Lego Friends – how do you feel about lego for girls?

Who doesn’t like champagne and smoked salmon for breakfast? A fool, that’s who, a fact that Lego appreciated as they plied me with booze and snacks this morning, whilst I played with the new Lego Friends range and got disproportionately excited about the teeny-weeny coffee machine and ketchup dispenser.

(Gosh, that was a long sentence wasn’t it? I really must be excited).

If you haven’t come across it already, Lego Friends is the new range of Lego designed particularly for girls. It’s the same Lego building experience, but is based on years of research and development that has shown that girls prefer more ‘real life’ play, featuring scenarios they encounter in their own lives. As a mother of two girls, I can vouch for this. Most little girls I know aren’t interested in aliens and robots and rockets, they want realism and detail. Hence the tiny ketchup dispensers.

Lego Friends

Can you spot the tiny ketchup dispenser?

The range has attracted some criticism from people who think it’s too ‘pink’ and that the idea of Lego for girls is crazy, that Lego should be gender neutral. Unfortunately, as much as we like to believe that boys and girls are equal, the fact is that generally, they like different things. Not much you can do about that really.

Yes, there is some pink involved, but there are other colours too, and yes, one of the Lego girls is an aspiring fashion designer, but another is an inventor, who likes hanging out in her workshop, building robots.

Lego for girls

I think what the Lego Friends shows us is that while girls can choose to be vets or scientists, they should also feel comfortable about choosing a career in fashion or hairdressing or music or anything else they feel passionate about – it’s about equality of opportunity, doing what makes you happy, and not feeling pressured or judged. Being a mathematician is fantastic if you love numbers, but equally if your dream job is running a café and making great coffee, then that’s fine too.

Lego friends for girls

What do you think about the idea of Lego designed for girls? Do girls and boys just enjoy playing in different ways or are we reinforcing gender stereotypes?

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38 Comments

  1. Slummy In A Relationship Daddy
    10 February, 2012 / 5:30 pm

    As a long time Lego lover the soda-pop-shop looks quite good, but the people aren’t genuine Lego men / women. They aren’t even yellow. Fail.

    • 12 February, 2012 / 6:47 pm

      Well that intentional, and a result of their research – apparently girls prefer more realism, and so they wanted to make them look more like real people. They do work the same way as traditional lego people, so you can take them apart, change their hair and stuff.

  2. 10 February, 2012 / 6:07 pm

    There’s no coffee dispensers in the ‘boys’ lego though is there? Where’s their message that it’s ok to run a cafe? I don’t see why girls can’t just play with the normal stuff. They’ll still build what they want to anyway.

    However having said all that, the tiny ketchup dispensers do sound quite cute… and I like the lego geek girl with the robots too.

    • 12 February, 2012 / 6:48 pm

      No, no coffee dispensers in the boys’ stuff. Maybe there should be, or maybe it comes back to the point about boys playing in a different way, and not enjoying so much the more ‘real’ scenarios?

  3. Vicky
    10 February, 2012 / 6:09 pm

    That’s awesome. I want some!

    I have two boys and whilst they totally do the whole cars/rockets/trains thing, they have also enjoyed “playing house” and “shops” etc. So I wonder is it so pink that it’ll push parents of boys out of the market. It’s hard to tell from the little I’ve seen so far.

    I have seen many a little girl play with traditional Lego and I think there are plenty of boys happy to play with things like that to, provided they don’t candy it up too much.

    Anyway, am rambling! It looks great.

    • 12 February, 2012 / 6:50 pm

      I think you’re right that it will push parents of boys out of the market, but I think that’s intentional. Although there are loads of girls that enjoy lego, it’s still mainly boys that play with it and buy it, hence creating something that would appeal more specifically to girls. (I sound like I work for Lego – they obviously did a good job of convincing me!!)

  4. 10 February, 2012 / 6:12 pm

    i think this is brilliant i know for sure that my daughter would love it

  5. Gordon MacP.
    10 February, 2012 / 6:20 pm

    Lego for girls is fine as long as it doesn’t conform to the outdated ‘women in the kitchen homemaking baby rearing’ ethos and even worse imprint those stereotypes still further to girls at a young age…

    Where are the Lego Tank Girl, Lara Croft, Ripley, Sarah Connor, Lizbeth Salander etc ranges?

    Even Winx Club provides better role models….

    As a father of two young (7 and 8) boys who love Star Wars Lego, what I know is that they love their heroes and Lego provides that…does the new Lego for girls provide the appropriate heroines?

    Maybe the Emmeline Pankhurst story in Lego would be going too far but look at the new Lego architecture range…all male creations.

