I Bought My Daughter Pink LEGO and I’m Not Sorry

posted in: LEGO | 29

LEGO, LEGO Friends, why I love LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends controversy, LEGO Friends response, I bought my daughter pink LEGO

I’m going to post something a little (lot?) controversial here. I don’t have a problem with LEGO Friends. I just don’t.

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Pretty cool LEGO dragon, huh?LEGO, LEGO Friends, why I love LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends controversy, LEGO Friends response, I bought my daughter pink LEGO

Designed by *gasp* a girl. In pink pajamas, no less! This photo is over a year old and never made it onto my blog, but is in our family album.

Let me give you a little history. I have two older brothers and no sisters. This dynamic meant that if I wanted to play with my siblings, I had to play their games, their way. LEGO was often the “game” of choice in our house growing up.  My brother David is a serious LEGO maniac. While my brother Neale outgrew his interest in LEGO, David never did. He asked for LEGO for every birthday and Christmas until he was an adult. He saved his money to buy LEGO sets. His interest never waned. occasionally people would suggest he sell his massive LEGO collection, but he still built with them as a young adult and insisted he was saving them for his little boy some day. That little boy, by the way, is now 12!

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When I searched my blog for the work “LEGO” I found dozens of posts. My kids love LEGO and we have a ton. It is one of those toys I don’t mind investing in. We’ve done Unit Studies on LEGO while homeschooling. We’ve bought LEGO new from the store, used from friends and off of Ebay.

LEGO, LEGO Friends, why I love LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends controversy, LEGO Friends response, I bought my daughter pink LEGO

If you have kids with any interest in LEGO, or you participate in social media, you’ve probably heard something of the controversy over LEGO Friends. A controversy, quite frankly, I don’t understand. The main complaint seems to be “reinforcing gender stereotypes”. I have to admit, when I first saw the LEGO Friends line, many, if not most, of the sets were…froofy.  Rock stars and fashion seemed to be the focus. A quick search of the LEGO site this morning, however, turned up a large variety of sets, including:

Sunshine Harvest Sunshine Ranch

HeartLake Juice Bar

Enjoy a delicious smoothie at the LEGO® Friends Heartlake Juice Bar with blenders, cash register, sun terrace, Andrea, Naya and lots more!

I’m not sure how that is reinforcing gender stereotypes, unless it is the color pink people are opposed to…The reality is, these LEGO sets will appeal some girls who wouldn’t otherwise play with LEGO.

I wouldn’t buy my children a “rock star” or “fashion” LEGO set no matter what the color, because those are not ideas I am interested in reinforcing. If they wanted to buy them with their own money? I wouldn’t object. The  HeartLake Juice Bar, though? You bet! Sunshine Harvest Sunshine Ranch? Absolutely.

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Avi poses with her City Park Cafe, a set she picked our as a reward for breaking the habit of finger sucking.

Avi really want’s Olivia’s House, because, as she said to me: It has a mom and dad and the little girl. We checked the LEGO site for non-Friends home sets and came up with the Family House. My girls thought the house looked really cool…but were disappointed with the lack of accessories and child. That, for my girls, is the real draw of the LEGO Friends sets over traditional LEGO. A couple of years ago we bought this Education Community Minifigure set for our kids because they love all the little pieces. Tucker and Hezekiah love the LEGO Friends sets for the same reason the girls do…all the cool accessories. Pieces “regular” LEGO doesn’t have.

LEGO, LEGO Friends, why I love LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends controversy, LEGO Friends response, I bought my daughter pink LEGO

Here is a quote from the Huffington Post article that really confuses me:

“Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses, some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses. So why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff?” she asked.

I totally agree. To me the logical conclusion is: if you have a boy who loves princess stuff, buy it for him. If you have a girl who loves superheroes, buy her that.

When Mordecai was four his favorite color was pink and he called him self the “Pink Lady”. Okay, so he had lots of pink crayons and cups and toys. No. Big. Deal.

