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Girls and Lego

bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
edited December 2011 in Everything else LEGO
I was going to respond to the Friends thread, but then realized that the Economic thread also veered in this direction. I know I am going to open a can of worms here, but...

Ultimately, I do not believe Lego will ever appeal to a large group of girls. Women, like us AFOLs, yes, but not girls. I say this because of the difference in how boys and girls play. Boys parallel play while girls play interactively. This is noted in the early years and continues as girls have confidantes and boys playmates for quite a number of years. Boys will happily sit side by side and build. Girls however want to interact. The act of building inherently limits this. So although Friends make look like Polly Pocket, it takes a long quiet time to get there. Obviously, there will be exceptions to this and I do believe that the daughters of many AFOLs will love Lego because of exposure, but that is still a small percentage of the girl population. Just my humble opinion...


  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    My 7-year-old daughter plays with Lego instead of dolls, not because she doesn't own dolls but because she has dozens of CMFs that give her so many stories she can play out. The beach house became a rescue center, I think all of the CMFs regularly get sent to school, her father's modulars and IF are favorites for making up stories too.

    That said, she hasn't so far made anything of her own, and isn't terribly interested in trying alternative models of her Creator sets. She loves to build the sets from the directions, always with one of us as her assistant, and also demands to help with our sets. She just built the christmas train but did so over three days with breaks to play with the partial train.

    I think she's very mechanically inclined for a girl but at least three of her girl friends have become very interested in Lego after playing with hers, I think more the playing with the end product than the building but interested enough to build first.

    So we'll see, the Friends look very playable, and not terribly complicated or time consuming builds, I think it might work for the general population.
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,335
    I don't have any daughters but being female, I kinda wish I was 7-8 years old again so I could ask my parents for the friends line. It looks like Polly Pocket. Plus it looks like you could combine sets to make a city layout.
  • georgebjonesgeorgebjones Member Posts: 224
    I have three daughters and they play almost exclusively with minifigs. They will play with sets once built, but they don't have a lot of interest in building them. They are all really excited for the friends theme to come out, though. I think LEGO hit the mark, and hopefully can tear down the "girls don't like LEGO" wall. Of course, I am selfish in this because I have no sons, and I love LEGO, so the more my daughters are interested the more I can spend time with them doing something I love. If I had no daughters and only sons, I may feel completely different.
  • bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
    Please don't misinterpret, I want it to succeed. I love the line. I was just giving my opinion. I have 4 sons and this making my inevitable purchase of the Friends line difficult to justify. "oh, but it's for my boys" won't work so well here.
  • georgebjonesgeorgebjones Member Posts: 224
    I think LEGO could appeal to a large group of girls, but they have to continue to remember that boys and girls are different. Since so much of their success over the last few years has come from focusing on boys, they have a lot to undo. I think they can, but it will take years, not months, I think. Maybe even decades.
  • starfire2starfire2 Member Posts: 1,335
    Also not every product is unisex. Look at cars (hot wheels) and Star Wars action figures or Baby dolls and Barbie. Those are marketed towards one sex. Hopefully the friends line brings in more girls in to the world of Lego.
  • JenniJenni Member Posts: 1,390
    @bor2112 I think you're raising great points. I wanted to let you know my experiences with girls and Lego and to point out that Lego can work with the way girls play. It is different but I think that though they'll primarily play with finished sets it doesn't mean they won't enjoy that initial build, they probably aren't as likely to want to build MOCs though.
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    I've read a few posts on other websites about the friends sets - half for and half against them - there's strong disagreement about whether they should be pink and pastel, the minifigs, the designs etc...

    Personally I think they are well targeted for young girls, and hopefully they'll be a stepping stone onto other lego sets. I think by 9 or 10 they'd be ready for more complex sets, which are quite neutral (the creator houses etc...) They might start with role playing, but as they get older if they enjoy the lego for lego, they'll branch out.

    Also, what people are missing is that lego isn't just engineering - it's creativity. I think girls do use lego creatively in the way that they enjoy doing crafts and art (possibly more than boys do at this age) and that doing crafts is a solo thing like lego is. Though to me playing lego with kids is much more interactive than most things, because it's so enjoyable for the adult (unlike junior monopoly!) So yes, lego can be quite alone time, but it can also be a wonder shared experience.
  • bor2112bor2112 Member Posts: 321
    I am for, for, for. I love the line and am already saving for it, I just have not bought into it being successful. I am hopeful, but the past has not been great.
  • LeelaLeela Member Posts: 53
    I had both Barbie dolls and LEGO as a kid and I played with both.
    You mentioned an interaction aspect. I interacted more with my minifigs than with Barbies. Dolls were limited to their house and dressing up, while minifigs, thanks to lots of various sets, had a very active social life meeting other figs, they had jobs, traveled a lot and loved cruising the town in their cars ;)
    I had a big dollhouse, I changed my Barbies' clothes, took them outside for a picnic. But that was it, I couldn't change a house into a plane and I couldn't make my own furniture or clothes because I didn't have the skills.
    I did treat LEGO as a smaller dollhouse until I discovered that I can change a shark fishing boat into a cruise ship by means of some ugly gravity-defying construction. And that a house can easily be turned into a shop. That's when I realised how cool LEGO is.
    So if only girls that get Friends set will be shown or discover on their own what it means to construct your own stuff then the line will be successful. But it sure is much easier if they have a brother with lots of bricks.
    And even if they treat it as a cute dollhouse, so what? :) But that's where the market is already taken...
  • sidersddsidersdd Member Posts: 2,432
    My daughter (who is 3) is a builder. She built a "house" out of packing peanuts today. Then remarked how they don't stick together like LEGO. I should have taken a picture.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    ^lol, LEGO > Packing Peanuts

