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GoldieBlox - Engineering for young girls, without the pink!

Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu UKMember Posts: 368
edited November 2012 in Everything else LEGO
Just seen this...interesting comments she makes on LEGO and others

http://www.upworthy.com/move-over-barbie-8212-youre-obsolete

I know it works the way around too with getting boys to read by making the stories about LEGO.

Comments

  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,979
    Watching without the sound for fear of what I'll hear, I can affirm that I see plenty of pink in that video. And a good thing, too, as I was afraid that this was just another misguided attempt to "break free of gender stereotypes" without any actual effort to make the product likeable. Instead, this plays to what girls are used to without "talking down to them," much like LEGO Friends does. I did see LEGO Friends being lumped together with other "girlified" brands, which is unfortunate, and I hope the consequence was forgiving enough to acknowledge that it has the same creative potential as other LEGO toys, but I have doubts about that.

    Always nice to see actual innovation in the field of building toys, in a day and age when it's almost impossible for one to remain competitive without intercompatibility with LEGO bricks. Might never catch on with anyone but educators and some particularly educationally-minded parents, but I can easily see this being as fun a toy for many girls as the Gears! Gears! Gears! playsets were during my own childhood. And since Gears! Gears! Gears! is still around AFAIK, this should have a similar success rate, even if it never makes it to the toy industry's big leagues.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,985
    Yes, I noticed this as well. The video was correct when they showed the pinkified Tinkertoys and Lincoln Logs, but completely got it wrong when they showed Friends.

    The videos point was to connect girls through reading, which really is no different than what Lego has found and stated which is to connect to girls via story-telling.
    I actually think Lego is more correct, in mentioning story-telling instead of just reading, because story-telling is about setting up characters and connecting to those characters, and really the sociality often seen in girls in connecting to friends.

    Overall, I do find this pretty cool for very young kids, and a nice innovation, but I was not happy to say Friends incorrectly lumped.

    Oh, and yes, I also noticed the pink in her product.
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    To be fair, she's not anti-pink, just anti-companies that think that making packaging pink is all they need to do. Which of course is not the case with LEGO.

    It's a great little project, hope she does well
  • peterlinddkpeterlinddk DenmarkMember Posts: 170
    I like the project, and her idea of combining the storybook with the engineering-blocks.

    And I don't think you can exclude LEGO Friends entirely from the "pinkifaction" of existing toys. Take a look at set #7635 and the Friends version #3186 - besides the colors, the differences are really subtle. And the #7639 vs #3184 - the green line is even the same on both sets, one is just more pink than the other ...

    Of course most of the Friends sets are quite original, and I like the way they combine girly stuff like stories and pinkish colors with classic LEGO building. But they can't claim to be completely above the "pinkification" - not completely.
    Si_UKNZ
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,979
    edited November 2012

    To be fair, she's not anti-pink, just anti-companies that think that making packaging pink is all they need to do. Which of course is not the case with LEGO.

    It's a great little project, hope she does well

    That's the impression I got as well. Which is a totally respectable position. But yes, she was wrong lumping LEGO Friends with that. I suppose that can be forgiven, though, because people who aren't fans of something tend to miss the subtle differences between them. Any LEGO fan could easily pick up on some of the commonalities in the Friends theme other than color that are largely absent in other themes, like the heavy emphasis on arranging spaces to be harmonious and functional. It would be easy for non-fans to just see it as "pink LEGO". Even AFOLs can fall into this kind of trap, with generalizations like that "all BIONICLE and Hero Factory sets look the same."
  • DaddyDeuceDaddyDeuce Member Posts: 272


    And I don't think you can exclude LEGO Friends entirely from the "pinkifaction" of existing toys. Take a look at set #7635 and the Friends version #3186 - besides the colors, the differences are really subtle. And the #7639 vs #3184 - the green line is even the same on both sets, one is just more pink than the other ...

    I'll step up and lightly defend the Friends line here. In both of your examples above, the Friends product contains more "extras" that are conducive to story play. With the Friends horse trailer, for example, you can brush your horse's hair, give your horse a treat, award your pony a blue ribbon, etc. I can see those little extras making the set much more enjoyable for the way that my daughters like to play.

  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,979

    I like the project, and her idea of combining the storybook with the engineering-blocks.

    And I don't think you can exclude LEGO Friends entirely from the "pinkifaction" of existing toys. Take a look at set #7635 and the Friends version #3186 - besides the colors, the differences are really subtle. And the #7639 vs #3184 - the green line is even the same on both sets, one is just more pink than the other ...