LEGO, LEGO Friends, why I love LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends controversy, LEGO Friends response, I bought my daughter pink LEGO

Here is a picture of ten-year old Judah…dressed in camo sewing a doll for his brother.

LEGO, LEGO Friends, why I love LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends controversy, LEGO Friends response, I bought my daughter pink LEGO

My boys have been taught to knit and sew, to bake and clean a kitchen. The girls help split and haul wood. In our house, none of those things are a big deal. Not even worth mentioning.

Some of my girls are girly…and some aren’t. Some of my boys are drawn toward less traditional “boy” things, and I’m fine with that too.

LEGO, LEGO Friends, why I love LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends controversy, LEGO Friends response, I bought my daughter pink LEGO

Enoch sewed this vest for himself at age nine.

You won’t find  my home filled with pink or princesses. Or the toys from the latest movie. We don’t have a TV, which means my children aren’t exposed to an onslaught of commercials marketed toward children. We choose our children’s playthings with care, based on our family values, not on society’s definition of childhood, gender or success. Do we have some licensed character stuff? Sure, but it doesn’t dominate our home.LEGO, LEGO Friends, why I love LEGO Friends, LEGO Friends controversy, LEGO Friends response, I bought my daughter pink LEGO

My children are not going to have their career choices limited because they played with pink LEGO. Or didn’t.  As a mom, I am concerned with my children’s character, with their faith in God. I want them to be kind and compassionate. I want them to work hard be generous to others. I want them to find work in life that they are passionate about.

None of those things are dependent on color preferences, gender stereotypes or pink LEGO.

They are influenced by what they hear said at home.  By what they observe their parents doing. By the books we read, the movies we watch an where we spend our money.

I don’t care if LEGO are pink or black. I don’t care if my boys become housekeepers or kindergarten teachers, or if my daughters are stay-at-home moms or doctors. I want them to  find God’s will for their life and pursue that with a passion.

The rest is just {pink} icing on the cake.

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29 Responses

  1. As a little girl, I would have LOVED to have pink legos! Or pink nerf guns!!! We DID play with what were called “boy toys” and wanted products to reflect that girls played with them too. Just my personal ideas.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Kass- That was my thought the very first time I ever saw LEGO Friends…I would have *loved* them as a little girl.

  2. I was all excited to read this, but failed to find anything controversial in it. Disappointed now 😉

  3. I’ve never understood the notion that colors implies gender, but in our culture it does seem to be the norm.

    What bothers me, more than anything, is the way toys are displayed in stores. This certainly does impact and reinforce gendered use of toys. The pink legos are in the “girls” section of Target–three aisles away from the “building sets” which contain the non-pink legos. Why are all the building toys not in the same aisle? More to the point, why are their aisles pink or blue? What happens if a boy stumbles down a pink aisle? Lincoln Logs, a universal toddler toy is with the “boy legos”.

    My 2.5 year old loves to “visit the toys” at Target so I make a point of going up and down each aisle of toys so that she sees everything from Barbie (whose unnatural backside will never enter our home) to planes, trains, and balls. I don’t think a lot of parents do that, to be honest. Most people I know are quite content to reinforce gender in their children and not allow or encourage them to leave the cocoon of cultural expectations.

    My daughter receives physical therapy for a gross motor delay and so I spend some time investigating toys and activities that could help her enhance those skills through play…and universally I’m told in stores, “oh, that’s in the boy’s section.”

    And it cuts both ways. Finding a male baby doll in blue is much, much harder to find than a girl baby doll in pink.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      You make some very good points about *placement* of the toys. We rarely peruse toy aisles on any store…the ones we do peruse are usually speciality stores that don’t sell Barbie or even have “pink aisles”.

      I would venture to guess that we have fewer toys that average in our house anyway. The ones we have are carefully chosen…but not on basis of being “gender appropriate”.

  4. We have a bunch of the Lego Friends sets, mostly horse and farm themed ones. Elli loves being able to tell her lego pieces apart from her brothers, but also likes that they can build together when they feel like it.
    I never understood why Lego Friends were considered controversial and products like GoldieBlox are “revolutionary for gender equality” amongst toys.

