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Subject: Evil lego company! rss

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Chief EGG Head
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Geosphere wrote:
lorna wrote:
soblue I miss my gender neutral lego blocks, no people no customizable pre-planned building sets, just blocks of different sizes


That's the CREATOR series. Plainish blocks and an 'idea pamphlet'.

I'm old there weren't any series when I used to play with Legos
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Ed G.
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How is this related to board games?
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Ursus_Major wrote:
How is this related to board games?


It's related to games/toys and gender roles in games. In any case, I thought it was interesting and it appears others did too so there ya go.
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Lynette
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she2 wrote:
Ursus_Major wrote:
How is this related to board games?


It's related to games/toys and gender roles in games. In any case, I thought it was interesting and it appears others did too so there ya go.


Well LEGO had some new themed boardgames. I note they are also not particularly "girl" attracting themes other than the LEGO Creationary, which is a Pictionary take off. That I still haven't seen in a store, only on-line.

The only ones I have seen in stores is Pirate, Race-Car and War themed.

Which is sad since getting girls into boardgames and LEGOs simultaneously with my gifts to them is something I would love to do.

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Luis da Ponte Alayza
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Sphere wrote:
I think free play generally is undervalued - there's a great impetus to structure everything, get kids into pre-school early, teach them to read before they are out of their cribs. Stimulus is great, but structuring everything is not. Kids need time to let their imaginations roam.


It is exactly what I think. One of the most beautiful memories I have of my childhood is like playing for hours with Lego pieces and built everything I imagined. The Lego of my time is perhaps one of the culprits that my profession is now intimately linked with creation.
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Dave Lartigue
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This is what I wrote about this on my blog:

You Know, For Girls
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Richard Linnell
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If anyone wants, there is an article in Bloomberg Businessweek about LEGO's newest attempt to market to girls. The note I took away from it was that LEGO was failing, and was able to save themselves by focusing on marketing to their core audience - which happened to be boys.
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Bill Allen
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Sphere wrote:
I think free play generally is undervalued - there's a great impetus to structure everything, get kids into pre-school early, teach them to read before they are out of their cribs. Stimulus is great, but structuring everything is not. Kids need time to let their imaginations roam.


My boys love lego. Early on, the two eldest struggled with the idea of making things themselves. I sat down with them and showed them the possibilities. Now they make amazing models, usually drawing cleverly on the specialised blocks available. In fact, they will usually build to instructions when they first get a kit and aft that, it will always be their own creations.
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Lynette
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Legomancer wrote:
This is what I wrote about this on my blog:

You Know, For Girls


Great piece of writing!

Just and FYI I know the creative sets of old are available. And think they make great gifts for some kids. For me personally the problem is that the "themed" stuff takes up so much shelf space that you don't have a lot of general kit choices and the ones that are there tend to be the really large expensive deluxe ones. Which sadly I cannot afford to buy for every kid on my list.

Almost all the $15 and under LEGO stuff at my Toys R Us is accessories to big themed sets. And not the general "city" theme.

I wish some of the smaller box "city" themed stuff were more easily available. And/or some more of the smaller general kits showed up on shelves.

 
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Dave C.
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Firstly, I agree that the "roles" assigned to these Lego Friends are absolutely amazing in their stereotypicality. I think it's GREAT that Lego is trying to get girls into building, though I think their goal is more profit oriented vs. improving society. Looking at them as a Male and parent of a boy, I can see some really cool details they have made in these. Things that SHOULD and probably will crossover into the Lego City kits. Making the City line more gender neutral may be the way for them to go if the Friends succeeds.

Secondly, for those who bemoan the dissappearance of the "basic" bricks most of us (and I'm one of you) enjoyed creating with as kids, there ARE a few options still out there.

1) There still are basic buidling sets full of mostly generic bricks available at the mass marketers I've been to; though they're always on the bottom shelf out of eye level! They include a variety of bricks and, to me, the best part is they come with a big, sealable tub that you can fill will more Legos as you accumulate (as you undoubtedly will). There was nothing like digging through a big tub 'o' Legos looking for that "perfect part" you remembered was in there somewhere. Doing this, you were bound to find other parts and genreate other ideas for your project.

