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  #1  
Old 01-13-2012, 05:11 PM
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Default All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Okay so the award winning title eludes me. Fuck off.

Anyway, Legos new line especially for girls pissed me off the moment I saw the pink pages in the newest catalog

My most immediate WTF reactions were to

1. The people are not Lego minifigures (that have interchangeable parts allowing for creation of mutants), but mini dolls

2. The structures have way, way, way fewer actual Legos to build with. Huge prebuilt sections. And it's all fucking pink. Most humans don't live in pink houses. WTF?

Compare this (note the cat)



with this (note the dog)



Someone at Lego had to have thought, or been told, that girls do not like to build, girls do not like to create mutants, or that girls only buy pink, otherwise why the need for this new line? Who told Lego that girls aren't buying Legos? Is it necessary to make pink stuff for Legos to be put in the "girls' aisle" at the store (in which case :glare: merchandisers for being such dickheads)

There are several universally appealing Lego lines that I can't imagine girls having problems with. Harry Potter springs to mind, as does Kingdoms and Lego Town and the new Dino line

Kiddo wanted some kitchen stuff and dishes a few years back, and every goddamn thing in the store was pink and flowery. Not that he cares, but there is no pink decor in my house, and his room is undersea themed, and exactly what is it about a stove that suggests it needs to be pink and have flowers stuck on it? With the percentage of chefs who are male being so huge, why do manufacturers feel the need to feminize a set of dishes? I found some stainless steel play dishes and pots and pans, and a wooden kitchen, but I had to look around online and pay more because it wasn't available in the store.

So, are we as parents/consumers forcing manufacturers to separate perfectly neutral stuff like buildings and people and ovens into "boys and girls"? Is it the merchandisers who insist on boys and girls sections in their stores causing this unnecessary separation? Do the kids themselves really demand this?
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2012, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

What the frak? It's kind of insulting to even call that Legos, since there's very little building involved, and little to no room for creativity or variation.



I have a friend who is a Legos champion. Her creations (scratch-built, not kits) have won lots of awards and have often been featured in magazines. She has even built Legos creations professionally. She just finished a friggin' huge model of Meduseld (from The Lord of the Rings) for which she won an award.


At least some girls are not just Legos fans but bona fide Legos artists.
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2012, 05:33 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Using Legos as an art medium is awesome. I have seen some truly astounding creations.

We subscribed Kiddo to the Master Builder Academy to learn how to create his own stuff.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Well, a lot of the Lego stuff normally comes in kits, you have to either work with the parts their version of the TIE Fighter, or whatever, uses, combine multiple kits, or order other pieces separately. I don't know if they still sell the big grab-buckets, but even those has X number of piece Y and so on.

I kinda dig that the Lego people (and animals) from the 'girls' set actually look more realistic, and I wonder why they thought it was OK to change the iconic look for the 'girls' set. But, of course, I've always been bothered by the conception that all the girls must want to play "house," and only boys want to play with dinosaurs or dragons or knights or whatever.

Quote:
Kiddo wanted some kitchen stuff and dishes a few years back, and every goddamn thing in the store was pink and flowery. Not that he cares, but there is no pink decor in my house, and his room is undersea themed, and exactly what is it about a stove that suggests it needs to be pink and have flowers stuck on it? With the percentage of chefs who are male being so huge, why do manufacturers feel the need to feminize a set of dishes? I found some stainless steel play dishes and pots and pans, and a wooden kitchen, but I had to look around online and pay more because it wasn't available in the store.
This has always been kinda baffling to me, 'cause it's such a blatant mixed message. Girls are supposed to love doing kitchen stuff, and cooking is a 'girly' thing to do - unless you're getting paid to do it, then it's a "Real Men Only" profession. It's just such an obvious remnant of the "women do the housework, men have the jobs" mentality, and everyone from toy manufacturers to retail stores to most consumers just play right along, like it's the most obvious and natural thing in the world to do it that way.

