Friday, 5 October 2012

Is Lego stereotyping? When did the gender divide arrive at Lego HQ?

Maybe it's my age and my nostalgic memories of creating my own little village of Lego when I was young that is clouding my judgement now.

Growing up I enjoyed building a couple of cottages, a bakery, police station, fire station, hospital, flower shop, bus station, school, fairground..... and supplementing this with the train tracks and a little Lego train, a Lego bus and numerous Lego cars.

Could you buy those things from the Lego shop at Legoland Windsor?

My review of LegoLand Windsor is here  ]

No you could not.  And it seemed to be very boy / girl orientated.  With, dare I say it, a predominance of boy angled products.  The front section was dominated by Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Dino, and Ninjago, Lord of the Rings, Kingdoms and Cars ranges.  Then there was a VERY pink corner with less lego and more Princess dressing-up products, hair slides and purses. 

The brand new Friends range is creating a big stir with my girls, but, not only is there not much in this range yet, I am also annoyed that the Lego girls in these sets are suddenly taller and thinner.  As if we didn't have enough overly slim role models?

The absolute joy of Lego when I was young was that it wasn't stereotyped.  It was neither for girls, or for boys.  The Lego people were differentiated only by subtle variations to hair, skin colour and clothing colours.  Now it seems that this openness is gone.  The colour scheme choices for the boxes aim to direct certain box sets towards girls or boys.  How incredibly typical is it that the Friends range is in pink and purple?

I had a browse of the Lego store website whilst writing this.  Along with the ranges mentioned above you've also got, Monster Fighters, Technic, Hero Factory and Racers - all of which are aimed almost exclusively at boys.  Are boys really all about the fighting and the monsters?  What about the Lego for girls?

The only theme that looked, according to it's initial theme logo picture on the home page, non-gender specific was Creator and there doesn't appear to be the types of sets I played with as a child available anymore.  You struggle to find a 'house' to make.  And then the site crashed on me... so I suspect that's a sign that I should stop turning into a grumpy old woman.

But, really?  Can't they release the classic 80s sets?  Couldn't you get little Carousels and such like?   Maybe that's an idea Lego?  A retro range!  Please!  Now I get more than £2 pocket money a week I could actually finish that village.  I'm thinking a post office, pharmacist, hair salon (multisex obviously), and church complete with church bells.

What Lego set would you want if you could select anything?
 

14 comments:

  1. I love the idea of a retro range. I think that would sell really well.

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    1. Wonder if I could claim commission if they do it !? ;-)

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  2. I'm with you there. I hate everything being pink and girly. Why do they think that that even applies to lego in the first place? The brilliance of lego was that you could always make your own mind up about what you wanted to make, not be told what you should be making because you're a boy or girl.

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  3. retro lego would be great, although I'd probably be fighting with my daughter over it!

    I do agree with you about the whole pink/girly thing, it does annoy me that everything for girls is pink and everything for boys is blue. I'm trying to let me daughter make her own choices. Interestingly at the moment (she's almost 2) she is obsessed with helicopters and diggers.

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    1. Our younger daughter has just turned four and despite a love of dinosaurs since, well, birth, she started to say it's for boys! I have lost track of how many times I've said "you can like whatever toys you like!" She seems to be getting over the labelling now and asked for, ironically, the something from the Dino lego range for her birthday!

      I think diggers and helicopters sound great! Good for her; and you for not restricting her choices! :-)

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  4. We've just bought this one for my daughter for Christmas http://www.amazon.co.uk/LEGO-Creator-7346-Seaside-House/dp/B006ZS4QEM/ref=sr_1_2?s=kids&ie=UTF8&qid=1349527852&sr=1-2 so there are some nice things like houses still out there. But you have to search for them, I noticed in the toy shop that it was all starwars and Ningango (or however you spell it)

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    1. The Seaside House is so cute! Yes, it seems you can track them down if you look hard enough. :-)

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  5. I had a brio & lego train set offering different sweet deliveries to my multitude of lego houses & windmills! And was desparate for some Star Wars lego to add to my collection.

    Perhaps the Lego people think that it's the parents who need to be convinced of the fact that lego is (most definately) for girls, rather than the girls themselves?

    I'm definately going to resist any pink stuff here & will be adding this to the girls Amazon wishlists ASAP (DD1 is nearly 4, so might have to wait a while!)

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    1. I love that Monster Dino! Very cool. My 4 year old would absolutely love it and she's a girl. :-)

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  6. "The absolute joy of Lego when I was young was that it wasn't stereotyped"

    YES!

    Though, when I was but a girl, I had Paradisa Lego, the original Lego For Girls.

    I would just like generic kits in all different colours, so you can make whatever you like.

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    1. Absolutely. The idea should be to make whatever! :-)

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  7. lovely blog! would you like to follow each other in gfc? let me know! http://xxxloveisbeautyxxx.blogspot.ie/

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    1. Sure! I love your blog. Have followed you. :-)

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