Posts Tagged ‘Mads Nipper’

Are LEGO sets gender biased?

August 16, 2010

LEGO Collectable Minifigs Series 2 - Captions!

There has been a discussion going on lately on the Flickr group FFOL Brick Chick (Female Fans of LEGO) on whether LEGO as a company is gender biased or if it is the parents that buy into the stereotype that LEGO is a boy’s toy. Now with only 40 members in the FFOL group and 6,220 members in the LEGO Flickr group this is a valid point of discussion.

Here’s a little bit of what I said on FFOL:

I think it is a little bit of both the parents steroetyping and LEGO itself for still not getting what girls want. Even while LEGO tries to make inroads with female LEGO fans, they still mainly market and produce sets for boys.

No, I didn’t see LEGO as a gender biased toy growing up, but then again, I was more of a tomboy than a girlie-girl anyways. But even I made mostly houses and castles as a child. In fact the whole reason I got into LEGO was that I saw it as miniature houses that I could take apart and build in what ever way I wanted.

As I got older and realized that I was the odd girl out with most of my friends and family (heck, I took all my brothers’ LEGO when they grew out of it) and that most girls, including my sister stopped playing with LEGO when they were still kids. I also realized how much LEGO miss marketed their products, making it very clear what the “girl” sets were with pastels and pinks in the sets.

In fact, it seems that they were less gender biased when I was a kid in the 80s. At least then they didn’t make all the girl’s sets pink. Granted, that was because they didn’t have pink or much more than the six colors at that point but still.

According to Steve Witt, there is a new line of girls sets coming out next year that “is nothing like you’ve seen before” (direct quote). And that these new sets will have four new colors. I’ll still wait and see on that one.

But at the same time, I also asked Mads Nipper if they were ever going to produce a dollhouse-like set. He said no, and yet now we have the new city set that I could only call a dollhouse.

My real question is this — does LEGO even realize what constitutes as a girls versus a boys set? My own conclusion is no. I honestly don’t think LEGO even knows what they already have and what they need.

In the New York Times there was a recent article that talked about this:

There’s a particular kind of story one reads occasionally, making fun of the worst excesses of political correctness. But this entry is about the other extreme—a toy manufacturer so far in the dark ages that even Don Draper might snicker. I’m told that the latest craze among the toddler set is Lego Minifigures—little people to inhabit the recently-built creations of your own little person. I’ve been looking forward to the day I can build Lego houses with my daughter. But we won’t be playing with these Minifigures. You see, there are sixteen characters in the set, but only two are female. That’s the sort of gender ratio you see at a typical economics conference, but even we economists know that we need to do better. But the lesson that Lego leaves for impressionable minds is even worse. The two female characters are a cheerleader and a nurse. Even on Mad Men, Peggy Olson rose to copywriter.

Even Barbie stopped saying “Math class is tough” eighteen years ago.

Now knowing what I know of how LEGO is trying to find a better balance of male/female sets and representation, this article is a little harsh. But at the same time, even the next Collectible Minifigure series is stereotypical = pop singer, witch, and “baywatch” babe lifeguard for the female figs. Females can just as easily be Karate masters, surfers, etc., etc.

Of course since they are minifigs, you could always make the “boy” figures “girl” figures and vise-versa. 😉

So what do you think? And what can we do to change it?

LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 2

May 18, 2010

Grogall of Eurobricks has provided us with the first hi-res images of the LEGO Collectible Minifigures Series 2.

There are quite a few wonderful gems in this set. The Pharaoh, the Centurion, and the Surfer all look really cool. I have to say, one of my favorites is the Karate master with the trophy. 🙂

The coolest thing is that when I was at Bricks by the Bay Mads Nipper said that the plan for these collectible minifigures is to have two series a year until they either run out of ideas or they stop being popular. From the vast popularity that is already evident both on and off the internet I don’t think that will happen anytime soon. 😉

Bricks by the Bay Day 2 and 3

April 22, 2010

Okay, I realize that I’m about a week and a half late with this, but hey, it’s my blog so I guess I can write what I want when I want. So, lets go back in time to April 10th and 11th and pretend that Bricks by the Bay is still happening. 🙂

P1200335
In some ways Saturday was very similar to Friday, lots of hanging out with lots of old and new LEGO friends. There were also panel discussions where you could learn different LEGO tips, tricks or info.

We’d already spent a nice sum of money on the “scratch and dent” (I made a mistake when I said “ding and dent” earlier). Many of us also ended up spending another nice sum of money on all the vendors that came.

P1200342
That is one cool thing about going to LEGO conventions. With the vendors, not only do you get to find fun unique stuff like LEGO related T-shirts but you can also sometimes find that certain minifigure or element that you’ve been seeking.

Not only were there vendors selling Brickarms and Brickforge but there were others selling minifigures, bricks, and full LEGO sets. I managed to get a Harry Potter phoenix and a pretty rare horse pony for really decent prices.

P1200263
I have to say the highlight of the day was Mads Nipper, the Executive Vice President of LEGO, giving the key note address.
He gave us a nice insight in to the company and where its heading in the future. And from what he said, the future of LEGO is looking bright. 😉

Mads not only gave us a nice look into the LEGO company, he brought gifts.
P1200323

50 ultra-rare Collectable Minifigures. Why are they ultra rare? Well in the manufacturing of process one leg of the minifigs somehow is 1 millimeter shorter than the other one. A difference so slight that you almost can’t notice it unless its pointed out. Normally figures like this would be destroyed. I can hear your gasps from here — why destroy them you might ask? Well you know that whole “only the best is good enough?” LEGO actually means it. That’s why it is really rare when you find any misshapen bricks. I’ve seen a few, but only because when I worked in the Model Shop we work with millions of bricks.

So back to the ultra-rare Minifigs. I was not fortunate enough to get one. They were raffled off, like most of the door prizes are. Some of my friends did get them though and so I have actually held a few in my hands. Now, you might have heard of a “secret” second barcode on the back of the bag that identifies what the figure is. I will say here what I said there, you don’t need it.

When you hold the bag, if you take just a moment or so, you should be able to tell what the figure is if you know anything about LEGO. Each figure has distinctive elements (the Spaceman’s helmet, the Caveman’s club) that you can tell just by feel alone what it is.

Now, back to Bricks by the Bay. The Sunday Public Day was both good and bad. Good because we had such a great attendance, and bad because we didn’t have the space to accommodate everyone.
P1200331

Some people waited in line for over 2 hours! And because the line was so long we had to shut it down early and turn some people away. It was supremely crowded inside.

P1200348

All in all it was a wonderful first convention. Yes the space was too small and yes some of the public wasn’t happy, but most of the public were happy and when I asked them if the 2 hour wait was worth it they said “Yes.”

I now return you to the present. 😀