    As you say….’Being a mathematician is fantastic if you love numbers, but equally if your dream job is running a café and making great coffee, then that’s fine too’

    … and that is ‘fine too’ in the boys Lego…they have the Fire series, the Police series etc – however I have yet to see the factory worker, building site labourer, plumber, accountant, grocer, banker sets and it will be a sad day when I do…

    As Richard Bach famously wrote…”Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” – I have always believed that by setting limitations to our children we limit them, and I honestly believe that this is what this ‘girls’ Lego will subconsciously do….

    Ketchup bottles in the Lego kitchen – I think not….

    • 12 February, 2012 / 6:53 pm

      It’s an interesting question, the one of heroes. It got me thinking about who my role models were as a child, who my heroes were, and I couldn’t think of any in the same Star Wars style, so maybe it just comes back again to that idea of girls and boys being inherently different. Do girls look for heroes in the same way that boys do? Just wondering, as I know my daughters don’t seem to – they seem to aspire more to be like women they know in real life, women in their family they admire, teachers, that sort of thing. It’s interesting to think about though – thanks for your comment!

      • becky
        20 February, 2012 / 9:32 am

        Jo that is my experience too, heroes I gre wup wire the Rosa parks of this wrold and my amazing grandmother not some made up living in a planet stuff. Reall heroes and bTW there are lego constuction sets, being a police man is a public service, ruuning a cafe is aspirational for somepeople a sis being a designer and an inventor. This range embraces all types of femmal role models and boys too may love it!

        • 21 February, 2012 / 3:10 pm

          Quite right! Lovely to see you by the way :-)

  6. SAMANTHA
    10 February, 2012 / 6:25 pm

    I think it’s a great idea! As a child I used to love playing with my brother’s Lego, however I always used to build houses with pretty gardens full of flowers because most of it was cars, trucks, pirate ships etc, boyish themed stuff I wasn’t really interested in. I never had any girly Lego to myself and I would have loved this if it was around at the time. I will definitely look to buy my little girl some of this range when she is old enough x

    • 12 February, 2012 / 6:55 pm

      It’s true Samantha – when I used to play with Lego I always used to build houses! I’d never thought of it until you said that, but I never build rockets or anything, I always build homes and nice sensible cars and dining sets. I’m a terrible feminist!

  7. 10 February, 2012 / 6:48 pm

    my daughter (8) has played with Lego and bit and enjoys “normal” building to some extent. she does also enjoy role play so it maybe she would enjoy some of this. in a way I wish this had more neutral packaging and contained male and female figures to be more popular across the genders..

    • 12 February, 2012 / 6:56 pm

      I noticed that too – that it’s just female figures – I imagine that’s deliberate so that girls feel it’s just about ‘them’, but is that a good thing or not? Some like it, some won’t I guess.

  8. honeybee
    10 February, 2012 / 7:35 pm

    This is a useful development for the Lego range…I mean, why limit the sales to the traditional audience of little boys? Lots of ‘girly’ toy ranges use role-play and it would have seemed silly for Lego to continue to ignore the opportunity to widen its potential market.
    Construction-based play will always be a good way of developing co-ordination skills and imagination for all children irrespective of their gender/sex.
    Gender bias and stereotypes are a part of the world – how we respond and react to them as parents is the important thing.

    • 12 February, 2012 / 7:26 pm

      Excellent point Honeybee – it’s like anything isn’t it, we can’t control the external factors, only how we deal with them.

  9. Chris Knight
    10 February, 2012 / 7:36 pm

    From the look of it, none of the pieces used here are different from the regular set; it is only the colours and the way it has been packaged up that differ. The exception being the more life-like people, which I think is probably a +ve way forward… for boys too.

    So the point I’m making is… you could have made this coffee shop using other sets. Is it that girls lack the ‘architectural imagination’ of boys that has prevented them from enjoying Lego as much in the past? Will girls break these models apart and build something of their own design?

    • 12 February, 2012 / 7:28 pm

      You’re right Chris, the basics are exactly the same, the bricks are all identical, I think the difference is the extra little bits, which girls just seem to love, (I do anyway…). You could build the shell of a cafe from the basic bricks, but you wouldn’t be able to kit it out with tiny coffee machines and cups and spatulas would you?

  10. 10 February, 2012 / 8:02 pm

    I love the idea of Lego being more targeted to girls’ interests, but to be honest, this range just isn’t challenging enough for my ten-year-old daughter. She absolutely adores Lego but has more fun with the boy-oriented ranges because it’s the challenge of actually building the pieces that floats her boat. Lego Friends is great for kids who enjoy the “let’s pretend” aspect of play, and of course, perhaps it’s aimed at a younger age range anyway, but for the aspiring female architect or engineer? I reckon Lego has a way to go.

