.  Pink used to be a "boys" color.  Look it up  :wink:

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Given all the much more dire concerns in life and the world, I can live with it.
This is a LEGO website, not a site about dire problems in the world.  Hence, a very appropriate place to discuss this sort of thing.  If this was on the front page of the New York Times, I would consider that blowing things out of proportion.

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#133 David Thomsen

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 02:06 AM

When I talk to the women I know about their childhood Lego, I usually learn that they loved the Pirate lego or the Castle lego. I also learn that these sets actually belonged to their brothers.

Personally, I like the 'Friends' sets. I think they are cute. But I also see how they are not a correct step in the direction of an enlightened future. It is not that the sets are pink and purple. These are colours just like any other colours, and don't inherently mean anything. It is that none of the 'friends' are boys. Why are there no boys in these sets?

It is up to the parents whether to allow their boys to buy sets that are dominantly pink and purple - for Lego to release sets in this colour scheme is not really a bad thing. But the fact that there are no boys in these sets make these sets exclusively 'girly' sets, and I think that is wrong. Even Belville had a fair amount of male figures.

Edited by David Thomsen, 19 December 2011 - 02:11 AM.


#134 Apollo

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 02:43 AM

I believe the controversy is vacuous.  I am oblivious if there was one, but was the public reaction this negative during Belville's original run?  

My take on the situation:

If TLG were to release another Space theme, should I rebel because I don't agree with LEGO releasing a line meant to appeal to those who like Space?  

Now I understand the argument that some groups, likely feminist, are reacting because they feel subject to prejudice, and that TLG maintains the opinion that girls aren't very interested or involved with the hobby or buyer demographic.  It is true that boys from early development are intrinsically prone to employ more aggressive playing behaviors, and that they are more likely to be interested in the abundance of action-themed lines TLG has interminably released.  

It would only make sense that LEGO remains proactive in expanding their product range for multiple audiences, in this case, girls who are interested in dolls and other themes similar.

When I was a kid, (I am a male who was actively interested in Space exploration and Town themes, as well as GI Joe and otherwise considered "male" toys) I held an interest for Belville because of their different color variety and the fact that it was almost stand-alone compared to the other LEGO themes.  When I hung out with other friends during that early age, there were many girls that were interested in the LEGO collection I had, including my sister who would steal bricks from my collection to play with in her room.

Of course LEGO is a gender-neutral product.  It should not offend anyone that LEGO release a theme not meant to restrict to girls, but to expand their product library.

I believe the reaction to be utterly ridiculous and unnecessarily sensitive.  I commend TLG's work.

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#135 Laura Takayama

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 02:45 AM

View PostHinckley, on 18 December 2011 - 07:07 AM, said:

Doesn't the ridiculousness of your comparison do the same thing? Honestly, in my opinion, one should never accuse anyone of terrorism or Nazism unless there are actual atrocities occurring. Playing the Nazi/Terrorist card on people personally gives me the creeps. Can't we have an intelligent discussion without such alarmist and over-dramatic accusations? Even if other people are already over-reacting to things? Discuss this how you want, but I don't like this sort of thing.

Well, here is where I'm coming from:  I had a course on Propaganda and Persuasion at Penn State in the course of acquiring my Electronic Engineering degree, as well as Sociology (social problems), on top of serving in Afghanistan and Iraq when I was in the Navy from 1999-2005, and many of the comments I've seen are not too different than the kind of propaganda tactics used by the Nazis, Communists, terrorists, and I'm shamed to say, American propaganda (Senator McCarthy I'm looking at YOU!), namely heavily demonizing ones opposition without bothering to even do the SLIGHTEST bit of actual research into the whats, whys and hows of the thing they're demonizing, but in this case, with the insidious twist of hiding behind a shield of political correctness....