I dunno, my daughter likes pink, and butterflies, and frilly dresses. She also likes poking at bugs, and killing stuff in video games. She'll come in next to me while I'm playing and yell "get 'em, get 'em, daddy!" and cheer when I kill whatever I was fighting.
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2012, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

I have no problem with boys and girls naturally tending to like certain things or not. Gender is, after all, a brain thing and not just a set of organs. I think offering more colors, including pink, in building blocks is a good thing. When he was littler we had both Duplos (by Lego) and MegaBlocks. The Duplos were primary colors and the MegaBlocks were tropical brights (turquoise and fuchsia and lime). The two brands don't fit together, so we kept them functionally separated, but he built robots for hours every day for a while there, and sometimes they were red and blue and sometimes hot pink and lemon yellow. He had no color preference that I noted.

What I have a problem with is purposefully taking items that suggest neutrality in and of themselves, and arbitrarily assigning them a "preferred by" gender and then continuing those arbitrary designations into the store aisles and advertising. Like Lincoln Logs or Tinker Toys...if they suddenly came out with a new line of pink logs in a pink box, what would be the purpose?

I think age appropriateness then toy type is a better toy aisle organizational model than boys and girls. Dolls and action figures belong in the same category, to me.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

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It's just such an obvious remnant of the "women do the housework, men have the jobs" mentality, and everyone from toy manufacturers to retail stores to most consumers just play right along, like it's the most obvious and natural thing in the world to do it that way.
And from how long ago is that remnant? How many generations do we have to be removed from Leave it to Beaver before those old concepts are finally gone? I see the same mentality in the whole "family values" thing. When very few families feature a stay at home mom and working dad that have never been divorced or remarried, why are we holding that out as the average model of a modern family?
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

My daughter has all the Harry Potter LEGO sets, although they may have been appropriated by my son now.

LEGO in general has been trending towards specialized pieces geared towards creating the design on the box, and is less focused on suggesting new ways to create your own designs. (Well, they've monetized the "create your own" to a certain extent, like the hero factory.)

So, it doesn't surprise me that LEGO for girls is following that same trend.
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Old 01-13-2012, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

If you're shopping at mainstream stores, it's never going to go away. Hello socially re-inforced gender stereotyping.

I was able to find kitchen sets that weren't pink.
http://www.nubiusorganics.com/Green-...-Set-P602.aspx and kits that had pink blocks that were Lego looking and not dumbed down.
Amazon.com: - Lego Creative Building System Set #5560 - Large Pink Brick Box with Bricks in 12 Colors, Building Plate, Door, Windows, Accessories, Horse and 1 Minifigure (Total Pieces: 402): Toys & Games

Most humans don't live in pink houses, but I can think of about 10 or 12 pink houses where I live.

I suspect one's perception of gender roles is different depending on where you are.

On the other hand, when Qindai jr was little, I remember going to a restaurant and a grandma complaining bitterly that her grandson got an orange straw and "orange is for girls". So I suspect, Lego, in it's non-imaginitive kit building frenzy, is trying to tap into the bitchy old grandma market.

Off brand legos have always been available in pink, lavender and other "girl" colors.
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2012, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

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Originally Posted by Qingdai
kits that had pink blocks that were Lego looking and not dumbed down.


I've seen that, and also felt it was just unnecessary. Make a big kit with all the colors in it if you want a set of Legos with universal appeal. Or even better (from a marketing as well as consumer standpoint) have a selection of color themes to choose from: pink/orange, primary, pastels, tropical brights, water/sea, earthtones...whatever. Then people can buy multiple sets

BTW the only counterpart/alternative to the box above is this

Amazon.com: LEGO Ultimate Building Set - 405 Pieces (6166): Toys & Games

Look at the price difference
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kael
LEGO in general has been trending towards specialized pieces geared towards creating the design on the box, and is less focused on suggesting new ways to create your own designs. (Well, they've monetized the "create your own" to a certain extent, like the hero factory.)
I understand the licensing of popular characters and such, and selling all these individual sets. From a marketing perspective you will sell more this way than if you only sell basic pieces that can be reused. I get that Lego wants to make money. That's to be expected when not everyone wants to be a Lego artist* building lifesize replicas of Darth Vader or whatever. Some kids want to build from instructions then play with the stuff. Kiddo sometimes does nothing but make and remake minifigs for several hours. All the pieces are in a sectioned case, so he has bodies and legs and hands and hair all separated. Making characters is his fave activity on the Lego video games as well.