    They broke down the Friends sets into small components so that parts of the set, say a lounge chair or whatever, is all in one bag and can be quickly built. Time needed to get to interactive play is supposedly very expedited. I think the line will do great.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    @sidersdd - Now I have a very cute picture in my head... I have a 3 year old daughter as well, I can SO see it... :)

    Sigh... She is growing up SO FAST!!!
  • kkskks Member Posts: 60
    I have to fight my 9 year old daughter to build our sets, but we always find a compromise. Right now she is building Emerald Night while I work on Pet Shop. We have both only gotten into Lego recently but she prefers the more advanced sets. She also seems to have no interest in the Friends line although she does like only girly things like American Girl dolls. My 4 year old daughter also likes Lego both regular and Duplo. I think that a lot girls just are not exposed to them because they are seen as toys for boys.
  • giraffefrecklesgiraffefreckles Member Posts: 100
    I tried to have a LEGO party with two of my (very adult) girlfriends. All if us are engineers.

    One had no previous exposure to LEGO, and the other used to create vehicles with her brothers when she was young and the one who won was the one with the most-intact vehicle after a smash-up! I had a generic non-LEGO set that I played with by myself.

    The LEGO gal was so excited, she went out and bought her first adult box - a Creator sports car. The other one chose a mini-dumper out of my collection. She took longer to put it together since it was her first set, was amazed when the other girl showed her its dumping function (didn't you put it together?!?), and fell asleep amongst my pile of bricks!

    What does this mean? LEGO is better with violent brothers? Neah. Childhood introduction = later nostalgia? Yes!
  • tdhbrtdhbr Member Posts: 188
    Anyone else see this recently?

    Interesting article about TLG's business decisions, and the research behind them. The summary is that in 2005(?) there was a deliberate choice to market to boys, and now there has been a deliberate choice to expand to girls, and it describes some of the research behind the development of the Friends line.
  • JohnnyFiveJohnnyFive Member Posts: 10
    It's my daughter who recently got me into Lego. She's 10 and first asked for some of the creator sets, Apple Tree House etc.

    She seems to like these and also a lot of the city stuff. She's not that keen on the Star Wars kits etc.

    I actually think a big part of the appeal is having some quality time with her dad building them... A big appeal for a son or daughter to be honest.

    She asked for either the Maersk Container Ship or the VW camper tho this Xmas... Both quite masculine choices I thought.

    The thing with Lego is that it is creative at the core... and has a great feeling of achievement once built. I think it's great that it appeals to both sexes and love the time I spend with my daughter building.

  • giraffefrecklesgiraffefreckles Member Posts: 100
    ^^ Read that. I admit I haven't been 10 years old in a long time, but if I still were, I'd be peeved that my LEGO figures don't look like my brother's. Someone else mentioned buying a bunch of female heads (and hair is possible too) on [email protected], but really, 20 unique male heads for every one female? In my mind, LEGO hasn't leveled the playing field.
  • giraffefrecklesgiraffefreckles Member Posts: 100
    edited December 2011
    @JohnnyFive. I think the VW is quite gender neutral, and that maersk blue is pretty. I would consider buying the maersk train just for its colors - if I ran out of things to buy with my money. ;)
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,363
    One of the earliest LEGO items for girls was a yellow leaflet for building doll furniture out of LEGO in late 1959. On the cover of the leaflet is Hanne Christiansen, the younger sister of LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen.

    Hanne was circa 9 years old when this image was taken of her by the (new in 1959) LEGO Photography Department.

    Sadly poor Hanne died in an Oct. 30 1969 car crash in which she and KKK were passengers. They were on their way to a Give Denmark (town near Billund) to go to the cinema. The car they were in was on a rain soaked road, and skidded off the road into a tree. Kjeld survived with severe injuries that took almost 6 months to heal, but poor Hanne, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen's youngest child, died that night.

    Godtfred was so griefstricken at losing his youngest (of 3) child, that he nearly sold TLG. It took many many months for him to recover from this personal tragedy.

    To this day Kjeld has not spoken a word about the tragedy of losing his sister. And the LEGO company is now owned by him and his older sister Gunhild, who was not in the car that fateful night.
  • Blue1dotBlue1dot Member Posts: 78
    Ditto @giraffefreckles, on the VW camper van, and the 20:1 m/f ratio. Makes you wonder if the corporate model is a similar ratio? I hope the Lego "girl line" succeeds but Friends are competing with legends of dolls and all their clothes, accessories, homes and furnishings. Friends might be the next step after Duplo for younger girls but older girls (and women) might prefer more of a challenge as with the modulars, trains, and large creators sets.

    Another idea: When I saw the Superman figure I thought he sort of looked like Colin Firth and I might use it for Mr. Darcy should I ever make a Pride and Prejudice MOC. I wonder if girls 10-12+ might enjoy some classic book themes (with traditional Lego figures), by authors like Jane Austen, Willa Cather, Mary Mapes Dodge, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Edith Nesbit, or many other great authors, male and female, classic and contemporary - but please not Little Women, Black Beauty, or any more fairy tale princesses.

  • JohnnyFiveJohnnyFive Member Posts: 10
    @giraffefreckles yeah you're right about them being quite gender neutral now I think about it. She loves real VW campers and that blue is kinda nice! :)
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