I try to be diplomatic, but when people are demonizing people or things because they don't fit into some nebulously-defined category, or for that matter, because they do (i.e. the root of this whole controversy), then I'll call them on the carpet for being the kind of extremist, oppressive pieces of crap that they are. And I'll admit that it's entirely too easy for me to go a bit too far myself... It is a constant struggle for me to fight against extremism and intolerance whenever and wherever they raise their ugly heads without becoming an extremist myself...

So, out of respect to you and to keep from muddying up the issue any further, I'll drop any allusions to Nazis, Communists, Fascists, terrorists, the Creel Commission, Joseph McCarthy, the Spanish Inquisition (NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!), etc.  In future posts, I'll just stick to the point of out how they're demonizing a kid's toy because it, *gasp* has the NERVE to be pink and girly! Does that work for you? :look:

That, from what I see, is at the heart, core and crux of my problem with this whole controversy, and that kind of thing really gets my blood boiling...

As for the sets themselves:  I'm somewhat disappointed in the fact that they don't have normal minifigs, or the fact that most RETAILERS (got that, Def, the RETAILERS, not LEGO) are putting them in with the Barbietm dolls and pretty pink princess frilly toys rather than the rest of the LEGO sets.  I feel, however, that they more than made up for that, as far as I'm concerned, by making them close to the same scale as normal minifigs (as opposed to the Barbietm-scale Belleville and Scala sets) and the hair and other accessories compatible with the standard minifigs.  Furthermore, the sets are really well-designed and definitely NOT "juniorized", even if they are in pinks and pastels, and there are quite a few good designs that I'm just ITCHING to give re-colored makeovers of (i.e. making an "Emerald Night" colored version of Stephanie's Cool Convertible and a pirate version of Olivia's Treehouse, although I'll have to Brick Link a brown tub).

In conclusion, Peppermint M, our lovely Queen of the Clone Brands, pretty much said exactly what I feel about this line in her post.  Furthermore, I DO think that LEGO is trying to make their stuff less stereotypical than they used to:  Back when I first played with LEGO (1988), they only had TWO, count 'em TWO female hair pieces and NO female minifig heads... Then in 1989 they added the Pirate Lady, Forest woman and Crusader princess, but, with the exception of the Pirate Lady (which you could get in the Pirate Minifig pack), they all came in sets that were way out of me and my brother's budget.  

NOW, on the other hand, we have female police officers, construction workers, and even a female Alien Defense Unit soldier!  Granted, there's still not as many as I'd like, but at least they include female minifig heads on Pick A Brick (the fact that they seem to sell out a good bit should give some indication of how popular they are) and make them available in the Minifig bars at the LEGO stores, allowing you, as Lightning Tiger would say, "Brick On" and make your own female figs (I'm currently approaching gender parity in my LEGO collection).  

On the flip side, there is a comment about the lack of boy figs in Friends, (which is a valid concern) to which I reply:  They DO have Peter (although he seems to be Olivia's dad, rather than in the same age group as the rest of the girls) and also to keep in mind that this is merely the first wave: I'm sure they'll be adding boys to the line before too much longer if it proves successful.

So, that's basically all I have to say on this subject.  I'm sorry if I got out of line and I do apologize for that.

Edited by Hikaro Takayama, 19 December 2011 - 02:57 AM.

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#136 AndyC

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 02:53 AM

View Posthalfpenguinhalflego, on 18 December 2011 - 06:37 PM, said:

I think that nearly everytime we see LEGO girls, they have boring sets and jobs. The Space Girl (EDIT: Cave-Woman  :classic:) in the new CMF is the closest we have got to a LEGO girl actually having something cool as a job.
Seriously, if LEGO gave girls a cool theme, like a space theme, I know many girls (and boys) that would buy those sets. Pink space would be awesome. I am just bored of girls sets being too girly, i.e. pink, bracelets, dolls...

Is it not possible that your own bias is in play there? Why is a space girl's job any less boring than say a hairdresser, nurse or teacher? Can't those be exciting and cool for some people too, whilst space might be considered boring?

