Derek

Friends "Controversy"

Friends Controversy  

522 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you like the LEGO Friends line?

    • Yes
      380
    • No
      139
  2. 2. Do you think the LEGO Friends line is too "effeminite" in appearance?

    • Yes
      193
    • No
      326
  3. 3. How could LEGO improve this "problem?"

    • I answered "No." I don't see any need for improvement.
      220
    • Make building more challenging
      68
    • Make monster trucks with female drivers
      34
    • Make monster trucks in pink
      25
    • Make houses in neutral colors
      106
    • Just let girls play with the other lines. Can't girls like construction without animals, lipstick and brighter colors?
      82
    • The sets are fine, but why are the minifigs different?
      188
    • Diversify other lines in theme
      78
    • Diversify other lines with more female characters
      162
    • Diversify other lines with brighter colors that appeal to boys and girls
      75
  4. 4. Which of the above issues affects your stance on this product the most?

    • I answered "No." I don't see any need for improvement.
      211
    • Make building more challenging
      22
    • Make monster trucks with female drivers
      3
    • Make monster trucks in pink
      6
    • Make houses in neutral colors
      27
    • Just let girls play with the other lines. Can't girls like construction without animals, lipstick and brighter colors?
      38
    • The sets are fine, but why are the minifigs different?
      126
    • Diversify other lines in theme
      21
    • Diversify other lines with more female characters
      53
    • Diversify other lines with brighter colors that appeal to boys and girls
      13
  5. 5. What is your expertise on the subject?

    • I have studied sociology
      62
    • I have studied child development
      52
    • I am just an opinionated AFOL with no credentials in marketing or child development
      334
    • I have studied consumer product research
      38
    • I have studied marketing
      55
    • I am a parent
      149
  6. 6. How do your children respond to the LEGO Friends line?

    • I do not have children
      342
    • I have a daughter who likes the Friends sets
      63
    • I have a daughter who doesn't like the Friends sets
      13
    • I have a daughter who likes the Friends sets and sets meant for boys
      60
    • I have a son who likes the Friends sets
      27
    • I have a son who doesn't like the Friends sets
      24
    • I have many children who all have different reactions to the Friends line
      24
  7. 7. Do you consider LEGO to be a unisex toy?

    • Yes
      347
    • No
      40
    • It used to be, it's not now
      52
    • It has always been a toy primarily for boys
      66
  8. 8. 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?

    • Yes
      310
    • No
      195
  9. 9. Do sets marketed specifically to girls enforce the idea that the other sets are meant only for boys?

    • Yes
      283
    • No
      222


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An additional problem that I see is that now girls will have two (not compatible) types of minifigures to play with.

I don't know if that is such an issue for children (A toy through adult eyes is very different to a toy through a child's eyes). I know my daughter plays with a variety of different types of figures (playmobil, Lego, stuffed teddies, etc) all in the same game. She has Friends sets and the Friends figures play happily beside standard minifigs (so for her, they are not incompatible).

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I don't especially think that Friends is too 'girly' at all, the sets actually don't have that much pink in them. A lot of these arguments are based on the minidolls, yes, but I prefer to look at the actual set rather than just buy for the figures. The sets' colorschemes actually focus more on azure and red rather than pink, and both of those colors are generally considered gender-neutral. The builds themselves might focus a bit more on what girls want (Animal shelters, talent shows, etc.), but I really don't think that anything in the theme is too overly girly. But, since most of these arguments are based, as I said, on the minidolls, I have to look at those too. Generally speaking, I don't think that they really are any more girly than a normal doll or action figure, but they are less poseable, just like LEGO minifigs. The one thing that really bugs me, though, is the same thing as what makes me not like Barbie: The lack of male characters of any importance. The only male character comes in the largest set, and that, I think, is what is making so many people think that this theme is far too girly. If they would introduce one male character that looks the age of the main characters and put him in some smaller sets, I think a lot of this "controversy" would disappear.

Funny, a lot of gender-correct-thinking people would say that many LEGO themes (and other entertainment franchises) suffer from the opposite tendency - the lack of female characters of any importance :tongue:. (To paraphrase a certain actress, a female character's primary role is often just to prove that the male hero is heterosexual...).

Just think of Friends as balancing the equation. :wink:

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You know what, the whole idea can fall or fly depending on where the retailer puts the sets. Clever retailing would place it near enough to the other Lego toys that some cross purchasing will occur. Retailers don't care who they sell their toys to, they just want to see them.

