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If LEGO are going to put a 'Girls' section on the site then can we have a 'Grandparents' section too - my dad is back into LEGO in a big way now but my mum keeps telling him he's too old for it.
- Certain licensed themes like Spongebob Squarepants and Harry Potter. This is quite understandable. If the source material is not strictly targeted at one gender or another, then it's likely that both genders get substantial representation in focus groups and the sets are tailored to both genders. Note that the Harry Potter and Spongebob Squarepants themes both have plenty of potential for slice-of-life, dollhouse-style role play, much like LEGO Friends.
- AFOL-oriented sets (Creator Expert, LEGO Architecture, etc). This is also a bit of a no-brainer. AFOL-oriented sets are notable for their tendency to be well-rounded, and as such there should be plenty for anyone to enjoy provided they are experienced enough as a builder to appreciate the building experience.
- Duplo sets. This is consistent with something that was revealed in some interviews prior to the release of LEGO Friends regarding the research that was being done for that theme. As toddlers, particularly prior to entering school, girls and boys do not feel nearly as pressured to play according to societal gender roles. Of course, less than half of all Duplo sets are in this category, which is a rather suspect decision. While some are clearly aimed at "boyish" interests (My First Construction Site, Creative Cars), other omissions seem somewhat arbitrary (#5685 seems like a set girls would love, at least as much as any other Duplo impulse set). So I'd chalk that up, at least partly, to pure carelessness on the part of whoever's doing the categorizing.
- Creator houses. Again, "dollhouse" play. Though I'd think other Creator sets, like sets for building animals or various micro-vehicles, would be plenty well-suited to a girl.
- City sets. Currently the only one is the Advent Calendar, but others were included in this category in the past, including #7635 and #7639. Today it seems like these kinds of subjects tend to appear in LEGO Friends. Still, it'd be nice if the LEGO Group considered sets like #60023, #4432, and #4429 as sets girls might be likely to enjoy, for diversity's sake.
- Collectible Minifigures. Character-driven, detail-oriented, and with a wider range of female characters than the typical LEGO theme, it's no surprise these are popular with girls.
- Bricks & More. This is what the general public thinks of as "regular LEGO" that is "for everyone". But some Bricks & More sets are omitted, including, inexplicably, #10660 Pink Suitcase! o_O
This is all based on the U.S. listings, by the way. Some older sets may no longer be listed on [email protected] on the U.S. site, so tell me if you notice anything that I didn't acknowledge.
Overall, I don't think this is sexism any more than the decision to put a maximum recommended age range on certain sets is ageism. It's just a strategy the LEGO Group uses to try and ensure that people who receive LEGO as gifts enjoy their experience enough to become repeat customers.
However, the lack of a "boys" category could present problems for the LEGO Group if users don't understand the function of the categories. I can easily picture a person picking out gifts for a boy, seeing the "Girls" tag on a set, and deciding that's not the set to get. And if the LEGO Group responds to that by including fewer sets in the "Girls" category, then the tag is no longer doing its job.
"About this item
Target Gender: boy
I've never noticed this before on Amazon and was surprised because the set was #31010 Creator Treehouse! I would have thought that was a prime candidate to be gender neutral, so wondering why they decided to label it as for boys. I hope they didn't just decide wholesale that all non-Friends Lego must be for boys... I'll try to do more research later.
As for not stereotyping roles, that isn't done by companies without the knowledge and cooperation of those raising the child/children. My oldest daughter played with more Buddy L trucks than dolls, my youngest daughter didn't give a hoot about toys as long as there was a book available. All three boys were just as individual.