Growing up as a kid, my brother and sisters all shared the family Lego and all played with it to roughly the same level. We didn't get that many sets, but when we did I remember my elder sister pretty much exclusively getting Castle sets, wheras I dipped in and out of several themes, including Paradisa (having new pastel colours was  :wub: ). Nobody ever told me that they were for girls, nor did they say my sisters choices were boyish.

Perhaps more telling was how the Lego was used more widely amongst us (which I was reminded of when watching the repeat of 100 Greatest Toys the other day), which was to augment the worlds of our other toys. My toy cars parked in Lego garages, my soldiers fought on Lego battlefields whilst my sisters' My Little Ponies had Lego stables and Barbie sat on Lego furniture. And these things were often intermingled into whatever play we were imagining at the time.

As an AFOL, I'm a little disappointed in the sets because they'd have been more useful to me if the figures had looked interchangable with minifigs. Doesn't mean I wouldn't consider them, but it counts against them for me. However if it gets young girls who would otherwise ignore Lego to play more creatively, then I'm all for it. And I doubt for one single second that when they do, all their other dolls and toys and minifigs will end up playing along with them too. And that's why Lego is awesome.
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#137 def

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 03:06 AM

View PostApollo, on 19 December 2011 - 02:43 AM, said:

If TLG were to release another Space theme, should I rebel because I don't agree with LEGO releasing a line meant to appeal to those who like Space?  
What?  What does this mean?  Are space-fans really comparable to girls as a market audience in any way, shape or form?   I realize that Space-fans get stereotyped all the time, and have few decent role-models in kids culture, and are consistently offered stereotypical fare by the toy industry, and of course, are physically born as Space-fans so much so that their entire lives identity will almost always be deeply wrapped up in the fact that they are Space-fans, but other than that, I see little correlation between Space-fans and girls. :sceptic:  I won't go so far as to call your analogy vacuous though  :wink:

Quote

Now I understand the argument that some groups, likely feminist, are reacting because they feel subject to prejudice, and that TLG maintains the opinion that girls aren't very interested or involved with the hobby or buyer demographic.
What?  Why not read what they say rather than imagine it?  It's not like it's not there, just waiting there, dying for you inform yourself with it.  Feel free to find out what these "likely feminists" are saying.  And is feminist a dirty word to you?  Why is an opinion negligible if it comes from a <gasp> feminist?    :sceptic:

Is it too much to ask that people read opinions before make hard statements on the topic?   :sceptic:

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#138 def

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 03:22 AM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 19 December 2011 - 02:45 AM, said:

Well, here is where I'm coming from:  I had a course on Propaganda and Persuasion at Penn State in the course of acquiring my Electronic Engineering degree, as well as Sociology (social problems), on top of serving in Afghanistan and Iraq when I was in the Navy from 1999-2005, and many of the comments I've seen are not too different than the kind of propaganda tactics used by the Nazis, Communists, terrorists, and I'm shamed to say, American propaganda (Senator McCarthy I'm looking at YOU!), namely heavily demonizing ones opposition without bothering to even do the SLIGHTEST bit of actual research into the whats, whys and hows of the thing they're demonizing, but in this case, with the insidious twist of hiding behind a shield of political correctness....
Why not show examples then?  If you think that many comments are like this, prove it.  I think it's a minority, and really, I haven't seen any.  You are the one with the most  outrageous hyperbole.

Quote

As for the sets themselves:  I'm somewhat disappointed in the fact that they don't have normal minifigs, or the fact that most RETAILERS (got that, Def, the RETAILERS, not LEGO) are putting them in with the Barbietm dolls and pretty pink princess frilly toys rather than the rest of the LEGO sets.
And LEGO has no say in where stuff gets stocked  :hmpf:  I worked at Toys R Us.  The End-caps, as mentioned in the business week article, are paid for by the toy company, and the location is chosen by the company.  In fact, we were told that if we didn't have enough stock of the preset product, we needed substitutions from the same manufacturer, since the store would get in lots of trouble if something else was there.  Got that, Hikaro, LEGO, not the RETAILERS.  LEGO is a major manufacturer, and they have a lot of influence as to how and where their product is displayed in major retailers.  If LEGO told target that Friends had to be carried in the LEGO section, I think Target would do it.  Anyway, it's besides the point, since even if you simply blamed that aspect on the retailers, LEGO is already doing its own version of that on its website.  

