LEGO ... for girls

Interesting article -


I’d like to read that anthropology report.

I can’t see how much different that ‘girl’ minifig is from Duplo minifigs, apart from looking more ‘tweeny’

I see this as the danger:

The Lego Friends team is aware of the paradox at the heart of its work: To break down old stereotypes about how girls play, it risks reinforcing others. “If it takes color-coding or ponies and hairdressers to get girls playing with Lego, I’ll put up with it, at least for now, because it’s just so good for little girls’ brains,” says Lise Eliot. A neuroscientist at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, Eliot is the author of Pink Brain Blue Brain, a 2009 survey of hundreds of scientific papers on gender differences in children. “Especially on television, the advertising explicitly shows who should be playing with a toy, and kids pick up on those cues,” Eliot says. “There is no reason to think Lego is more intrinsically appealing to boys.”

That said, my girls gravitate to girl things (fairies, dancing, pink) even though I’ve tried to make sure they know they can do what they want. It’s had various success- my eldest loves Star Wars (we are in the middle of the Lego Star Wars Advent calendar) and they both think farts are hilarious.

My sisters had this back in maybe 1995…

Thanks for providing that link.

Loved LEGO when I was small (up to the age when I started to discover girls, I think.)
but can’t remember it to having been “linear” back then.

We just had big baskets of blocks and some special sets, that my father provided an old tool
box for, to sort them. Everything got mixed up when playing and I can remember to having
built the “sets” only a few times each, even if my father kept the “plans” very accurately in a
folder in order not to loose them.

Mostly it was a boys only play, though. The girls really didn’t like the Lego world. They
liked Playmobil much better.

It is stunning that it took Lego 30 years of try and error to find out, that girls didn’t
like the “little yellow men”. Why did they think so many barbies lived in Lego houses ???

I am very curious to see how the new Lego for girls takes off, as we have a little daughter
now and I’d love to see her adventure into plays, that take a little more than being a most
demanding princess. (which she isn’t. she is a toddler, who loves tupper ware stacks at
the moment.)


Hmmmm… were your sisters 32-year-old gay men?

2 guys. Alone. Beach resort. Drinks. Pink cabana chairs. Umbrella. Parrot. And I swear the guy on the right has a moustache.

Not sayin’, just sayin’.

Not that there is anything wrong with that. :wink:

haha… hard to see, but the one of the left is a girl.

The Lego Friends team is aware of the paradox at the heart of its work: To break down old stereotypes about how girls play, it risks reinforcing others. “If it takes color-coding or ponies and hairdressers to get girls playing with Lego, I’ll put up with it, at least for now, because it’s just so good for little girls’ brains,” says Lise Eliot.

So, we learn that all it takes to “market” to the feminine gender is pink and pastels? It’s been done since the 1950s. I wonder what else we can sell based on color alone?

Lionel Trains; 1955

with apologies to my friend in Germany.

With my daughter, who loves horses more than anything, Lego was not discovered until I bought her a set that had a horse in it. Then she got into it and all the houses and barns she could make. She got my old Lego from my parents as a Christmas present a few years ago. Then she wanted one that was a house you could make different ways. Now that she is 11 Lego is not high on the list , but learning how to make things with Lego has helped her design barns for her Breyer horses, which I helped her make out of wood.

For my daughter, being able to choose the colour was more important than if it were pink or some other “girl” colour.

I think that if a girl wants a pink gun, she is not saying I like pink, she is saying "I am a girl”. Much like if a guy paints his car flat black he is embracing masculine behavior. My wife is a shooter, and a pink gun is laughable to her, she prefers the nickel finish on her ruger new vaquero .357 revolver.

Colours are not in themselves boy/girl, but promoted as such. When I went to school a boy would get beat up for wearing anything pink. Now it is a common color in business for shirts.

To change the parental perception of what is boy/girl starts when when said parents are kids.

I worked with LEGO’s Boston office in the mid nineties, consulting on innovative product ideas. At the time, they had concrete research criteria (and that Boston office co-opted with MIT, so their research was no joke). Their criteria consisted entirely of boy-types-and-ages; Agent Anthony, Bully Bob, Kreative Kristian and Systematic Sygfreud - and all four ‘type’ categories had age-sub categories into which each toy was to be aligned. Very Danish!

When I asked if they pursued parallel research on girl-oriented toy development, I received a warm smile and a polite, ‘no market for that, but your product ideas can be feminine if it seems to work - no issues there’. I guess a down-Global economy will force even the staunchest of detractors to think differently! It seems only natural that the product managers thought to themselves, “hey, what about those other 58% of kids out there…you know, the pretty ones?”

Like Sanjyoog, my wife and I have done a commendable job of making sure both our son and daughter not feel limited to toys and activities that are gender-acceptable. My son sews, my daughter plays football (but neither do those things particularly well nor do they seem to enjoy them!!)…but I didn’t go out of my way to make sure my son only sewed things made of denim or corduroy - and I didn’t buy a pink football for my daughter - maybe Lego has lapsed in their extensive child-psychology research, because it seems shallow that they felt their only option was to make curvy, pink kits with blonde hair and flowers to accomplish increased interest with girls.

Seems like the easy way out to me - like they missed the good boat. I should’ve kept in touch with those guys - that could have been a nice 2 year, 7 figure project!! :slight_smile:

This reminded me when I was walking down the street the other week when the local grade school was ending. It took me 5 seconds to realize that every single girl had some sort of pink item, mainly their backpack or jacket. After 5 seconds I made an effort to find a single girl without a single pink item, dozens and dozens of them and not a single one.

