Lego Friends Are they stereotyping girls play?
This is a tough one and as usual this is not a black and white answer.
I have a daughter who refuses to play with the traditional Lego. In our house, it is called "Boys Lego". When I asked her why, she told me "They (traditional lego people) have angry faces" and "they have yellow faces". I decided to have a close look at the Lego aisle. It consists of Star Wars, space ships, pirates, cars and trucks. Accessories include racing cars, weapons and space craft. I would like to argue Lego has been stereotyping play long before the introduction of Lego Friends.
In Lego's defence we live in a regional area and do not have the range of choice, that city dwellers have, in our stores. Please comment below on your experience particularly if you live in the city.
Since the introduction of Lego Friends my daughter is more interested in playing with Lego. She loves the encyclopaedia and keeping track of what animals she has. I asked her why do you like Lego Friends? She replied "I like the colours of the bricks and I like the people because that are bigger and they have skin coloured face, and they all have names".
So thank you Lego for introducing Lego models that interest my daughter.
I think the point of the articles below are the Lego Friends' models consist of a juice bar, a cruise ship, a pet groomer, a cafe and lots of animal based sets. All very traditional roles for women and not many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) based careers. In western society women are under represented in STEM and we need to make these careers the norm for young girls.
Lego, could you please include more careers that are science based that are not limited edition. There have been some science based releases unfortunately they are not frequent and difficult to come across for store shoppers.
In 2012 there was
- Heartlake Vet - Dr Sophie
- Flying Club - Pilot Stephanie and
- Olivia's Inventors Workshop,
Lego Friends Heartlake city does not have any current ranges that include:
- veterinarian (for the amazing number of animals)
- pathologist (for testing specimens from unwell animals there is a lots of them)
- computer engineers
- sound or entertainment technicians
- the list is endless what could be included.
We also need to ensure the figurines are not stereo typed in their dress, with bikinis. That the figurines also continue to drive the ships and planes. I would like to see Lego as a true cross section of society, or how society should be.
Finally, males are missing from the range. There are a few males, however they seem to be a token gesture. Similar to how I remember women in Lego and when I was a child. I think we had one female figurine when I was a child. But, please don't follow Mattel and the fateful Barbie is a Computer Engineer and introduce men to save the day.
Another opportunity that is missing from Heartlake city is the presence of families. The same characters continue to appear in different sets, but there are not children or babies (other than baby animals), grandparents or asians.
I think toy manufacturers still need to find the balance between what children (and their parents) think they want and what they don't know they would like.