But like the Kingdoms series. Have a commercial with a boy and a girl playing with it together, have it all in a "building toy" aisle and there is no need to come up with Lego version of Barbie. Many kids like castles and knights and princesses and can pretend from any aspect of that that they want.

The Lego Friends has a pink cafe, well wouldn't that work with the City series? It has a purple convertible with a butterfly on the hood, and hairbrushes and stuff. Why?

*ETA: Kiddo got the Creative Ideas book for his birthday, and it is awesome what people come up with.

Last edited by LadyShea; 01-13-2012 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Quote:
On the other hand, when Qindai jr was little, I remember going to a restaurant and a grandma complaining bitterly that her grandson got an orange straw and "orange is for girls". So I suspect, Lego, in it's non-imaginitive kit building frenzy, is trying to tap into the bitchy old grandma market.
:facepalm:
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Orange? That is so weird, like the father in the protective big brother article who spazzed about his son picking a purple controller. What's left in the spectrum for kids to pick from without getting shit for it? Blue and black and that's it?
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Sorry it took me so long to respond, I was looking for a thread with a clever title.

The way I see the "Lego Friends" sets isn't that they are saying these are Legos for girls. I'd imagine that girls who want to play with Legos, already do, like my own daughters. They use the existing licensed property sets or the increasingly scarce generic sets.

Instead "Lego Friends" is targeted at girls who don't already play with Lego. Lego is trying to reach them in the girls' toys aisle, since most retailers stock the Lego sets near the boys' toys aisles. Although, the big box stores tend to have dedicated Lego sections, like Toys R Us. But, even at Target, the Lego section is right next to the boy section and far removed from the girls section.

The sets themselves are themed very conventionally, I'll admit. It's all cafes, flower shops and animal clinics. But, there are a few nods to less conventional ideas, like "Olivia's Invention Lab:



Sure, it's only one set in a larger product line, but if it proves popular, then be sure Lego will offer more.

Of course, since these are Legos, you're not limited to what's pictured on the box. This is something that was built from the Lego Friends sets (for the most part)



In the end, I agree that Lego is playing into the societal expectations. They are doing this in conjunction with both retailers and consumers, however. I can see why Lego feels that this is the most effective way of reaching girls who don't already play with Legos.
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  #13  
Old 01-13-2012, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

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Instead "Lego Friends" is targeted at girls who don't already play with Lego. Lego is trying to reach them in the girls' toys aisle, since most retailers stock the Lego sets near the boys' toys aisles. Although, the big box stores tend to have dedicated Lego sections, like Toys R Us. But, even at Target, the Lego section is right next to the boy section and far removed from the girls section.
Okay, stepping back a bit: As doll playsets these aren't all that bad, actually (compared to Bratz and Barbie FWIW). The 5 named characters are somewhat diverse (3 white characters; a blonde, a brunette, a redhead, 1 black character, and 1 that is generically darker than white that might could pass for Asian or Hispanic). There is the lab, a treehouse, a design studio (looks like fashion), and a stage in addition to the cafe and ripoff Barbie convertible.

But, they really aren't all that Lego-y. They have fewer build-able parts and as mentioned they feature a new type of peoples. From a marketing perspective and trying to get into the girls aisle, I can grudgingly accept a need for the pink box of blocks, or even a more gynocentric themed licensed series (what are little girls into cartoon wise these days?), but I do think they should have kept them actual Legos and not doll playsets with a base plate, a few bricks, and the name Lego stuck on the box. Too much of a departure for me to not at least suspect some level of dumbing down, or re-imagining for the alien species known as females.