    Of course most of the Friends sets are quite original, and I like the way they combine girly stuff like stories and pinkish colors with classic LEGO building. But they can't claim to be completely above the "pinkification" - not completely.

    Whoops, I missed this post. I see what you mean about the similarities between these sets, but I ought to point something out: as far as I know, both of those City sets were much more popular with girls than the average City sets, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were designed with girls and boys alike in mind (unlike, say, LEGO City fire engines, which are designed primarily for boys and secondarily for girls as well). For a while I believe they were even listed under the "For Girls" category on Shop.LEGO.com, which lists sets that have had strong appeal for girls (primarily certain City and licensed sets, many Creator sets, all D2C sets, and the more obviously gendered sets like pink brick buckets).

    With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that they would be considered great ideas for the LEGO Friends theme with only minor modifications to add play value and better fit the Friends aesthetic.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,985
    I really do believe there is far more than pinkification going on with both those examples. What is very fascinating to me, is that while the changes may seem 'minor' it is really these sorts of changes that I have seen impact my girls interest in particular sets in the standard Lego line.


    Differences....

    - the line consists of Characters with specific characteristics and personalities, or stories
    - the sets have additional details for story telling
    - The sets are built fare more in 'segments' than any other line. This allows girls to move pieces of their sets about for story-telling purposes. In addition, Lego has done this because there studies/data has shown that girls often build a section and then start playing with that section, instead of completing the entire build first
    - they modified the minifig to appeal to girls

    When I look at the examples of 7635 versus 3186 I can see several of the above items standing out.
    - minifig differences
    - The minifigs have specific personalities/characters
    - the set contains more 'segments'... one can build just the horse feeding/grooming area, and then start playing/pretending with just that section

    7639 and 3184 have similar differences.

    My girls NEVER look at 7639. That is too boring and uninteresting, and that is despite the fact that one can see with the 50/50 minifig fit (AND my own experience with people from the Lego store pointing that set out to me for my girls, and higher people in management visiting Lego pointing out that set to me) that they did Target girls for that set as well as boys.

    3184, on the otherhand both my girls liked. Why? It comes down to those additional story elements in the line. A picnic table, grill, lots of food/plates. They look at the set and see a story they can play out and create. They see two girls their age.

    If you look at both examples, we have moved from 'eh, another boring vehicle', but at least a female minifig, to now an entire play scene that is not just a vehicle.... The first is an awesome story of a girl and her horse that she owns, wait...that she visits... that is at her grandma's farm. They are taking the horse in the trailer to go riding... to go back home... to be set free. What looks like minor changes on the surface, suddenly expand these sets drastically.

    Neither of these sets were a simple pinkification, but had several major differences, that I've seen with at least two girls have made a big difference in interest. It's why my daughter is drawn to Mines of Moria...lots of little details and parts that can be moved around and interacted with and used for an adventurous story, a minifig that she will turn into a female elf, and characters with personalities, since she has read the books.

    My very long 2 cents. ;-)

  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,484
    From my view, I think people take things way to seriously with the Friends line.
    I would tend to think that, while I can understand parents opinions, I'm guessing many girls would not think of the social impact of their toys, because if they did no Barbies would be sold any longer.

    Ultimately it will be the kids, not adults, that make the choice here.
    Girls and boys are the same in one regard, if they are interested (which they apparently are with Friends) then they will want it, if not, they will not want them, then LEGO will stop selling them.

    I think Friends is just another victim of people with too much time on their hands IMO.
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,985
    I think the sales on Lego Friends has already disproved the views of those with too much time on their hands.

    At the same time, There was an ABC article I read where the concerns that some group raised with TLG during the Friends uproard. It was less the uproar I had seen in the media, and really was more in line with some of my own concerns with girls/Lego in general.

    Sometimes, one has to wonder how much items becomes sensationalized and 'off' in media accounts, or become sensationalized via social media.

  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,404
    edited November 2012
    Having a daughter that is a big Lego fan and is also currently applying to engineering schools, I can't say the ideal of girly sets has ever interested her. She might have liked the Friends line when she was much younger; however, she is a big fan of the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, LotR and PotC movies and Lego themes. She also likes the Winter theme sets, Lego Christmas sets in general, and CMFs.

    In short, I think girls will like whatever fancies them; pink or no pink. Now the imaginary games girls play with the sets (compared to boys) are an entirely different matter... ;-)
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,985
    Now the imaginary games girls play with the sets (compared to boys) are an entirely different matter... ;-)

    Yes, and no. :-) It still does depend on the kid, but I understand what you are saying.