I am yet to make it out to the nearest Toys R Us but they used to have all the Lego across the back wall, with some on the opposite endcaps. The aisles then went down from all the construction toys, whether they were Fur-Real toys or Hotwheels cars. Anyone going down these aisles would see the Lego at the end. The Entertainer places new toys they want to push right near the door, so I am not sure where they will put it afterwards.

Now, ASDA is different. They have a aisle of dolls and pink things, they have an aisle of action figures and toy cars. That aisle has LEGO at the one end. They placed Friends between a shelf of mid-range sets (the £20 price point, bigger boxes) and the new Ninjago. The block of shelving next to it has City and Star Wars, with some other brick brands mixed in (HM Armed Forces, Doctor Who, Halo and Transformer sets). So in ASDA, one of the biggest supermarkets has put them in a place where girls may be able to get other sets.

So far, I've seen stores display them in the following ways:

-On an endcap next to the Lego aisle (Target, TRU)

-On an endcap next to the girls aisle (Target)

-In the girls aisle next to Polly Pockets, etc (Target)

-Endcap next to Lego aisle and in the girls aisle at the same time (Target)

-Island display in the middle of a main aisle (Walmart)

Overall, I think they are very prominent in each store regardless of where they choose to put them. If Friends doesn't do well it won't be from lack of exposure.

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Not to jump in in the middle of the conversation here, but I spent the past couple weeks researching and writing an article that charts the 40 year history of the LEGO groups attempts to market based on gender. I think the Friends line is problematic but not the terrible affort some people have made it out to be. I hope this will be a resource for people on both sides of the debate to sharpen their arguments.

Comment and critiques very welmoce :tongue:

Very detailed article! My main criticism, though, is that it repeats something that was often said once the Friends figures were revealed not to be standard minifigures: that any figure but the classic minifigure is doomed to fail. On the contrary, Belville lived an inexplicably long life. The building quality of its sets was meager at best, so if anything I think the fact that its figures were in fact dolls might have been the only thing keeping it alive for its nearly 15-year lifespan.

Similarly, this ignores the success of Duplo, although it is not necessarily relevant to the discussion, and the success of a heavily character-driven theme that usually isn't discussed in conjunction with minifigures: BIONICLE. This theme's attempts over three years to move into System-scale sets were admirable, even if inevitably they failed to catch on. But the actual "action figures" that formed the core of the theme demonstrated quite effectively that kids can role-play with non-minifigure sets, and in many cases, that kids can be attracted by other themes even when their particular favorite theme has incompatible figures. I can't tell you how many sets in the early- to late-2000s appealed to me largely because they had parts that would be useful for BIONICLE models, regardless of the minifigures they contained.

Within the AFOL community there is a sort of obsession with the minifigure to the point that, as in the case of the Friends theme, the presence or absence of traditional minifigures is expected to be something that will make or break a theme. But in fact, when you look at BIONICLE it becomes clear that sets with radically different styles of figures can be successful. And furthermore when you look at the new parts budget BIONICLE tended to have each year, I don't think there's any question of whether the Friends theme can introduce enough new parts to make its figures extremely versatile in their potential for mixing-and-matching parts, even without compatibility with the classic minifigure.

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Not to jump in in the middle of the conversation here, but I spent the past couple weeks researching and writing an article that charts the 40 year history of the LEGO groups attempts to market based on gender. I think the Friends line is problematic but not the terrible affort some people have made it out to be. I hope this will be a resource for people on both sides of the debate to sharpen their arguments.

Comment and critiques very welmoce :tongue:

Great article with some very good points. I even read with interest the side blog about the girl who got teased for having a Star Wars water bottle. My own daughter faced a little of this herself when she wore a Star Wars T-shirt to school one day. I always remind her that The Cone Wars features many girl characters such as Ashoka, etc. Still she didn't wear it again. That was about 2 years ago, but she still has a Lego Shaak Ti keychain hanging from her backpack she uses for school everyday. :classic:

After reading your in depth article, it reinforces my feeling that as a parent I need to stay vigilant in making sure that my child is not getting what I feel is the wrong message from various forms of marketing and media. The best way to ensure this I feel is by consistent guidance and by setting a good example myself. I am always clear to point out the bias in commercials on TV and with ads in the newspaper and magazines.