Anyway, you seem to think boys should be able to play with pink things, then are fully supportive of the company making pink things and labeling them "girls" which only contributes to a world where boys find pink off limits.  I find your position to be contrary to itself.

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#139 M'Kyuun

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 03:50 AM

View Postdef, on 19 December 2011 - 01:41 AM, said:

That's not been my main concern at all.  Actually, in one of my last posts, I'm pretty sure I encouraged LEGO to expand there themes to incorporate some of the ideas in friends.  I'm certainly not trying to get girls to play with bulldozers.

And while it's true LEGO has explored male themes over the years, they never felt the need to slap a massive BOY in bold letters over their stuff.  This is the modern LEGO company that's doing it.  Let's review one of the quotes from the company, from back when we fell in love with them as kids:
http://www.businessw...011_page_2.html

Now, the company is saying, This is for Girls, and this is for Boys.

As has been said, that is a 20th century invention.  Pink used to be a "boys" color.  Look it up  :wink:

This is a LEGO website, not a site about dire problems in the world.  Hence, a very appropriate place to discuss this sort of thing.  If this was on the front page of the New York Times, I would consider that blowing things out of proportion.

Thanks for the insight. According to the Wiki, In America, pink was considered a lighter shade of red, and thus more "fiery" for boys, and light blue more delicate for girls until the mid to late 1940s. After that, the colors were swapped as well as their gender associations. In France, during and prior to the 1940s, pink was already used to delineate female babies and blue for males, as mentioned in the book Little Women.

I see your concern about LEGO sets being tagged as either for boys or girls, rather than being neutrally appealing. There's validity, I concede. We're very protective of gender roles, at least in America (I've not spent adequate time in other countries to make a valid observation). Essentially, a female child in our  society could pick out a Police set or a Friends set with little concern either way for her choice; contrarily, if a male child picks up a Friends set, eyebrows would raise and there'd be reluctance, if not refusal, to allow him to select that set. America, despite some progress, is still very conservative concerning gender roles and preferences, leaning more on the male side. That being said, although they may have greater success marketing Friends among other girls' toys apart from the bulk of their product, I'm not sure I agree with it personally. I'd imagine market research led to this decision...to segregate the theme in favor of placement with other girls' toys. It may backfire due to similarity in color and appearance to the surrounding toys, whereas it'll clearly stand out alongside the other LEGO themes.

Personally, I agree that tagging Friends specifically for girls is not the best approach, nor segregating them from other LEGO themes; however, I also understand this is an initial step with a new theme trying to incite girls' interest in LEGO. Is it ethically wrong? I don't think so. I don't think it compromises TLG's integrity; they want to find a wider audience among girls. I think the real targets are the parents and grandparents, who have preconceived notions of what little girls like to play with, based on their own childhoods and, of course, stereotypes. By making a product that resembles other current girls' toys and placing it among those toys, there is potential that it'll be noticed by parents and grandparents more there than if it was located among other LEGO sets, which most non-AFOL parents and grandparents, unfortunately, do consider as primarily a boy's toy. From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense to me, regardless of my opinion. Because the entire venture was aimed solely towards currying a stronger girl fanbase, labelling it as such only makes sense, even if we disagree with the decision. Due to their protectiveness of the brand, I doubt it was so easy a decision to market Friends away from the rest of their bulk product. They're taking risks to reach a wider fanbase. I still hope they're successful, and that Friends will expand, as well as the number of girls buying LEGO.