    • 12 February, 2012 / 7:30 pm

      I do agree with you there Mandy, and I don’t think there is as much flexibility in the building, or as much imagination required at the building stage. Belle just followed the instructions, built it as she was told, and then played with it. It’s almost like the building in these sets is secondary to the playing. I don’t know though how boys play – to they follow the instructions and then play with the things they’ve built or do they spend more time in the building and design stages?

  11. 12 February, 2012 / 8:45 am

    ooh I think this looks great – my girls LOVE lego – and yes i agree, boys and girls DO play differently…

  12. Mark
    12 February, 2012 / 10:07 am

    Girls and boys definitely do play in different ways. I have one of each and although D doesn’t play with dolls, and never really has, she most definitely doesn’t like the same video games as her older brother G for example. But I also realise from seeing G & D’s friends at play that all kids play in a different way!

    D likes Lego, but not the same sort of Lego that G gets pleasure from, so whilst I think that Lego shouldn’t be strictly gender neutral it doesn’t need to be too gender specific. From what I see from your blog this looks like a good compromise and would appeal to boys and girls alike.

    I’d play with it ;-)

    • 12 February, 2012 / 7:34 pm

      Well I enjoyed it! It did feel like a good compromise to me, but they I had been plied with bubbly and bagels :-)

  13. 12 February, 2012 / 10:41 am

    L, my (6yo) daughter absolutely adores star wars lego. Yes I will hold my hands up to the fact that her initial introduction to it might have had something to do with her step dads addiction to anything to do with lego but now L loves it and its the only thing she asked for at christmas and the only thing she wants to spend her pocket money on.
    I saw the lego friends stuff in hamleys last week and there was no robot tech girl on the stand, all they had was the beauty salon, the cafe and the pet pupply place. There are also no male “dolls” in any of them, (even as customers). L has had a wooden dolls house which over the years has had various add-ons such as the veg patch and stable but all have had an equal number of the various sexes.
    Having looked at the lego friends website, I can see that there is a limited selection of more traditionally male biased “jobs” or interests such as the design school, the lab and the treehouse but I think lego have made a major oversight in it being completely female dominated. Rant over.

    • 12 February, 2012 / 7:33 pm

      That’s a shame about the bias of the display, as the whole workshop/science set was my favourite. They do a veterinary surgery too, did they not have that? They do have more coming out later in the year, hopefully they’ll expand those aspects of the range then.

  14. 12 February, 2012 / 1:08 pm

    I agree with every word you said
    P.S. does that mean I also get salmon and champagne? Bring it on :-)

  15. 16 February, 2012 / 6:13 am

    It is very true that “girls prefer more ‘real life’ play……”. My daughter loves to play with dolls as if she is the mother of them and make coffee/lunch using kitchen sets. I could find some rare collection of Lego Toys at http://www.toyopia.co.uk/.

  16. 19 February, 2012 / 8:48 pm

    I think Lego is one of the best toys out there, but the beauty of it lies in the freedom it provides and the imagination it encourages. I think the sets
    detract from that for both girls and boys. I’ve never seen the point of those over priced boxes that only make one thing – whether that’s a helicopter or a cafe. And I think adding gender into the mix only imposes further limitations.
    I have a boy and a girl and I’m not denying they play in (slightly) different ways (which could of course just be down to character as much as anything es.) But if kids are going to discover gender differences, surely they should be allowed to do so naturally. I would rather they had the freedom to discover their own interests without being directed and influenced by marketing and adult theories. I don’t want my son to think making pretend coffee is for girls, and I don’t want my daughter to think that it’s not feminine to build robots.

    • 21 February, 2012 / 3:09 pm

      That’s what I like about this Lego though – the robot designer is friends with the fashion designer and animal lover, and there doesn’t feel like there is that whole thing of certain jobs being for girls or boys.

      • 23 February, 2012 / 1:51 am

        They are all very cute

  17. becky
    20 February, 2012 / 9:35 am

    But in the inventors studio there is exactly that a girl making obots!

  18. 20 February, 2012 / 10:48 am

    I think the lego is great but not just for girls. I have twin boys as well as a daughter and they all enjoy playing with it. The more diversity in toys the better as far as I’m concerned, then you can find something for everyone.

  19. 23 February, 2012 / 1:50 am

    I would really like to get me daughter one

  20. 2 March, 2012 / 7:18 pm

    Someone up here mentioned needing a Lego Tank Girl.

    Here you go:

    http://youtu.be/Idfgj8jEFig

    That’s the fun thing about Lego. You want something? Build it yourself. That’s how it works.

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