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Funny, a lot of gender-correct-thinking people would say that many LEGO themes (and other entertainment franchises) suffer from the opposite tendency - the lack of female characters of any importance :tongue:. (To paraphrase a certain actress, a female character's primary role is often just to prove that the male hero is heterosexual...).

Just think of Friends as balancing the equation. :wink:

Well then, if both regular LEGO and Friends had equal amounts of male and female characters of equal importance the problem would be solved! :laugh:

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Similarly, this ignores the success of Duplo, although it is not necessarily relevant to the discussion, and the success of a heavily character-driven theme that usually isn't discussed in conjunction with minifigures: BIONICLE. This theme's attempts over three years to move into System-scale sets were admirable, even if inevitably they failed to catch on. But the actual "action figures" that formed the core of the theme demonstrated quite effectively that kids can role-play with non-minifigure sets, and in many cases, that kids can be attracted by other themes even when their particular favorite theme has incompatible figures.

Your points are well made. I considered putting in more about DUPLO and BIONICLE, but decided it would be too tangential. The article is mostly focused on SYSTEM-scale stuff and DUPLO and BIONICLE, while compatible, are basically entirely separate building systems. DUPLO has always done a good job of representing males and females equally (as well as different ages and ethnic groups) so there's not much to say about it other than "good work TLG!" In BIONICLE the primary thing buing built is the figures so they don't serve the same purposes as minifig, Belville dolls etc. I personally like the Belville and Technic scale figs and enjoy building to that scale. I think if they were integrated into sets that had a better mix of style and substance (Belville is all Stlye, Technic is all substance) I think they could be successful. I still think the minidoll will fail because it is so close in scale to the minifig that will be compared against it and found lacking. I do think there should be more variety in the scales LEGO reinforces.

After reading your in depth article, it reinforces my feeling that as a parent I need to stay vigilant in making sure that my child is not getting what I feel is the wrong message from various forms of marketing and media. The best way to ensure this I feel is by consistent guidance and by setting a good example myself. I am always clear to point out the bias in commercials on TV and with ads in the newspaper and magazines.

Sounds good to me, thanks for setting good examples :classic:

Edited by fallentomato

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Similarly, this ignores the success of Duplo, although it is not necessarily relevant to the discussion, and the success of a heavily character-driven theme that usually isn't discussed in conjunction with minifigures: BIONICLE.

Not to mention the enormous AFOL Fanbase that Fabuland figs, despite being relatively niche, have maintained over the years. It also, like many such articles, tends to ignore the fact that when children become aware of 'gender' as a concept they will naturally find ways to assert and understand their 'gender' and that of others. That doesn't mean girls have to like pink princesses, but they will find ways to identify with others and wanting "girl" toys is potentially part of that.

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Not to jump in in the middle of the conversation here, but I spent the past couple weeks researching and writing an article that charts the 40 year history of the LEGO groups attempts to market based on gender. I think the Friends line is problematic but not the terrible affort some people have made it out to be. I hope this will be a resource for people on both sides of the debate to sharpen their arguments.

Comment and critiques very welmoce :tongue:

Well, since you asked...

I was saddened by TLG's statements in the various articles and press releases that they realized they "had" to do something about the classic minifigure because it just didn't appeal to many non-FOL girls the way it does to us; that the classic figure I see as cute and adorable was apparently seen by so many of TLG's research participants as ugly or whatever felt like a personal blow, and a depressing one. Oddly, though, I feel the same way about your comments about the minidoll. Your advice to TLG to ditch it seems, well... cruel and mean-spirited, somehow. While my own decades of fond associations with the classic minifigure are indelible, I really do see a lot to like about the minidoll, and it seems counterproductive to take away something that was apparently so specifically requested and desired so soon after its introduction. I also can't help but imagine it was a very bold step for TLG - one that likely required them to swallow no small amount of institutional pride, in addition to all the undoubtedly painstaking research and decision-making that produced this particular figure design, and one that, so far, appears to be fulfilling its mission of bringing kids into LEGO that had previously never touched construction toys.

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My 5YO Daughter has just built her first 2 Lego Friends sets. It is good in the instructions they let you know which pices are required for that step, so she didn't go to the next step until she had used all those bits. I sometimes need to help put on the 1x1 slope pieces but otherwise she does it her self.

Stephanie is driving around with Jay from Ninjano so I guess the minidolls and minifigs get on alright in "real life".