#140 David Thomsen

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 03:54 AM

View Postdef, on 19 December 2011 - 03:22 AM, said:

Why not show examples then?  If you think that many comments are like this, prove it.  I think it's a minority, and really, I haven't seen any.  You are the one with the most  outrageous hyperbole.
I kind of think the post was deliberately ironic in that sense. :sceptic:

If that's not the case, then, well...


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#141 def

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:07 AM

M'Kyuun, a nice, well-thought out post  :sweet:

About the gender-stereotype worries, I can tell an anecdote about when I worked at Toys R Us.  It was during the time Sailor Moon was a big fad.  Obviously, between the majority women characters, and 'girl' colors, it was aimed at girls.  But, the anime was anime, and not overtly feminine (compared to something like Jem or She-ra, from my childhood).  On more than one Christmas, I had dad's sincerely asking me if they should be worried that their son asked for something from the Sailor Moon line, usually one of the weapon type things, rather than the dolls.

It was a serious worry for dads, that their kid could be asking for something kept in the aisle next to Barbie.  Gender roles are still quite prominent.

View PostDavid Thomsen, on 19 December 2011 - 03:54 AM, said:

I kind of think the post was deliberately ironic in that sense. :sceptic:

If that's not the case, then, well...

I think I'll opt out of this discussion now. I'm here to have fun, but something is wrong when I get more fun out of leaving.
It's not something that comes up on this site much at all, but in this thread, you have some people discussing maturely, while others are using feminist as a dirty word and making all sorts of claims.  I wonder if most have really considered the topic before.  When I worked at Toys R Us, I was deeply reminded of gender roles, and this was when I was at university, studying sociology, history, and that sort of thing, so I really gave thought to how the store markets to children.(check it out, here!)  And now that I have a daughter, I heavily consider it.  The only American kids products I expose my daughter to so far is Dora the Explorer, since it's quite gender neutral.  

So, admittedly I had opinions on the larger issue before this topic opened up.

But, if the topic is unenjoyable, by all means take a break  :wink:

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#142 Laura Takayama

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:08 AM

View Postdef, on 19 December 2011 - 03:22 AM, said:

Why not show examples then?  If you think that many comments are like this, prove it.  I think it's a minority, and really, I haven't seen any.  You are the one with the most  outrageous hyperbole.

Well, I linked the After Ellen article, but obviously you couldn't be bothered to even click on one link, so what good would my copying and pasting the contents of said link here do? :tongue:

Quote

And LEGO has no say in where stuff gets stocked  :hmpf:  I worked at Toys R Us.  The End-caps, as mentioned in the business week article, are paid for by the toy company, and the location is chosen by the company.  In fact, we were told that if we didn't have enough stock of the preset product, we needed substitutions from the same manufacturer, since the store would get in lots of trouble if something else was there.  Got that, Hikaro, LEGO, not the RETAILERS.  LEGO is a major manufacturer, and they have a lot of influence as to how and where their product is displayed in major retailers.  If LEGO told target that Friends had to be carried in the LEGO section, I think Target would do it.  Anyway, it's besides the point, since even if you simply blamed that aspect on the retailers, LEGO is already doing its own version of that on its website.

Well, I'll admit that I never worked in retail sales: my jobs have all been mostly dealing with manufacturing/wholesale end, and every manufacturer I've ever worked with, whether it was a textile mill, industrial electronic controls, or military electronics stuff, didn't really have much actual control over how the retailer sold the stuff... Yes, they could make suggestions and did meet with the retailer, but at the end of the day, the retailer had the final say, so I was basing my assumptions off my experience in manufacturing.  I was not aware of this kind of back-room horse trading going on with toy sellers (although, I DO remember from my Persuasion and Propaganda class that such things did and do occur at grocery stores).  This of course, forces me to take my general opinion of the LEGO Group down a few notches.  :sceptic:  :thumbdown: ....Although I can understand their logic (after all, they DO need to make money, but STILL!)

Quote

Anyway, you seem to think boys should be able to play with pink things, then are fully supportive of the company making pink things and labeling them "girls" which only contributes to a world where boys find pink off limits.  I find your position to be contrary to itself.

