As many of you may already know, this first year of LEGO Friends has generated some heated debates about practically every aspect of these sets…the pastel color palettes, the introduction of named MiniDolls, the mostly female-populated make-believe environ of Heartlake City, and the myriad of professions targeting young girls who may someday aspire to be such professionals. Whether these sets are hated or loved, one thing is for sure – they’ve got people from both sides engaged in an ongoing dialogue. This post from the site The Brothers Brick pretty much recaps the year’s key points regarding this debate.
My own initial reaction to LEGO Friends was lukewarm at best. Our house leans heavy on the testosterone-driven themes of Star Wars and the like (thanks to my husband being the avid collector), so LEGO Friends did pique my interest only because it was different from the usual standard fare. I had always hoped for a girl-driven LEGO collaboration such as with Sanrio’s Hello Kitty (and yes I know about Mega Blocks Hello Kitty sets, but Mega Blocks doesn’t stand a chance in comparison to LEGO on so many levels and I still can’t imagine how Sanrio contracted with them in the first place). Anyway, my initial ho-hum reaction to the LEGO Friends sets steadily grew and became a sincere appreciation for their creativity, diversity and playability. Our daughter is still young and currently loves building with Duplo and I know that she will enjoy playing with the Friends series even more so. And if our now infant son grows up and wants to play alongside his sister with LEGO Friends, I would have absolutely no problem with that. I agree with many other parents in this regard…the gender specificity of LEGO Friends doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore because it’s all about building, creating and stimulating imagination and growth.