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Really, was that the irritation? Receiving the magazine without the option to receive it? :hmpf: Yeah, what I wrote before about the need of Friends-supporters to quash criticism goes for this comment too. It's easy to sound rational by framing the other side with an argument nobody made :sceptic:

Wow, please, allow me to actually sum it up: the people complaining about it on Facebook, and signing an online petition, by and large, are not AFOLs. The people on this site are. I've only read half of this thread, but in those posts, I haven't seen any calls to destroy the theme or boycott the company.

So, the people here, hemming and hawing about the AFOLs attitude about the Friends line, well, it's a knee-jerk, unfounded opinion, to put it lightly. I have a feeling that you have actually read very little of the discussion on the topic, here or elsewhere :sadnew:

Actually, other people did make the argument, which I did not fictitiously "frame" because I read it in other peoples' comments on several other sites before coming to this thread, when you had posted the front-cover only of the new mag. And, yes I have read quite a large amount of discussion all over the Internet, for the purpose of documenting for a blog: http://feminists-freak-out-over-lego-friends.blogspot.com/ (which of course you already know about when you told me it had already been discussed to death) when I initially posted about it.

Why you are taking such a defensive tone with everyone is a mystery to me. I have several Friends sets; so far my issue is continually having to *mentally* overcome that they really are not HUGE dolls like Bloomberg's photo-shopped image showed :laugh:

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My 5YO Daughter has just built her first 2 Lego Friends sets. It is good in the instructions they let you know which pices are required for that step, so she didn't go to the next step until she had used all those bits. I sometimes need to help put on the 1x1 slope pieces but otherwise she does it her self.

Stephanie is driving around with Jay from Ninjano so I guess the minidolls and minifigs get on alright in "real life".

Yes, it is very true that kids typically don't see the problem with changes in scales and types between figures. They tend to look past all that and incorporate all their characters from various toylines into their play. I even remember as a kid I would play with my minifigures along side my GI Joe and Star Wars figures. I even mixed my Fisher Price Husky Helpers and Little People characters. Even the vehicles as well.

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Well, since you asked...

I was saddened by TLG's statements in the various articles and press releases that they realized they "had" to do something about the classic minifigure because it just didn't appeal to many non-FOL girls the way it does to us; that the classic figure I see as cute and adorable was apparently seen by so many of TLG's research participants as ugly or whatever felt like a personal blow, and a depressing one. Oddly, though, I feel the same way about your comments about the minidoll. Your advice to TLG to ditch it seems, well... cruel and mean-spirited, somehow. While my own decades of fond associations with the classic minifigure are indelible, I really do see a lot to like about the minidoll, and it seems counterproductive to take away something that was apparently so specifically requested and desired so soon after its introduction. I also can't help but imagine it was a very bold step for TLG - one that likely required them to swallow no small amount of institutional pride, in addition to all the undoubtedly painstaking research and decision-making that produced this particular figure design, and one that, so far, appears to be fulfilling its mission of bringing kids into LEGO that had previously never touched construction toys.

No cruelty or meanness intended! I just can't see it coexisting alongside the minifig. Maybe if TLG gives it posable hands and separately moving legs so it's more equal I could see it lasting. While I'm sure most children will have no trouble playing with minifigs and minidolls side by side (considering how many other toys I played with alongside my minifigs) the limitations are sure to confuse and frustrate many.

I bear no ill-will to those who enjoy the minidoll. I can't seeing it becoming as central to the LEGO brand as the minifig is. I expect it will be much like the Fabuland figures, on the market for a several years before disappearing and garnering a cult following. But maybe I'm wrong and it will be wildly successful. I'm sure TLG will make their decisions primarily based on how the sets sell.

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You know what? I genuinely hadn't considered the marketing strategy of sending them to girls in hopes of those girls showing it to their friends, and, considering it now, it makes perfect sense, it's a great meta-marketing plan: send them to the target markets' Friends <wink wink> Substituting the regular mag without consulting people, rather than adding it to the regular mag or simply sending it as an additional magazine, was, in retrospect, the obvious course of action. The cutting girls out of the regular mag too. It was brilliant marketing. After all, that's why we love LEGO, right? Their savvy marketing. I know that's why I'm an AFOL. The ads. They have the best marketing in the world.

