I’ve just been to London to see the new Lego friends range and hear about the research behind it.
I am a feminist
I used to be a social worker.
I am PC and
I abhor stereotyoes.
I know from working with hundreds of parents and foster carers that gender influences how a child plays
I know from my own experience that my daughter and her friends like realistic elemnets to their play and they like to be social in their play. I know my son likes wild, imaginary scenrios and is not overly bothered by realism.
I know play theory accepts gender difference and child development studies openly acknowldges this fact: Children do play differently according to gender (mostly.)
Lego is traditionally a toy associated with boys (80% of Lego is bought for boys.) Lego saw a big gap in the market where they weren’t meeting (most) girls interests and needs. So they did 4 years reseacrh to define what they would need to do to Lego for girls to be more intereste… Lego friends is the result.
It is a lot more ‘realism ‘ based than previous Lego sets, the characters have REAL names and normal ‘not bizarre and yellow’ faces. They have settings, interests and jobs that are wider and more community based e.g a cafe, a designer workshop and an inventors studio. There is lots of attention to detail and a more traditionally ‘feminine’ colour palette has been introduced. Playmobil cottoned on to this years ago I think Lego are just playing catch up really by widening their range.
Some girls will of course always prefer Harry Potter lego sets, some boys may be intereted in dog shows, but thats great we have more options now. At least there are now some real Lego choices for girls who play in a more traditionally ‘female’ way
I know when my daughter plays with my son’s lego she puts the little men to bed and puts scraps of fabric over them, she has them talking to each other and she brings her little teacups too them to drink from. It’s fab there are now sets that she can truly appreciate and that will help her play in the way she likes.
I know it has been controversial. I see it as an expansion and quite an enlightened one (I didn’t expect robots and an inventors studio and was pleasantly surprised by this!)
It’s certainly more lilac than pink but yes it’s great to see it less primary coloured.
I think most boys are unlikely to buy it (but would they buy a girls world head or a barbie campervan or a pink tutu – are we going to complain such toys are sexist becuase mainly girls like them? My daughter was never going to ask for Lego ninjagos but no one ever mentioned sexism boys colours and boys interests then!!
This stuff is just as complex to put together, just as intricate and just as fun. I think it’s rather fab. It acknowledges a difference that is there but still encourages girls to constuct and to work with their hands which is always cool.
My daughter loved building and playing with ‘her own’ sets.
What do you think?