2) On Lego's website there is a section called Pick A Brick where you can just buy Lego pieces a la carte. It's a bit "clunky" but you can get a lot of pieces to fill your kid's tub with plain old bricks. My son wanted a Lego Fire station for Christmas. Instead of buying the ready-to-build one, I browsed Pick A Brick and picked out dozens of things that I thought would look "cool" to a little kid's idea of a Lego Fire Station, along with a whole bunch of red, gray and black basic 2 x 8 bricks. I gave him this, and we had a BALL inventing a Fire Station together.

Also, they have a monthly advertisment correction: MAGAZINE, that you can subscribe to, and in it's defense, it has monthly contests for creative building projects -featuring photos of the kids and their creations, as well as 2 or 3 project ideas for creative building in each edition.

I think Lego is still a GREAT toy for kids, you just have to work a bit at it to get the same experience for your kids that you might remember.
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Lynette
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So I went and read the full Business-week article and think that LEGO really did a lot of research. Maybe this is a needed product to help get girls involved.

I was especially influenced by the research groups interactions with the girls in the study and their observations of them.

How the girls tend to project themselves onto the minifigs rather than think of them in a detached way for playing.

I thought this was an interesting quote

Quote:
The Lego Friends team is aware of the paradox at the heart of its work: To break down old stereotypes about how girls play, it risks reinforcing others. “If it takes color-coding or ponies and hairdressers to get girls playing with Lego, I’ll put up with it, at least for now, because it’s just so good for little girls’ brains,” says Lise Eliot. A neuroscientist at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, Eliot is the author of Pink Brain Blue Brain, a 2009 survey of hundreds of scientific papers on gender differences in children. “Especially on television, the advertising explicitly shows who should be playing with a toy, and kids pick up on those cues,” Eliot says. “There is no reason to think Lego is more intrinsically appealing to boys.”


http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/lego-is-for-girls-12142...

Since I have never been a standard "girl" in many many ways, it is very possible I don't fully understand typical little girl play interaction with her toys. I recall that I made up stories about my toys, but they were 3rd parties. Not friends and certainly not me. And yet beauty did matter to me as well as functionality. And getting to create things.

While I had a few Dawn dolls and Barbies, I recall the action figures I really got into where the "The SunShine Family". A set that was a "Flower Child" couple starting out with a baby. Had a house and a garden and a pottery shed.

Best part, was that while there was some furniture etc... most of the stuff in the house you had to build yourself from things like old thread spools and empty matchboxes. They came with dozens of instructions pamphlets on how to make all this neat stuff to use with the set from things that are normally trash.

There were even instructions on how to weave and macrame rugs and wall hangings.

What is even funnier, my family was anything but hippies on their way to becoming yuppies. But I was born in 1966 and so these toys trying to appeal to ex-hippie parents were around in the 70's and I loved them. Because it was about making things that would last for the toy family's home.
http://www.feelingretro.com/toys/Girl-Toys/sunshine-family.p...

So it combined my need to create and build with my love of story telling.

Wow what a trip down memory lane that just was. laugh
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Derry Salewski
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I got mad just seeing the link to the video. Doubt I could handle watching it.

I read some half baked article in one of my state's newspapers 'reporting' 'scholarship' by a professor at a prestigious local college. (Where my girlfriend goes and where I hope I run into this woman someday.)

It was so slanted, error filled, and selectively researched. I was so angry. I'm still angry. I can't type this post without being angry. I can't imagine the standards her students are allowed to perform at if that's how well she writes.

I wanted to write a letter to the editor and a rebuttal but I get too angry every time I pick the paper up.

tldr version of my feelings: Lego girls have had boobs and waists painted on them since the 80s. Get over it.
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Freelance Police
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Ursus_Major wrote:
How is this related to board games?


a) You can make AWESOME dice towers from Legos.

b) Legomancer's article is must reading.

c) I want a dice tower in the shape of a PONY.
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C. B. Green
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scifiantihero wrote:
I got mad just seeing the link to the video. Doubt I could handle watching it.

*snip*

tldr version of my feelings: Lego girls have had boobs and waists painted on them since the 80s. Get over it.