That spaceship is cool.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:13 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Non-Lego-y sets is something I've seen for a while, especially in the Licensed sets. It's weird, though, I'm ambivalent about it. On the one hand, some parts are just too big and just too "one use only". On the other hand, we also get some really neat shaped pieces or moving parts and stuff that I know we wouldn't have gotten if Lego stuck to the Creator style sets.

I've got a couple of the Star Wars ones and yeah, sometimes all you can build is Slave-1. But, other times, you can make pretty wonderful stuff with the more unique pieces.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

I suspect that it's more socially acceptable for girls to make selections from the boys toy aisle than for boys to buy designated "girls" stuff. A tomboy is more accepted than a sissy, in general.

Is that true in your experience, wei and Sock and other parents of girls?
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Hmm, I don't have sons, but I suspect you might be right. My girls shop in the boy aisle with their Dad all the time. We look at action figures and the like, but then again, their Dad shops in the girl aisle looking for My Little Pony and Monster High.

My eldest daughter definitely has an idea of gender "stereotypes" without any reinforcement needed from me. She gets plenty of that from school and her friends. But, I don't think she thinks twice about her Dad wearing My Little Pony shirts and singing My Little Pony songs with her out loud and in public.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Yeah, we try not to reinforce the stereotypes, but it gets in their heads anyway...other adults, at school, TV. It's really hard to explain to a 6 yo too.

Just today, we talked about the Civil Rights movement and segregation and racism (MLK Day Monday so no school) and the other night I was trying to expand on the "stranger danger" and Good v. Bad Touches discussion he had at school that confused the shit out of him. I was ready to kill the world for making me have to find ways to explain shit that is complicated to a young little brain that doesn't get it. So now I want to kill the world for toy shopping.

OTOH, we had a blast spending his rather large FAO Schwartz gift card the other night from the safety of our own dining room. Sorting Hat, Death Star Planetarium projector, Animal Muppet...cool shit
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

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Quote:
It's just such an obvious remnant of the "women do the housework, men have the jobs" mentality, and everyone from toy manufacturers to retail stores to most consumers just play right along, like it's the most obvious and natural thing in the world to do it that way.
And from how long ago is that remnant? How many generations do we have to be removed from Leave it to Beaver before those old concepts are finally gone? I see the same mentality in the whole "family values" thing. When very few families feature a stay at home mom and working dad that have never been divorced or remarried, why are we holding that out as the average model of a modern family?
I went to Bed Bath and Beyond over break and they had these gorgeous wooden playsets, a kitchen with little wooden food and dishes, and a tool bench with wooden tools. On the boxes they showed a picture of a girl playing with the kitchen and a boy playing with the tool bench (both white). I thought about snapping a pic for the gender thread, but I was tired of doing that. I still have a good Disney one to upload, but I think I'll save it for the other thread since it's not a toy.

I do have a Disney toy thing to talk about, but some background first: I have a half-sister (24) and brother (19) from my biological dad from his 2nd marriage. I met them one time before, when I was 20 and they were 10 and 5. Their mom is Mexican and they grew up in Roman Catholic culture, and my sister has a Mexican husband and daughter (2.5). I managed to hook up with them over Christmas, which was awesome.

A few days before that, I texted my sister from Disneyland, "how old is [niece] and does she have a favorite Disney character?" She didn't write back for ages, so I had picked out a stuffed Tigger at the end of the day. Then at the last minute she texted "belle, ariel, and tiana" so I'm like, awesome. I love Disney princess stuff and my favorite animated film is still Beauty and the Beast. I found this awesome kit that was a clear zippered case, hat-box shaped, with six plastic princesses in them about 4 inches tall. Each princess was one solid molded piece, no separate hair or clothes, so they'd do great in the bathtub or sandbox. It only had 2/3 of her choices, though, no Tiana. It had Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and for some reason Tink. I joked with the parents about the white-washed-ness of it and dad suggested they make one with Pocahontas, Jasmine, and Mulan.