I had worried that a lot of people in this thread were just obsessive LEGO fanboys (or girls) incapable of taking any criticism of the beleaguered LEGO corporation, unable to acquiesce any point whatsoever or attempt to find a middle ground, much less attempt to reach some sort of understanding with those who don't think the Friends line is 100% awesome (like myself. I only think thought it's 50% awesome). I realize this was my own misunderstanding of the grander vision of the posters here, and I will rethink my position until it comes more in line with others here, until I can confidently unequivocally state that those who have criticisms of the line are stupid and ridiculous, and need to get a life, or whatever has been said here, since I now have the explanations to back up those statements.

Thanks for opening my eyes to the truth. Cheers :classic:

Thank you for this. I was worried for a second that i was having trouble conveying my thoghts, but seeing that you basicly get deffensive and condensending with nearly everyone that disagree's with you i know its not me. I feel better now.

Not to jump in in the middle of the conversation here, but I spent the past couple weeks researching and writing an article that charts the 40 year history of the LEGO groups attempts to market based on gender. I think the Friends line is problematic but not the terrible affort some people have made it out to be. I hope this will be a resource for people on both sides of the debate to sharpen their arguments.

Comment and critiques very welmoce :tongue:

Great article. I would like to bring up a couple points you mading concerning technic and trains being for boys..

I don't believe thats fair. While its true that more boys will find techinc and trains more apealing than most girls, this doesn't mean that these patricula theme's were directly intended for them. The point of techic is to bring modern machinery and there functions to life. These can apeal to nearly anyone as long as they an enterest in vehicles and how things operate.

same with trains. There's only so many ways you can make a train and I'm not really sure how you can make one that would apeal more to a girl than a boy. Either you like them or you don't. Again, i guess its fair to say that more boys would be enterested than most girls, i don't believe it was intended for boys. TLC mearly saw a market and capatalized on it. Simular to the friends theme.

Back to our friends discussion, i recently found out my friend bought these for his daughters. Come to find out the main attraction for them were in fact the mini doll figures. they liked LEGO before hand, but the new doll figures just sealed the deal for them.

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Why you are taking such a defensive tone with everyone is a mystery to me.

It's true; I am so defensive, I started a blog to highlight the need of LEGO fans to support every detail of the company, rain or shine, believe it or not. Now, where's that link... :look: I'll edit this later and add it in :wink:

Thank you for this.

You're very, very welcome. :sweet: Hopefully, I've provided a service for you, and you can rest easier now that I've satisfied your needs. If I only have one purpose, it is to satisfy needs.

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Hey EB, I created a blog to compile the online activities of a feminist group vilifying TLG because of the new Friends line.

Here is the blog: http://feminists-freak-out-over-lego-friends.blogspot.com/

They're mailing the printed-out signatures of their petition:

How many reams of paper can Dunder Mifflin turn 48,000 separate sheets into anyway? I would do the math, but, ya know, hey, I'm a girl :tongue:

Maybe TLG could turn them over to the blank side and use as scratch paper. :wink:

Also, they are beginning what they call their "next phase" against LEGO:

http://www.sparksummit.com/2012/01/19/lego-the-good-the-bad-and-the-frilly/

IMO, they read only the comments 'they' want to read, not the hundreds of comments by people who have taken the time to provide correct information, or simply provide another viewpoint of how their daughter is happy to have an option in Friends. http://www.pressherald.com/news/mainer-no-friend-of-new-lego-characters_2012-01-08.html

In her follow-up opinion piece, http://www.onlinesentinel.com/opinion/why-is-the-organized-protest-against-lego-and-why-now__2012-01-18.html the main instigator, Lyn Mikel Brown, gets catalogs & Club Magazines confused. :wink:

They've also had to admit their campaign message was muddled by back-tracking to clarify a misconception they apparently unintentionally spread that their goal was to stop the Friends line from entering the market place. (read bottom message about "corrected info") http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/15/lego-friends-girls-gender-toy-marketing_n_1206293.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

They are now telling their "followers" on FB to stay tuned ...

Really? :wacko:

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As far as I can tell, those behind the petition seem to mainly take issue with LEGO's heavy marketing of the theme as "LEGO for girls". And to be fair, I don't like this marketing either, as it makes it all the more awkward for me to get a set should I want one.

But I think they're misinterpreting the nature of this. TLG isn't trying to advertise it as the only theme for girls, but rather as the only theme that's only for girls. That is to say, there are plenty of other themes that girls can enjoy, but this is the only one specially-designed to cater to girls' interests. It should be obvious, looking at some of the most "stereotypically girly" content in the sets, that a boy would usually avoid those sets like the plague. Hence the input of boys was probably pretty much ignored in the designing of this theme. And that's way different from a lot of other themes which probably have both boys and girls on their focus groups. Content that would have been vetoed in either a boy-oriented or gender-neutral theme can end up in Friends sets, which I'm sure will do a lot to make girls feel more comfortable with the theme's offerings.