Well, thank goodness you didn't let something like watching the videos get in the way of your having an opinion about them. Seems like you really dodged a bullet there.
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Nick PA
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You should not forget that Lego was having troubled when they only sold the "imaginative" sets, i.e. sets where the user had to make it all up. The problem was simply that their product was virtually indestructible. When I grew up we had LEGO, lots. But there was never any reason to buy any more. We had plenty to play with and our imagination was the only limit.
This of course happened for a lot of users of the LEGO-bricks and thus LEGO was swallowed in their own success. Everybody was happy with their product but saw no reason to buy more, it could even be passed on to the following generations forever!
The solution of any business was that they had to diverge their products in order to sell more. This they did with specialized bricks although they have really tried to make them globally customizable, i.e. you could still use the older bricks together with the newer ones (this was later limited with very specialized sets). Later this diverged to gender based audiences, in that case only boys.

What this discussion is about (from my point of view is the matter of feminist vs. masculine view in public, which to my opinion really is not greatly imposed by LEGO (yes they are a part of it, but not a sole mover).

The problem, or should I say public gender separation, has its roots in general media (where LEGO is a part, however their share is a lot lesser than for instance news, magazines etc.). It is the society that has created this need of gender separation. Or rather we have allowed it, and why shouldn't we? As long as it doesn't become a fight of amazons (girls) vs. trolls (men).

The solution from any company is of course to take advantage of it. And targeted audiences are much easier to commercialize/appeal to than broad audiences, which increase sales. Further any company has to adapt to its market, sometimes expanding it! Whether or not LEGO did the right decision when they diverged for boys, and now "again" for girls, is a matter of opinion.

My point being, if you don't like what you see, don't look, don't buy, don't support. But if you buy (for instance) magazines targeted for either audience you are part of the gender separation that lead to this.

I think that it is good that LEGO targets the feminine audience. First of all, girls are right now considering LEGO to be boys oriented, and that will not change over night if the products are turned gender neutral. The first solution to this is to create sets which appeal to girls (in this case Friends). Now everybody screams and says: "Hey, they are pink, so girls and boys will definitely not play those things together." On the other hand I think that if girls start to play with LEGO, the boys will notice and try to bring dragons into their beauty shops, etc. and in that way play "imaginary" scenes. Remember we are not the ones to play them! Our children are!
Lets just wait and see what they will do with it in an atmosphere of both boys and girls with Friends and Dragons!

We are far to conservative in thinking that what we had was better, well we simply do not know!

Digging into my nuclear safe house!

Still digging...
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Derry Salewski
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loopster70 wrote:
scifiantihero wrote:
I got mad just seeing the link to the video. Doubt I could handle watching it.

*snip*

tldr version of my feelings: Lego girls have had boobs and waists painted on them since the 80s. Get over it.


Well, thank goodness you didn't let something like watching the videos get in the way of your having an opinion about them. Seems like you really dodged a bullet there.


Yes, if you cut out the part where I decided to talk about something else instead, my introduction and conclusion don't make that much sense.

Clever.
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True Blue Jon
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Meerkat wrote:
Aliens and Space sets are fine but they were TOO boy only themed and marketed. Also the focus on violence isn't going to attract most girls.

There are thousands of things that could be made as gender neutral themes and still exciting. Even including Space and Aliens with a little more thought put into trying to make it not so "boys only" in feel.


Seriously? My daughter's favorite sets are the new alien sets.
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When we were kids, we'd get some of the specialized kits. After we'd built them, they'd come apart and--because my parents would have already thrown out the boxes--the bits would go into the LEGO tub, together with all the generic bricks. Instruction booklets went into an envelope stuck to the side of the bookcase, but we rarely consulted them again. But we *would* try to rebuild the fancy models. We'd just have to dig for the pieces and consult no how we remembered the plans.

If your kids are too fixated on the preplanned kits and not doing enough "creative" LEGO play, all you have to do is do what my parents did.
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Dave Lartigue
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Also, from a purely selfish point of view, I am stoked about these sets. I am way more interested in them than I am in the upcoming Lord of the Rings sets, BECAUSE of the "girly" colors. I already have my weight in gray and brown bricks (except for brown 1x1 plates, which I need a lot more of) but stuff in teal and orange and lime? Bring it!
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Sophie Morgan
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I think it's just part of the trend toward "prepackaged entertainment" in general. I don't know whether it's kids or parents or both that are driving it, but it seems like anything that encourages "free play" is getting harder and harder to come by. Things like plain legos, un-themed erector sets, tinker-toys, or even just building blocks aren't as common as they used to be. Even just letting kids go outside and make their own entertainment for hours has gone out of fashion.