Obviously, you've managed to somehow read what I wrote and COMPLETELY misinterpret it:  I NEVER ONCE said I was particularly happy with them labeling stuff as for "boys" and "girls", but that with the way things are in the current toy (and pretty much everything else market as well as society in general), I'll take what I can get and not gripe about it too much.  While I do not think the Friends line is the perfect answer for making LEGO more accessible to girls, I DO feel that it is the FIRST STEP in the right direction, and the people who are raising the big stink about it need to seriously re-evaluate what and whom the primary targets of their indignation should be.  

...Although what you or they or I think about this issue is going to make about the same amount of difference as farting in a hurricane as far as LEGO, the retailers or other toy manufacturers are concerned, at least in the short run.  Yes, that is a rather bitter, cynical outlook, but six years in the military, especially during wartime tends to turn most people into bitter, cynical SOBs.  :wink:

Is THAT clear enough for you?!  :grin:

Edited by Hikaro Takayama, 19 December 2011 - 04:11 AM.

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#143 Hinckley

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:09 AM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 19 December 2011 - 02:45 AM, said:

Well, here is where I'm coming from:  I had a course on Propaganda and Persuasion at Penn State in the course of acquiring my Electronic Engineering degree, as well as Sociology (social problems), on top of serving in Afghanistan and Iraq when I was in the Navy from 1999-2005, and many of the comments I've seen are not too different than the kind of propaganda tactics used by the Nazis, Communists, terrorists, and I'm shamed to say, American propaganda (Senator McCarthy I'm looking at YOU!), namely heavily demonizing ones opposition without bothering to even do the SLIGHTEST bit of actual research into the whats, whys and hows of the thing they're demonizing, but in this case, with the insidious twist of hiding behind a shield of political correctness....
Your comments about Al-Qaeda were all propoganda and I'm not sure why you would need to rattle off a resume for a conversation like this. You're entitled to your opinion, but I can barely read it myself anymore as I feel you're blowing the issue way out of proportion. Aren't you attempting the same sort of "demonizing" by comparing people to Al-Qaeda? You admit you're going too far. Can't you ignore the others and have a civil conversation about the actual issue and not blow it out of proportion yourself? Like I am doing by responding to your posts, you are just giving them more credence by constantly referencing what they said and why it's wrong. Bury it. Move on. Trust most people to see what they were doing as what it actually was. An unnecessary exaggeration. Again, that's just my opinion.

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#144 def

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:16 AM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 19 December 2011 - 04:08 AM, said:

...Although what you or they or I think about this issue is going to make about the same amount of difference as farting in a hurricane as far as LEGO, the retailers or other toy manufacturers are concerned, at least in the short run.  Yes, that is a rather bitter, cynical outlook, but six years in the military, especially during wartime tends to turn most people into bitter, cynical SOBs.  :wink:
Wow, why bother with the Internet?  :hmpf:   I think it's pretty much a last resort of discussion to say that it doesn't matter because LEGO will do what they're doing anyway.  But thanks for your illuminating post.  LEGO thinks you are a fart too.

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#145 Laura Takayama

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:20 AM

View PostHinckley, on 19 December 2011 - 04:09 AM, said:

Your comments about Al-Qaeda were all propoganda and I'm not sure why you would need to rattle off a resume for a conversation like this. You're entitled to your opinion, but I can barely read it myself anymore as I feel you're blowing the issue way out of proportion. Aren't you attempting the same sort of "demonizing" by comparing people to Al-Qaeda? You admit you're going too far. Can't you ignore the others and have a civil conversation about the actual issue and not blow it out of proportion yourself? Like I am doing by responding to your posts, you are just giving them more credence by constantly referencing what they said and why it's wrong. Bury it. Move on. Trust most people to see what they were doing as what it actually was. An unnecessary exaggeration. Again, that's just my opinion.

