Last week, I got a text message from Do-Bug’s Dad. Here’s an approximation: “I bought her a lego set, and she’s actually playing with it. She LOVES it! I’m SO EXCITED!”
Ever since she refused to listen to him read The Hobbit (his childhood favorite), he’s been waiting and waiting for her to take to Legos. She never really has. She would, occasionally, pick up the little box of duplos and make a very uninteresting tower to destroy. But she didn’t really dig them. Her dad and I love adventure stories, so does Lego. Our daughter…well…she’d rather play puppy.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s not a princess-in-pink kind of girl. But she likes animals and dolls more than anything. Briefly, around three, she fell in love with Thomas, but I’m afraid neither one of us encouraged it because the show is so gosh-darn boring, and then her trains had to go into storage because neither one of our miniature apartments had room for the big bucket. So, is it our fault she doesn’t play with trains anymore? Who knows. Regardless, she loves dolls but doesn’t play dress up too much. She’d rather play with puppies and has little patience for anything princess-like. Her Hess trucks are used to transport Calico Critters around on their adventures. She adores creating extensive towns out of cast-off boxes, paper, and clay. She builds amazing fortresses (for her animals, of course) out of her wooden unit blocks. One night I got her to eat her dinner by playing “begging puppy.” Not bad for the pickiest 5-year old ever. But legos? Not so much.
Until now. Thanks to Lego Friends.
Yes, there are some downsides to them. Like the pervasive pink and purple. And the fact that the figures have tiny boobs. What?! Don’t worry, they’re not barbie-licious. In fact, the figures kind of resemble Polly Pockets, but thankfully I don’t have to deal with trying to tease twiggy legs into rubber pants. I can just pull her in half and switch her legs with her friends’ legs. awesome.
But, seriously, I, a somewhat typical college-educated feminist mom, am going against the feminist-grain today because I like Lego Friends. Here’s why:
- The figures are AWESOME. Her dad agrees. Why hasn’t Lego made such cool figures before? Begone stupid square limbs, hello figures that actually look like little people. The boys will be clambering for their own, trust me.
- The kits are COOL. We have the tree house, which includes a secret hiding spot for jewels, two movable ladders, a lookout place, the coolest tiny bird house, and, you guessed it, TINY ANIMALS. We also got her the convertible (I say ‘we’ because I want to take credit, but really it’s her dad.) which is super cool. The details are awesome (plates, grill, seats, steering wheel). And I’m told that putting it together, it’s clearly well designed. They had a blast. Okay, we also got her the Vet’s Office already (can you blame us? poor kid’s been sick as a dog this winter and needed some serious cheering up.). It has little food bottles, and syringes, and notepads, and scales, and all sorts of COOL STUFF.
- It has opened the door to OTHER LEGOS. Yes, this is the most exciting part for both us old ‘rents who spent many many hours building with legos. When her Friends set went home to Dada’s house after the initial opening, I suddenly remembered that I own a very small Harry Potter kit that I had closeted away. I pulled it out and she was instantly in love. Thanks to a ‘girl safe’ version of Legos, which happens to be, as I said already, VERY COOL, she’s now willing to play with other lego stuff.
The opponents of the new Lego Friends are calling them LadyFigs (which I find a little weird since I haven’t seen them called that anywhere on Lego’s own site), don’t like the pink of it all, and contest that all legos should be for all kids. In their defense, if you’ve never actually built a Lego Friends kit and are only going by their marketing campaign, I can see what would cause the reaction. Looks like Lego is really emphasizing the girly-girl crap. Yes, crap. My daughter could care less about the hair-dryer that came with the convertible. (Who the heck knows why they thought a car needed hair-care products to sell?) They’ve got pictures up of girls in front of mirrors surrounded by jewels. And, okay, yes, girls don’t just like pink and purple for crying-out-loud.
So, I went and checked out the petition to Lego. I wasn’t sure I would sign it because I don’t agree that adding something so cool could be so wrong. I’m pleased to say that it’s actually a good thing because the heart of the message is not “Lego Friends is sexist and crap.” Yes, they say that some (they actually call it Barbielicous which I think is unfair. Those of us who have had to watch our empowered daughters unwrap a barbie doll know better than to throw that word around lightly.), but they also put the following in bold:
LEGO, we are asking you to:
Go back to advertising and offering all LEGO to boys and girls!
And that’s really what sums it up. My daughter specifically said to me “I like them, Mama! Because they’re for boys and girls, not just boys, like other legos.” She believes what the pictures on the rest of the Lego boxes tell her: that only boys play with these. I know that’s false, but she doesn’t. Did you catch that fact that she also thinks that Lego Friends is for boys? How about that, Lego? Like I said earlier, you might want to start working on some of those awesome figures for boys. They are far cooler than the little yellow figures you’ve got going so far.
By the way, here’s the one I would TOTALLY WANT IF I WERE FIVE. Beakers of unknown materials, a microscope, tools, and a tiny robot all in one. (okay, since I’m not five, all i can see is the fact that Olivia is wearing flip flops in her Inventor’s Workshop. Total safety hazard. Note to Self: Must write to Lego and tell them to supply Olivia with leather, closed toe boots.)