Since I was little I played with Legos and to this day they still hold a special place in my heart. I remember spending countless hours with them building space ships, towns and adventures. It is a timeless toy that my own children play with. One thing that didn’t really cross my mind was if it was a boy or girls toy. I remember girls as well boys playing with it when I was little. However apparently this is a huge issue.
According to the Lego documentary on Netflix in the 90’s Lego sales took a massive dip. To counter this trend the company started having more gender focused toys. You can see this in the 2000’s with movie tie ins, increased police toys and comic book tie ins. Many of the pre 90’s toys didn’t have guns (outside of muskets and flintlock pistols for pirates). This trend of more male oriented toys led to a decline of females buying legos. So to capitalize on females, lego introduced a series called Friends.
Friends was premised on a group of young women who lived in a town and they do a lot cosmopolitan things. Such as baking, teaching, going on a yacht and so on. This series was met with a bit of hostility and controversy by various female advocate groups who essentially claimed that this marginalized women and promoted this cosmopolitan life style. Instead being more empowering for women it reinforced various stereo types. Also it was asked why is it that all the boys toys are adventure oriented and the girls are not. (also there were was controversy over the fact that the Friends figurines weren’t exactly compatible with traditional legos, reinforcing the two seperate genders even more). Read more on the controversy here.
Lego did answer this controversy by introducing some jungle adventures in Friends but it seems as thought they are introducing a new set called Elves. I have not read very much about however it looks pretty nice and they are keeping the old figurines. Here is the image I saw my local retail store: