Oh Lego! Why hast thou forsaken decades of good toymaking to shit in your loyal fans’ eyes with the monstrosity that is Lego Friends? What has possessed you to manufacture something so far removed from the unisex wonder of your original brick based play sets?
When I was little I played with Lego. My brother and I amassed a huge collection of it, comprising various sets and types. Everything from what would now be called Lego City, through Robin Hood, space, and pirates. My younger sister inherited this collection and enjoyed it as much as us boys had.
My wife and her sister had a large collection between them too. The most fondly remembered part of theirs was a formula one style racing car that my wife received as a gift when her sister was born.
My stepfather, his brothers and his sister all used to play with Lego together; a toy that spanned the genders and the ten years that separated them.
My father in law and his brother and sisters played together with Lego.
None of these people ever said or thought that it was only a boys toy. So why have Lego themselves suddenly decided it is? Why the need for a girl specific version? Who knows. Maybe it’s purely a profit driven thing. Maybe some misguided executive had it in their head that girls couldn’t play with Lego because it’s a construction toy. Whatever the reason, it’s pissing me off!
I want to be able to share my love of Lego with both of my children; my son and my daughter. I don’t want to have to play Lego with my boy and Lego Friends with my girl. I want to play Lego with both of them. Why would anyone want to allow a gender divide in their play?
Now the problem I have with Lego Friends isn’t that it’s very pink heavy. To be perfectly honest I don’t really care what colour Lego is! It’s the idea that girls need their own different Lego, that they’ll only play with Lego if it’s pink, that the figures need to be changed from the interchangeable, asexual props to play, into fashionable teens with an obsession with cute fluffy animals. Even the soccer practice set comes with a kitten.
Do we really need another toy manufacturer pushing our daughters towards this image of how girls should be? That their highest aspiration should be to bake cakes, wear pretty clothes and take a fluffy animal with them everywhere? Really?