LEGO Friends Are A Success And I Know Why – My Daughter Loves Them

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LEGO FriendsJust in time for the holidays last year, LEGO announced that they were finally going to open their arms to little girls everywhere. No, they weren’t going to make their existing LEGO sets with just a couple tiny, long-haired people thrown in there. They didn’t decide to market their lines of pirates ships and ninjas to girls as well as boys. They reached out to girls by creating a whole new line of products called “LEGO Friends.” This collection had a bake shop, instead of a firetruck. There were beauticians instead of superheroes. Everything was pink and purple. It was a feminist mother’s nightmare.

LEGO Friends were soundly dismissed and criticized from all corners of the internet. Moms could not understand why we needed such stereotyped “girliness” in our building blocks. I was pretty firmly convinced that my daughter and I would just continue playing with gender neutral blocks like we always had.

Then, a well-meaning family member saw the “Mia” collection for LEGO Friends. It’s a horse stable, complete with brushes and tools to groom, feed and care for the horses. My daughter happens to have a thing for horses. She’s been riding for two years now. I could completely see why someone would buy this particular LEGO set for her as a gift.

Now, we had played with plenty of blocks. From bristles to LEGOS and everything in between, blocks weren’t exactly new for my daughter. But when she got that girly purple set, she was ecstatic. She sat down with her dad and worked for two hours putting the entire thing together. She refused to do so much as eat dinner until it was done. I had to force her to take a break and use the restroom when she started squirming.

My daughter absolutely, without a doubt, loves that set of LEGOS. Even once the whole thing was put up, she plays with it, just like she would Barbies or action figures. She’s happy that there are characters she can relate to. As I’ve mentioned, she’s been looking to make sure that there are always girls in the games she is playing. She’s very gender aware. And these blocks surely look like they’re made just for girls.

LEGO just announced that their profits are up 24%. The success of LEGO Friends has been surprisingly high. The company even experienced shortages when the products were first launched. As much as some were sad to hear that the obviously gendered toys were doing so well, I couldn’t say that I was surprised. I’ve seen with my own eyes how exciting it is for girls when they believe a product has been “made just for them.”

In a way, it’s a vicious cycle. Toy-makers say that they only make toys that sell. If parents are pad about certain toys, than they just need to stop buying them. But our children like seeing people like them reflected in products. My daughter loves dragons, but she likes seeing a little girl she can relate to even more. And if the girls only come with beauty shops and tanning salons, she can learn to like those things as well. So my daughter wants the toy with a character she recognizes, LEGO sees that as a success, and they continue to make bright pink and purple cafes instead of wizards for girls.

I’ve reached the point with LEGO Friends where I just don’t know what to think. I still don’t love the things. But I love making my daughter happy and engaged, and this product seems to do that. Apparently lots of other moms out there are stuck in the middle like me.

(Photo: LEGO)