Okay, so I get there and her room and toys are totally not pinked and princessed out, which surprised me based on her character prefrence. I saw bunches of primary colors, and big bold letters and puzzle pieces. They said she likes puzzles and games and building things. She built a block castle for the princesses to play in and on, and knocked it over and built it up again a bunch of times. In between that we played Cooties and Ants in the Pants nobody had any opinion about whether the pink or blue game pieces were preferable or belonged to specific players.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

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Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
I suspect that it's more socially acceptable for girls to make selections from the boys toy aisle than for boys to buy designated "girls" stuff. A tomboy is more accepted than a sissy, in general.

Is that true in your experience, wei and Sock and other parents of girls?
Possibly because I have 5 sisters, I was never as concerned about the distinction between "boys' toys" and "girls' toys" as most other kids seemed to be. I sometimes played with my sisters and their toys, and didn't think that there was anything wrong with a boy playing with dolls. In fact, I don't recall knowing that there was supposed to be a difference between a "doll" and an "action figure."

Of course, the inverse of this is that since my sisters and I sometimes integrated our toys for play, they sometimes wound up playing with "boys'" toys.


My impression, from the horrified reactions of some of my peers when they came over to visit, was that it was/is much more socially acceptable for girls to play with "boys' toys" than for boys to play with "girls' toys."

Of course, that was some time ago.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:55 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

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She built a block castle for the Princesses to play in and on, and knocked it over and built it up again a bunch of times. In between that we played Cooties and Ants in the Pants nobody had any opinion about whether the pink or blue game pieces were preferable or belonged to specific players.
We bought Kiddo a Castle playset at WDW. It has the Princesses and their Princes (including Beast). Half the time he has it as one castle, the Imaginext Batcave (or Dragon mountain or whatever) as the enemy castle, with Stormtroopers and robots and princesses and shit in both. It's cool to watch him mix it all up.
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Old 01-13-2012, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

That's what I loved about Toy Story. How realistic it was the way he would just integrate all his toy characters into these elaborate scenarios with boys, girls, potatoes, dinosaurs, etc.
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  #22  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:07 PM
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Spacemonkey Spacemonkey is offline
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyShea View Post
Okay so the award winning title eludes me. Fuck off.

Anyway, Legos new line especially for girls pissed me off the moment I saw the pink pages in the newest catalog

My most immediate WTF reactions were to

1. The people are not Lego minifigures (that have interchangeable parts allowing for creation of mutants), but mini dolls

2. The structures have way, way, way fewer actual Legos to build with. Huge prebuilt sections. And it's all fucking pink. Most humans don't live in pink houses. WTF?

Compare this (note the cat)



with this (note the dog)



Someone at Lego had to have thought, or been told, that girls do not like to build, girls do not like to create mutants, or that girls only buy pink, otherwise why the need for this new line? Who told Lego that girls aren't buying Legos? Is it necessary to make pink stuff for Legos to be put in the "girls' aisle" at the store (in which case :glare: merchandisers for being such dickheads)

There are several universally appealing Lego lines that I can't imagine girls having problems with. Harry Potter springs to mind, as does Kingdoms and Lego Town and the new Dino line

Kiddo wanted some kitchen stuff and dishes a few years back, and every goddamn thing in the store was pink and flowery. Not that he cares, but there is no pink decor in my house, and his room is undersea themed, and exactly what is it about a stove that suggests it needs to be pink and have flowers stuck on it? With the percentage of chefs who are male being so huge, why do manufacturers feel the need to feminize a set of dishes? I found some stainless steel play dishes and pots and pans, and a wooden kitchen, but I had to look around online and pay more because it wasn't available in the store.

So, are we as parents/consumers forcing manufacturers to separate perfectly neutral stuff like buildings and people and ovens into "boys and girls"? Is it the merchandisers who insist on boys and girls sections in their stores causing this unnecessary separation? Do the kids themselves really demand this?
I happen to be an AFOL, and for what it's worth I have no problem with this new line. Lego have traditionally struggled to sell as well to girls as they do with boys, and this line is far better than any of their previous attempts (clickits anyone?). As for the colors, for girls pink sells. Most builders are pleased to have more parts coming out in these usually rare colors. And Lego is a business. It isn't their job to remove existing gender-based preferences.