    I think this is why my son doesn't fit the standard mould either. He really likes sets with a ton of ability for imagination/story-telling, and is usually drawn to the non-licensed sets and to 'scene' based sets.
    Atlantis, AC, Monster Fighters, Ninjago.... or items like sets 7-9 in MBA.

    For my girls, "Girly" sets are actually not the big draw. They want action, but as I've gone on and on about in other threads, they want female minfigs in their sets, and details like the winter-theme sets, so they can create amazing imaginary play/stories. The items that Lego has found with girls is pretty spot on for them, with the large exception they could care less about pink and could care less about it being girly. Give them a good theme with the characteristics Lego has found interest girls, just like the modified those sets above to feed into those items... and my girls would jump. For them Winter theme, CMF, are very huge. Mines of Moria with all the detail and room to modify/move things, and story-arc... that is a big draw for my daughter. Many of the Star War sets, she has no interest in, but a nice big 'scene'...that interests her.
  • AmberylAmberyl Member Posts: 193
    I should point out that many of the fears of the Friends line have not been realized. It's worlds better than Lego's previous girl-oriented efforts. Friends is "real" Lego; there's no sign that it's been dumbed down for girls. The designs seem to be every bit as good as what's come out for boys, with particular attention to detail.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,317
    tamamahm said:

    I really do believe there is far more than pinkification going on with both those examples. What is very fascinating to me, is that while the changes may seem 'minor' it is really these sorts of changes that I have seen impact my girls interest in particular sets in the standard Lego line.


    Differences....

    - the line consists of Characters with specific characteristics and personalities, or stories
    - the sets have additional details for story telling
    - The sets are built fare more in 'segments' than any other line. This allows girls to move pieces of their sets about for story-telling purposes. In addition, Lego has done this because there studies/data has shown that girls often build a section and then start playing with that section, instead of completing the entire build first
    - they modified the minifig to appeal to girls

    When I look at the examples of 7635 versus 3186 I can see several of the above items standing out.
    - minifig differences
    - The minifigs have specific personalities/characters
    - the set contains more 'segments'... one can build just the horse feeding/grooming area, and then start playing/pretending with just that section

    7639 and 3184 have similar differences.

    My girls NEVER look at 7639. That is too boring and uninteresting, and that is despite the fact that one can see with the 50/50 minifig fit (AND my own experience with people from the Lego store pointing that set out to me for my girls, and higher people in management visiting Lego pointing out that set to me) that they did Target girls for that set as well as boys.

    3184, on the otherhand both my girls liked. Why? It comes down to those additional story elements in the line. A picnic table, grill, lots of food/plates. They look at the set and see a story they can play out and create. They see two girls their age.

    If you look at both examples, we have moved from 'eh, another boring vehicle', but at least a female minifig, to now an entire play scene that is not just a vehicle.... The first is an awesome story of a girl and her horse that she owns, wait...that she visits... that is at her grandma's farm. They are taking the horse in the trailer to go riding... to go back home... to be set free. What looks like minor changes on the surface, suddenly expand these sets drastically.

    Neither of these sets were a simple pinkification, but had several major differences, that I've seen with at least two girls have made a big difference in interest. It's why my daughter is drawn to Mines of Moria...lots of little details and parts that can be moved around and interacted with and used for an adventurous story, a minifig that she will turn into a female elf, and characters with personalities, since she has read the books.

    My very long 2 cents. ;-)

    There is another difference not mentioned. One is a 5-12 age recommended set, the other is 6-12. The one recommended for slightly older kids has the extra small pieces, so useful for story telling.
  • MaskieBoyMaskieBoy Member Posts: 25
    I don't think it is always the company's fault that "girl" toys are always pink. I mean yes, they use pink as a marketing tool that says "this toy/game is for girls". I think that is kind of sexist. I think that it is more of a problem with our society and the way we put expectations on people because of their gender. Taking small steps to show children of both genders that they can play with whatever toy makes them happy and grow up to have whatever career they want is a very positive thing. Honestly I would like to see more things like this.

    If I ever have children I will teach them that toys are just toys. If I had a girl and she wanted to play with more masculine toys I would let her. Same thing if I had a boy who wanted to play with feminine toys. I hate that gender roles are so forced by our society that a young person feels uncomfortable for doing something that makes them happy even though it does not affect anyone else personally. I think that the world is growing more accepting and in the coming years I hope to see that continue.
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