I’m not sure where I stand on this one… You all know that we are a HUGE Lego Family. So when I saw this story, I was all ready to be all “you’ve got to be kidding me” at this feminist group. But then I read it… and I AM all “you’ve got to be kidding me” at the feminist group, but I’m still not sure how I feel about the LadyFigs.
To me, Lego Minifigures (the regular Lego People) are boxy. They’re ALL boxy. We have a couple of Hermiones here (from Harry Potter sets), and she’s as boxy as Harry, Ron, and everyone else. You can only tell she’s a girl because you’ve added her long hair and a face with little tiny eyelashes. But Josh has never once looked at me and said, “Mom, how come the girl Legos don’t have boobs?” ‘Course, for that matter, he’s never asked about the shape of the male trousers, either. The subject has simply never mattered. That one is Hermione, and that’s that. And the rest of the figures are Harry, Ron, the StormTrooper of the day, Darth Vader, or whomever he decides to build. Their shape simply doesn’t matter to him.
Maybe it’s because he’s a boy? Maybe it’s because we generally don’t define things around here as “girl” and “boy” things, jobs, whatever (except for the “Hello Kitty Undies” taunting he gets when he’s being a goober). Unless, of course, they’re specifically for those genders. Underwear, for example. Or swimsuits. But then it’s just a matter of practicality, and nothing to be all exorcised about.
But now they have made shapely LadyFigs. They have waists, breasts. They appear to be taller than the regular MiniFigs, as well. And I think I have the biggest problem with this because now they’re gender-specific. Previously, Hermione’s head/hair could be placed on a fireman’s body today, and on a pirate’s body tomorrow. She could be anyone, anything. But now, there are going to be boys and girls. Will kids still want to interchange their characters? Will they want to put a pretty lady-head on a boxy body now, and make them have “gender-neutral” careers? (not to mention the question I have about their size: will they be able to fit into the existing Lego stuff? Or will we have to now go and buy a whole new line of kits? grrr)
I really don’t care about the group’s other issue… that of marketing the kits to girls with spas, beauty salons, etc. Lots of girls are girly-girls, and will really enjoy that stuff. Lego is appealing to their audience; that’s Marketing 101. No problems, there, because the stuff will still be interchangeable, and boys can work in salons just as easily as a girl can be an astronaut.
But they’ve been so successful thus far with the little boxy MiniFigures, I wonder why they have to change that?
Breasts??? On Legos??????? That’s all I’m thinking now.
I know!!! They’ve just opened up a whole new market to pre-adolescent boys who don’t have access to the internet. Talk about Geek Heaven!!! (or is it Nerd Heaven? I can never remember the difference between a geek and a nerd)
Ok, so after writing this, I clicked through to the article that is attached to the picture – I stole the picture from them, I figured I *should* know what they’re talking about, right?
One of the biggest reasons behind the new LadyFigs is a piece of research that shows that little girls play differently than little boys. Boys play in Third Person. They are the Omnipotent Potentate… the puppetmaster, steering lives, killing off bad guys, etc., but they don’t actually participate in the story they are telling. Girls, on the other hand, play in First Person. I go to the stable, I saddle the horse, I go for a ride. All the while pretending that the doll/LadyFig/whatever is HER. And now that I read this, I realize that it is true. When I was a kid, my Barbies were always an extension of me – they rode horses, they crushed on the guy who wasn’t the prettiest in the room, whatever. But my personality was an intrinsic part of who they were. When I watch Josh play, it is almost always a story that he directs but does not star in. And now it all makes sense.
So, knowing that little tidbit, I’m MUCH more OK with the LadyFigs. Not the boobs so much, and not the fact that they’re taller, and will likely require new pieces, but the concept is now fine with me. And those feminists can still go jump.
I also totally get that concept and I know how I played isn’t how my boys played and how Trinity plays way different than Bailey and Christopher.
But I do have a problem with the size difference. You guys and Toby and Sue I know have thousands of dollars in Lego’s. They should all fit together when you buy those huge sets. To me, this sounds greedy.
Well, honestly, I don’t care about the breasts. I mean, grown-up females do have prominent breasts. There is no need to draw specific attention to them, but making women flat-chested doesn’t seem to have any virtue in my mind.
That said, when I was a little girl, I did not want “adult” dolls. I hated Barbies. I did not want to play grown-up games, I wanted to pretend with kid dolls doing kid things. And, once I was old enough to notice (but still young enough to play with toys), I was embarrassed by breasts. This toy would not have been a hit with me. But I’m probably in the minority. My daughters seem happy to have dolls that represent people of all ages, genders, and nationalities. More material, I guess. But I wouldn’t want all of my kids’ dolls to have breasts / represent grown-ups.
As for the gender “stereotype,” I also refuse to fuss about it. Miss A went through a phase at age 4-5 when she was fascinated by “beauty” stuff like lipstick and nail polish – even though I never use and don’t even own such things. Not my thing, but what’s the harm? It’s not like she’s going to go out and be a woman of the night if I let her play Spa Day with Legos. Kids could be doing worse things. As for domestic pastimes in pretend play, what could be wrong with encouraging my lazy, sloppy kid to get busy on the housework? Every girl (and boy) needs to learn that stuff eventually, even if they aspire to be engineers and doctors.
Now the fact is that I would probably not buy these things unless my kids begged for them for a birthday or something, but that is because they already have too much stuff and I’m a “less is more” person. They have a few small Lego sets that provide plenty of material for a creative kid. They also have a princess castle with a large population of princes and princesses (with boobs!) and horses and carriages and about a million other things. If they ever dare to get bored, they should be thrown in the dungeon with the toy dragons. But if my kids received these as gifts from someone else, it would not bother me at all.
Feminists rarely seem to be on the same wavelengh with me. And it’s not because I’m a “traditional” / weak female. I can be strong, free, and accomplished and still like babies and housework.
I’m not really sure why they had to make them taller and give them a figure. Trinity has ‘girl’ LEGO sets from a couple of years ago and Christopher has had some female LEGO people in some of his sets and they didn’t seem to care what they looked like. They had a bigger hair piece and maybe different colored pants, but that was it and it wasn’t a big deal. I don’t see anything wrong with LEGO pitching to the girls more b/c let’s face it, they were really geared towards boys for a LONG time. But that didn’t stop me and my sister’s from playing LEGO’s with my brother either. I do have a problem with them having breasts though! That is a little much in my opinion!
I don’t even have a problem with them looking more “girly” – with skirts, for example, instead of always with pants. And even with a bit of a waist. But I’m with the rest of you. Why do they have to be “grown-up”? Little girls don’t have breasts. Why should little girl figures?
These girl Lego’s look to be on the younger side, and they shouldn’t have boobs at all! Not sure why they had to go and add those. Make them have girl hair and clothes and leave it at that! Last time I checked Lego’s are boxy, not curvaceous! I like the fact that they are targeting girls more, but lose the boobies! 🙂
So I cornered Josh and asked him what he thought. “Good,” says he. “I think Katelyn would like them. I’ll get her a set for Christmas.” And that was that. I pointed out that they’d be taller than the Minifigs that he has. No reaction. Asked him what he thought of the new ‘look’. No reaction. Typical man! Honestly.
But it boils down, to me, that it’s not that big a deal, I guess. He’s the Lego Expert and Target Market around here, and he doesn’t seem to care.
I’m still concerned about the size, though. We’re bound to end up with one or two of them. Why do they have to ‘tower’ over the others?
That’s what concerns me too is the size and the fact that they’ll look silly next to the “old” ones. If they were interchangeable I think it would be okay.