All the kids I know play with things that don't require them to think much or be creative. Everything is handed to them without requiring them to get creative. Most of them don't even do stuff like make forts/play dens out of sofa cushions or under the dining room table anymore.

The craft kits at Michaels all make one specific thing. Crayola is making more and more "sets" of activities instead of promoting the joys of just plain crayons and markers. The legos make specific models (whether male or female the creativity is gone), other building sets make specific models, video games have one path to victory, and even dolls and "action figures" these days seem to be designed with a regimented play style in mind.

It's not so much the gender stereotypes that bother me, it's that companies, parents, or kids seem to feel that every free-time activity has to "lead to something" or make something specific. What's wrong with just giving kids a box of blocks and letting them go? Or, will the kid of today just not even play with something like that? Why has free play and things that require thought and creativity been marginalized? That's what I wonder about.
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Eddie F III
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Legomancer wrote:
Also, from a purely selfish point of view, I am stoked about these sets. I am way more interested in them than I am in the upcoming Lord of the Rings sets, BECAUSE of the "girly" colors. I already have my weight in gray and brown bricks (except for brown 1x1 plates, which I need a lot more of) but stuff in teal and orange and lime? Bring it!


If you need special colors for a project go to lego.com and you can buy just bricks of all colors and customize your "grab bag".
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Bill Norton
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Businessweek had an article Dec19-Dec25 issue. Titled "Lego's Billion Dollar Girl".

You might find it an interesting read. I did.

Bill

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/lego-is-for-girls-12142...
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C. B. Green
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scifiantihero wrote:


Yes, if you cut out the part where I decided to talk about something else instead, my introduction and conclusion don't make that much sense.

Clever.


Ummm, yes. I cut out the part where, as you observe, you decided to talk about something else.

Maybe I'm the crazy one, but it just seemed like a couple of paragraphs where you veer off into talking about some article in the local paper written by a professor where your girlfriend goes to college didn't have a whole lot to do with legos, or the videos that were posted, or games, or anything other than this one article, whose relationship to this thread remains unclear.

I'm not defending that article or its author; I haven't read the article (coughs, clears throat) and lord knows there are plenty of misguided academics out there. But you dismiss these videos seemingly based on this totally unrelated newspaper article that made you mad.

If you decide to willfully ignore the subject we're talking about, why would you think you had anything constructive to add to the conversation?


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Samo Gosaric
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Anybody still thinking of posting here - go read this:
bnorton916 wrote:


This makes a bit more sense than the videos in OP. If the company is going back to enforce the building part of toys as opposite to plug-and-play and reducing the number of different components used in their designs, this is a nice step back to "normality" and these toys being used in creative ways.

The part about anthropology of sorts used in their marketing research is very interesting on its own, let alone in showing us what the market thinks about social sciences. Ahem. Unsurprisingly the field research shows that girls and boys are already caught up in gender stereotypes.

Such is our situation. My girlfriend teaches little girls (3-12 years) ballet and contemporary dance and is often annoyed how every time she lets girls pick colours, its always something along the line of "glittery pink with violet dots and silver stripes" from each and every girl (with some minor variations).

Now given the philosophy of Lego company and looking at their site, I think they try to do a good job in this gender segregation situation. On their site I could find products aimed at creativity that both genders can enjoy, though I must say the animal line is bit shifted toward (male favoured) dinosaurs. But parents must search and find these products and this is what I think is the main point. Company is just trying to stay in business in current situation with this research helping them to adapt to children needs. However if kids are living in stereotypes fed to them by variety of media, it simply means those are bringing them up instead of their parents. Understandable, of course, given the rise of overwork and work related stress in the last decade. Lego still offers fine toys somewhere in their catalogue if you parents search for them, so go and do that. I would love that Lego would also ask child psychologist about children needs that could be implemented in their games, instead just kids themselves.

(For any of you parents going to give me flak, I'll just admit I'll be smarter in a couple of years, doing my own "field research")
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True Blue Jon
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I just find it sad that people think there are really such things as "boy toys" and "girl toys".
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