As for the new minifigs, market research showed that the blocky standard minifig simply isn't as appealing to girls as to boys. And the heads, torsos, and hair pieces are all just as interchangeable within the new minifig type as the old ones are with each other. Customizers are also having fun with these new figs:



The only concern I have is that they are unfortunately less posable, as the legs are not independantly movable.

And as for the sets, I don't follow your objections. There are no "huge prebuilt sections" in the picture you show. Everything there is made from regular bricks. The only real difference is that it is more two-dimensional so as to faciltate role-playing over realistic modelling. But because it is Lego, kids can build however they want.

Animals such as the cat are nothing new either. Single piece animals at minifig scale have always been the norm. Here are the standard cat and dog pieces which predate the new girls range:



Brickbuilt animals such as the dog shown in the Creator set in your post have never been the norm.
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  #23  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:23 PM
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lisarea lisarea is offline
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

HAR HAR. I was just getting ready to poast, then had to go do some things, then I came back and people be already saying what I said, but I already typed it, so you guys have to read redundant things now!

"Boy stuff" is usually either generic or at least aspirational. So you see things like the distinction "LEGO" and "LEGO for girls."

Legos have always been pretty much gender neutral, but it is my impression from stuff I've read that toy stores have increasingly become more gender segregated, most frequently by including a "Girls' Toys" section that is effectively a big pink ghetto, and sometimes but not always with a corresponding "Boys" section with lol 'action figures' and shit. There's nothing inherently wrong with pink or with toys that emphasize nurturing or aesthetics. Both are perfectly cromulent things that are appropriate for children. So I assume this line is more about Lego making inroads into those pink ghettos. (And, I'd like to note here that the gender segregation has been getting progressively worse in recent years. It was nowhere near this bad when I was a kid.)

Because those things have been so strongly associated with girls, they're perceived as frivolous and kind of shameful and beneath boys. Hell, why else would such absurdly convoluted marketing speak as 'action figure' be so commonly used in casual speech? It's because DOLLS are for GIRLS, so people need a completely unrelated term to describe dolls that their boy children play with.

It's the same reason that only the most regressive social conservatives have a problem with women wearing pants or wearing clothes designed for men, but it's broadly considered transgressive for men to wear skirts or even jeans designed for women. (My awesome and too cool for that shit son does, though, because he has a tiny little waist and a bubble booty, so women's cuts fit him better sometimes.)

It should also be noted that the more strictly you can segregate toys, the more toys you can sell. So you can have girl only toys and clothes and stuff that can't be passed on to younger brothers, meaning that parents have to buy new, "boy-appropriate" items for little brothers. And I'm sure that, if they could pull off stricter policing against girls playing with blue toys and such, they'd do that too.
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  #24  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:34 PM
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wei yau wei yau is offline
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Spacemonkey, I wanted you to know that I truly appreciated your post and the thoughts you expresed in it.

But my "Thanks" were largely for the pic of the Lego Friends with Macross-style helmets.

They look like action figures with those on!
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  #25  
Old 01-13-2012, 10:36 PM
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LadyShea LadyShea is offline
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Default Re: All things pink and flowery, all things blue and buildable

Quote:
There are no "huge prebuilt sections" in the picture you show
Look at the beige parts of the walls. Rather than stacking beige bricks there are only a couple of quite large panels. More building was required for the walls of the much smaller Hagrid's Hut so this jumped at me

Most of the furniture is not built from bricks at all. Which, again is not unheard of with some sets. You can see it better on a zoom at the amazon link (look at the inside view)

Amazon.com: LEGO Friends Olivia's House 3315: Toys & Games

If girls are really demanding this, then I'm all for giving them what they want to play with. Like I said though, it just seemed such a huge departure that it slapped me in the face.
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