A relatively recent phenomena:
“The ghettoisation of pink: how it has cornered the little-girl market”

Children weren’t colour-coded at all until the early 20th century: in the era before domestic washing machines all babies wore white as a practical matter, since the only way of getting clothes clean was to boil them. What’s more, both boys and girls wore what were thought of as gender-neutral dresses. When nursery colours were introduced, pink was actually considered the more masculine hue, a pastel version of red, which was associated with strength. Blue, with its intimations of the Virgin Mary, constancy and faithfulness, symbolised femininity. (That may explain a portrait that has always befuddled me, of my father as an infant in 1926 wearing a pink dress.) Why or when that switched is not clear, but many of the early Disney heroines – Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Wendy, Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins’s Jane Banks – were dressed in various shades of azure. (When the company introduced the Princess line, it deliberately changed Sleeping Beauty’s gown to pink, supposedly to distinguish her from Cinderella.) It was not until the mid-1980s, when amplifying age and sex differences became a dominant children’s marketing strategy, that pink fully came into its own, when it began to seem innately attractive to girls, part of what defined them as female, at least for the first few critical years.

Great article. To note my fave color is pink fwiw (dont read too much into it) . Even when I was in grade 5 (it was the 80s, mind you) I would only wear fluorescent pink, blue or yellow. Still some of faves. :slight_smile:


This whole pink discussion reminded me of this fantastic article by Erica Eden:

I admire her distinction that overtly feminine design only works when a company considers the person’s mindset when using their product. Lego is definitely on the right track because a child’s mindset during playtime is to latch onto the part of their identity that they know is fixed (their gender) and celebrate/reinforce all the things associated with it. Hence the blindingly pink aisle in most toy stores.

I just hope that Lego follows up with a diverse range of girls toys because I think most children get bored after a while with gender norms and thats when they start bending the rules during playtime. I distinctly remember when I was little and decided that pink princesses were for babies and that tomboys were soo much cooler.

Plus, most girls toys are really unimaginative past animals, castles and fairies whereas boys have a huge sci fi/combat category to explore which is due in large part to the video game industry. Lego is in a unique position to expand the imaginative potential of girl’s toys. Personally, I really hope they come out with a Kim Possible lego kit or something. :sunglasses:

Two sides to every coin;,8599,1976402,00.html

Richard: In Uni, I wore a lot of pastel colors. I like pink too. Even more now that, culturally, it has been pigeon-holed as girly. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find nice fitting clothes in those colors. Now, I wear way too much black. Oh well.

My daughter is 5. She loves building with Lego and constructed a Christmas tree using Lego on the weekend. Other times she builds houses or playgrounds, buses or boats. She incorporates other toys, like plastic animals or toy cars, into her Lego worlds.

We have a big bucket full of all the base parts, including windows, doors, wheels with axis, and when we get a new set from someone, we just throw the parts in with the rest, rather than trying to puzzle the sets together the correct way. I think Lego should concentrate more on fostering imagination and less about the closely defined sets which are just glorified 3D puzzles.
Their best products are the big buckets which give lots of open-ended options (the girl version does have a nicer colour palette – light green, yellow and hot pink).

My daughter likes the assortment of yellow Lego people we have, except that their hair helmets keep falling off and get lost. I cringe at the the thought of the new hair salon set Lego is introducing.

While I applaud Lego’s effort I have mixed feelings about their result. It looks a lot better than most of their previous efforts, though, like others, it has a little bit of “the easy way out” feel (though I’m sure a ton of work went into it).

The thing that struck me first was that the new figures would be a different size & configuration than the current figures. While the basic reason for this, that girls see themselves in the figures while boys are more 3rd person, seems sound, I really don’t like how this makes sets for boys and girls less compatible. It’d be great to see a spectrum of sets from boy focused to girl focused, with a lot of gender neutral in the middle, but this move makes that difficult. I agree that the best part about legos is being able to dump all the sets into one bucket and make whatever you want, & this impedes that.

Just this past weekend I was in a mall and noticed there was a new Lego store. I went in, saw that you could make a custom figure for purchase from a bin of parts, and decided to make a couple for my brother and his fiance (they had a Lego advent calendar last year). It wasn’t too hard to make one that looked remarkably like my brother, but when it got to his fiance it was quite a challenge. They had a few different hairstyles and faces to choose from, but for the torso and legs it was almost totally guy skewed. I ended up giving her overalls, which she doesn’t even wear (if only she was a policewoman or doctor). It seemed like there was a lot of low hanging fruit to better suite girls within the current framework. And speaking of policewoman - all it previously took to make that police uniform go on a girl was to change the head - easy for a girl to be anything she wanted. Now will girls see all the traditional figures as masculine and not believe they can be made into women?

But in all fairness, as the NY Times article Generatewhatsnext linked said, maybe “… we’ve reached the point where girls see blocks in primary colors and think they’re not for them.” So maybe a radical change was necessary (though I’m not quite convinced).

Also, looking at the sets at 2012 LEGO sets: LEGO Friends pictures! they look quite simple. As the originally linked BusinessWeek article noted, building complex models gives a sense of accomplishment. Why not offer that to girls?

I have that Pink Estate Wagon. My parents found it at an estate sale. There is an actual chain running down the center of the seat. Ill let you know if my daughter looses a leg next year once shes old enough to drive it.

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I appreciate that a lot of effort went into the research of the target demographic, which is important. However, I don’t agree with / can’t believe the new bricks are not compatible with the current bricks. Obviously the two sets are going to at some point get mixed up in a bin when kids are playing. It could have been so cool (even for some grown up lego fanatics) for Lego to have expanded their current set into a totally new color palette with rounded edges (or slightly different profiles)!!