Girls can still enjoy themes that are "for boys and girls". There's nothing stating "LEGO for boys" on the Ninjago or LEGO City websites. And the "For Girls" section of LEGOshop.com still has lots of sets besides LEGO Friends (including LEGO Architecture, most D2C sets, and most licensed themes, and almost all Duplo and basic brick sets). The point of the "LEGO for girls" marketing is to convince parents that yes, you CAN get building toys for your daughter, and to convince girls worried about peer pressure and gender identity that yes, these toys ARE intended for you! And this is still necessary in this day and age: one of my best friends from college spent a decent amount of time talking about how her parents wouldn't get her LEGO sets as a child even though she wanted them.

Now, if Friends were all TLG was doing to spread this message that LEGO was OK for girls, then I'd probably take issue, but the slight evening of gender ratios in LEGO City, the new "LEGO Club Girls" magazine, and other less obvious measures help to convince me that TLG is putting a conscious effort to make sure they're not measuring the success of LEGO Friends in a vacuum. Instead, they're putting forth every effort to determine which design and marketing choices in the Friends theme they can expand to other parts of their product line, which are only viable in a girls-only theme, and which are simply unnecessary.

Edited by Aanchir

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They're mailing the printed-out signatures of their petition:

How many reams of paper can Dunder Mifflin turn 48,000 separate sheets into anyway? I would do the math, but, ya know, hey, I'm a girl :tongue:

Maybe TLG could turn them over to the blank side and use as scratch paper. :wink:

Also, they are beginning what they call their "next phase" against LEGO:

http://www.sparksummit.com/2012/01/19/lego-the-good-the-bad-and-the-frilly/

IMO, they read only the comments 'they' want to read, not the hundreds of comments by people who have taken the time to provide correct information, or simply provide another viewpoint of how their daughter is happy to have an option in Friends. http://www.pressherald.com/news/mainer-no-friend-of-new-lego-characters_2012-01-08.html

In her follow-up opinion piece, http://www.onlinesentinel.com/opinion/why-is-the-organized-protest-against-lego-and-why-now__2012-01-18.html the main instigator, Lyn Mikel Brown, gets catalogs & Club Magazines confused. :wink:

They've also had to admit their campaign message was muddled by back-tracking to clarify a misconception they apparently unintentionally spread that their goal was to stop the Friends line from entering the market place. (read bottom message about "corrected info") http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/15/lego-friends-girls-gender-toy-marketing_n_1206293.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

They are now telling their "followers" on FB to stay tuned ...

Really? :wacko:

Although I don't have FB(Gasp!), maybe this already happened, IDK. Someone should make an anti petition petition against these nut jobs. Put the facts that they chose to ignore on so the uninformed public knows the whole story instead of just that side of it.

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Great article. I would like to bring up a couple points you mading concerning technic and trains being for boys..

I don't believe thats fair. While its true that more boys will find techinc and trains more apealing than most girls, this doesn't mean that these patricula theme's were directly intended for them. The point of techic is to bring modern machinery and there functions to life. These can apeal to nearly anyone as long as they an enterest in vehicles and how things operate.

same with trains. There's only so many ways you can make a train and I'm not really sure how you can make one that would apeal more to a girl than a boy. Either you like them or you don't. Again, i guess its fair to say that more boys would be enterested than most girls, i don't believe it was intended for boys. TLC mearly saw a market and capatalized on it. Simular to the friends theme.

I agree that Trains and Technic sets can appeal to both boys and grisl, but at a certain point TLG stops showing pictures of girls playing with trains and only showcases boys. Technic (as far as I could find) is always advertised showing featuring boys playing with it, never girls. This, coupled with teh dark blue and black color palettes of the set boxes send the message that these are toys for "boys only"

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There is nothing wrong with the theme. Lego has made girly themes before, with no complaints.

-Omi

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I´m sorry for not being very enlightened on this subject and as I didn´t want to scroll through 27 pages of comments I must apologise if this has been said before, but anyway.