Well, I already admitted that I got a bit too worked up and was doing just that and apologized for it: I was just trying to offer some insight into WHY I got so ticked-off, and if you'd have read further down, I did just that: agreed to drop it and apologized for getting bent out of shape... Can you at least please accept that admission and apology for what it is? :sadnew:

EDIT: Def, again you misunderstood my point by picking on one single statement.  Even if this won't amount to much in the SHORT run, it is at least a start, but I think that flooding LEGO's mailbox with complaints before the theme even hits the shelves is a bit, I don't know, churlish?

..and for that matter, I did not go out of my way to insult YOU, so I ask you to do the same, thank you very much!  If you cannot, then I'm afraid I must add you to my ignore list until you can learn some manners.

Edited by Hikaro Takayama, 19 December 2011 - 04:33 AM.

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#146 def

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:39 AM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 19 December 2011 - 04:08 AM, said:

Well, I linked the After Ellen article, but obviously you couldn't be bothered to even click on one link, so what good would my copying and pasting the contents of said link here do? :tongue:
Double checking things, I had read the After Ellen 'article' which was actually just a little blog blurb.  Let's check the Al Qaeda/McCarthy level of rhetoric they employed:

Quote

Lego made waves this week when it announced the launch of a new girl-specific line of toys called Lego Friends (or, as The Mary Sue called them, "LadyFigs"). Apparently, Lego's market research has led them to believe that girls hate the iconic yellow-headed Lego figure. "The greatest concern for girls really was beauty," Lego's market research manager told the press. So they're rolling out new Lego ladies that look like, well, ladies. Cisgender ladies, at least. Lego is releasing 29 lady Lego Friends, comprised of nine nationalities, all of whom come with Barbie/American Girl-type backstories. Also, they're "taller and curvier" than the standard LegoFig.
The weird part is that places like Target and Toys R Us won't be marketing them with regular Lego displays. They'll start out as end caps and end up on that aisle where everything is cotton candy pink. Which is weird, right? Because "regular" Legos aren't for boys. Why the segregation?
Well, having reread that, you definitely had no point  :sceptic:  rhetorical Nazis, indeed.

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#147 Hinckley

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:46 AM

View PostHikaro Takayama, on 19 December 2011 - 04:20 AM, said:

Well, I already admitted that I got a bit too worked up and was doing just that and apologized for it: I was just trying to offer some insight into WHY I got so ticked-off, and if you'd have read further down, I did just that: agreed to drop it and apologized for getting bent out of shape... Can you at least please accept that admission and apology for what it is? :sadnew:
Ah, good. Thank you for that. I admit I skimmed the first half of your post and then went back to watching Survivor with my family. I'm on vacation for Christmas! Thanks for contributing to the conversation, thanks for being honest about going too far and sorry if I hurt your feelings by not catching your full meaning in your post.

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#148 Legocrazy81

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:48 AM

Seriously, guys...you're getting WAY too worked up over this. There's no feminist haters, Nazis, Communists, terrorists, whatever else you listed on here. Maybe you need to skip this thread from now on. You do realize you're getting pissed off over a toy, right?
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#149 Hinckley

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:49 AM

View Postdef, on 19 December 2011 - 04:39 AM, said:

Well, having reread that, you definitely had no point  :sceptic:  rhetorical Nazis, indeed.
You're cracking me up in this topic. :laugh:

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#150 Laura Takayama

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:50 AM

View Postdef, on 19 December 2011 - 04:39 AM, said:

Double checking things, I had read the After Ellen 'article' which was actually just a little blog blurb.  Let's check the Al Qaeda/McCarthy level of rhetoric they employed:

Well, having reread that, you definitely had no point  :sceptic:  rhetorical Nazis, indeed.

Read the comments section, that is what I was referring to!  :hmpf:

...And on that note, I don't think this conversation is going anywhere, what with you twisting everything I say to suit your purposes :angry: , so all I have to say is that it's been real, and it's been fun, but it ain't been real fun, so I'm outta here! :hmpf:
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