Feeds

It's Lego's 80th birthday party, but only the boys are invited

Girls get pink-boxed dollhouses, boys get to build

Application security programs and practises

'Welcome to beauuutiful Heartlake City'

Equipped with its mysterious research, Lego decided to do something to entice girls to buy its products. That something is Lego Friends, a pastel pink and purple world where mini-doll characters can indulge their vanity at the local beauty salon, cook and bake at the cafe or pet animals at the animal hospital.

Aside from its nods to every stereotype going about what it is that girls should be doing - cooking, playing house, caregiving, taking care of their looks so they can be sure to bag a man some day - the Friends sets seem to do their best to take actual construction out of girl's play. And that's caused a lot of worry for parents, who are well aware that Lego has been shown to have a whole host of benefits for kids, including helping spatial reasoning, fine motor skills and maths, not to mention encouraging independent play and accomplishment.

With Friends, the familiar green bases are there to build on, but instead of constructing the cafe, pet parlour or treehouse from bricks, whole walls and other big pieces are used to minimise the phase where the girl actually builds anything.

Lego Friends Emma small

Then it's basically a straight-up doll set with different characters that are "mini-dolls" instead of the usual yellow-headed minifigs. The traditional minifig was basically genderless for a long time before the advent of Lego systems with more detailed stories like Lego Pirates, or from the movies like Lego Star Wars. In those systems, minifigs were given details like eyepatches, more expression and closer resemblance to the movie characters they're supposed to represent.

In Friends, that animation has been taken one step further. Instead of any kind of minifig, the set has dolls that are taller and look more like adult women, with curves and skirts.

Up until the early '80s, Lego was clearly marketed to both boys and girls. Ads in the early 1980s still show girls and boys building and playing together with the bricks, although most often with the general bucket of bricks concept instead of the systems.

Lego systems are the different lines of the toys that are seen nowadays, Lego Star Wars, Lego City, Ninjago or Lego Friends. Each set from a system fits into that world, although of course the bricks are compatible across the ranges.

Lego City is the modern incarnation of basic Lego, which started out with sets mirroring real life - houses, cars, aeroplanes - and then moved into the occasional fantasy set like castles with knights.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Next page: Ninjago... FIGHT!

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.