If I understand this correctly, the world is mad at LEGO for doing a girls oriented theme to attract more girls to building with LEGO. What´s the big deal? I mean, what other themes does LEGO have? Hm, let´s see: police. Fire department. Space. Racers. Ninjago. Knights. Star Wars. Harbour. Dump trucks and construction workers. Technic. Super heroes. Architecture. Hero factory. Disney Cars. Etc etc. Very female, right? I´m sure every little girl would be screaming with joy when throwing the princess dress out the window and start assembling a construction crane or a superhero.

Give LEGO a break. They want to make a theme specially for girls? Be my guest.

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Excellent write up there 'fallentomato', great reading. I'm not sure myself if the minidoll will live pass a few years, the hands not rotating could be a problem.....yet Playmobile has similar figures.....has anyone else considered the same issues with Playmobile ? :wink:

There products run along similar lines as Lego, castles, pirates, airports and police plus doll houses, stables with horses, etc., do they have a controversy ? :laugh:

I say let the controversy end and let the children play, there are more important things in the world to be worried about than some minidolls. :classic:

That's my last two cents worth in this topic. :wink:

Edit - Perhaps this might show the real reason behind the minidoll....the battle between Lego and Playmobile.

Edited by lightningtiger

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It's a nice article you put together FallenTomato, capturing the general issue with the series. There are some people on the Internet with extreme opinions either way, and they tend to make discussion difficult. Your point here gets a lot of my issue with the series:

"...TLG fundamentally believes that boys and girls have entirely separate needs and desires. This is a harmful belief that we as a culture need to rid ourselves of."

Those might be fighting words to some, but they seem completely sensible to me. As a parent, I want to encourage open possibilities for my child, not streamed directions based on gender.

So, I'm all for diversity in the LEGO line, and by diversity, I don't mean toy lines divided by gender but a more open field.

Personally, the new lady-figs don't bother me at all, and the more I see them, the more used to them I am. I love all the old discontinued figs of the past :wub:

Thanks :sweet:

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It is getting frustrating that it seems that LEGO fans have taken it their obligation to join the bandwagon of defending Friends because they see the controversy (In fact, it begins with the tendency to belittle the topic by constantly putting the word controversy in quotes. Guess what? This is a controversy, we are still discussing it and it has been weeks already. )

That is the only possible explanation I can think for so many AFOLs going full apologist for the mini-dolls. Considering they are no worse than Jack Stone, it is very hard to be supportive of them. Which reminds me, the article is well researched and all but I have to disagree about this:

To be fair, I want to fully acknowledge the one area where the minidoll has a slight advantage over the minifig: racial diversity

The opposite in fact. Yellow minifigs are race-less. The excuse for peach and racial differentiation in licensed sets is that they have to look like the characters. There is no workable excuse for racial differentiation in Friends. And is in fact quite lame if we consider that the businessweek article mentioned how LEGO thinks that girls are supposed to identify themselves with dolls.

tl;dr: To paraphrase the great Seinfeld show, the mini-dolls don't offend me as a feminist, they offend me as an AFOL.

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The other common one is to show us that pink is not really so used in the theme. Did you consider that the boxes themselves are pink? That is already enough to show that TLG are abusing stereotypes and promoting the standard that girls = pink. Pink is not used everywhere in the sets but it still seems like a mandatory color as there is always pink in one set.

And of course "LEGO is only doing what they need to profit". Is this the same AFOL community that so easily (and deservedly) complains about oversized boxes and low quality plastic? Hey when LEGO oversizes boxes they are increasing their profit because more people will buy them thinking that the sets are bigger. Who cares if it is not green?

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About the article: Well-researched is probably the best way to classify it. This is the first time something from AFOLs I read about the topic actually mentions the source of the controversy. Finally I can actually look up to the SPARK petition and figure out if their claims are outrageous.

Back in page 4 I claimed that it is true, Friends are too stereotypically girly. Worse, ever since the 2000s just about every non-creator theme has gone towards the stereotypically boyish way. In fact, even Creator seems to have issues lately as 5 out of 6 sets are cars. LEGO are clearly being sexist, read the businessweek article. Claims such as boys like mastery, girls need detail are sexist. Worse, the UK LEGO club magazine is ominous in that LEGO is working for full segregation of boys and girls. And the article's data actually supports this. But hey, they are doing this for profit, so it is all right.

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Duplo is not really that successful. Bionicle sort-of succeeded in its early days but then not so much. Bionicle and HF don't count anyway as they are not minifig themes (duh) but constraction figures.

Edited by vexorian

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