  5. amen…more God, less worldly stuff.

  6. A very good article, I used to Love playing with Lego, and still do (just don’t have as much time as I used to) and agree with the sentiment that “”Some girls like superheroes, some girls like princesses, some boys like superheroes, some boys like princesses. So why do all the girls have to buy pink stuff and all the boys have to buy different color stuff?””
    Yes what the stereotypes used to be in the past, is obviously not that same now. But i still prefer the classic Lego’s to some of the stuff coming out now, alot of the sets coming out now are still cool, and yes suits different tastes and I do agree that there is some gender stereotyping, but what i don’t get is their problem, you just buy what you want to get, what your child enjoys, just because a space Lego set may ‘advertise’ to boys, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy it for a girl if that’s what she likes. that’s just what Marketing & advertising does. But you can’t please everybody, the thing that started it, was people complained that there was too much Lego being advertised towards boys, and so they bought out this line, and now others are complaining that they are trying to Girlify Lego.

    I’m not trying to down-play those who are trying to take down Lego’s Marketers, I do see their point, but even just a search on Pinterest for ‘Lego’ reveals some amazing creations, not things you can buy pre-packed in a box, I think Lego need to stick with the good ole classic Lego’s, back to the basic building blocks of creativity (pun intended ) But they are also trying to cater for different kids interests. (http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=lego)

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      One thing that really surprised me when I began buying LEGO for my children was how hard it is to find “regular” sets that don’t go along with a movie…When I was a kid, there were no movie themed LEGO sets. We’ve solved that by shopping online, though.

      • Yeah, we used to have 2x 15 Litre (3.9 Gal) boxes full of Lego, we used to get bags from Garage Sales (Yard Sales) or Op shops, yeah cant really get alot of just the basic Legos from normal stores

  7. I have four older sisters so things were fairly girly in our house. I have fond memories of visiting my cousin, Geoff. He had an amazing collection of Matchbox cars, trucks, trailers. We would play for hours, zooming those little cars around their loungeroom rug. In summer, we had beach holidays and he had big plastic tugboats. We would play on the shallow rocky reef, pulling those tugs ‘into port’, loading them with rocks then leaving port again. So many hours of fun for me as I didnt own cars or boats. I cant say that he ever played with my Barbies though. Great memories!

  8. A history of Lego 🙂 enjoy watching… http://youtu.be/NdDU_BBJW9Y

  9. Agreed, thanks for posting.

  10. I really like your approach to this and all the examples of all of your children taking part in all kinds of activities. Toys are just toys and should be for anyone who wants to play with them. I also don’t see the harm in having different types of LEGO for different kinds of interests. As kids, we often merged our LEGO and Playmobile sets to get more of those accessories!

    I was also really glad to read this post because I remember a long while ago you had written a post and mentioned that Chuck wouldn’t have liked you buying Apollo a pink doll – or was it stuffed animal? Anyway, it was really nice to see that your family is not rigidly gender focused as that one example may have implied. What you said about focusing on morals, faith and a life with purpose was lovely!

  11. Love this and completely agree!

    My son is a bit disappointed though as when he plays Legos with his sister his lego men are smaller than her lego friends. She doesn’t like this either. If they were both the same size it would be more ideal, LOL…

  12. As a child I was a “tom boy” and preferred playing outside, skateboarding, and collecting baseball cards to dolls and dress up. Though I’m sure my wonderful parents were not trying to be hurtful, I remember being given Barbie dolls every Christmas in hopes that I would play with them. I also remember being asked why I didn’t “like being a girl.” This notion confused me as I liked being a girl and also just happened to like baseball and skateboarding, the 2 seemed unrelated to me! I loved this article and plan to raise my kids in a similar fashion, letting them pursue their interests, whatever those may be!

  13. I am laughing at the timely nature of your post. Today we got our 3 oldest kids( 8 yr son, 6 yr daughter and 3 yr son) small lego sets for Valentine’s Day. I didn’t have any brothers or friends growing up who I knew with Legos. This is all new to me. My now 8 year old son was only into playing with TRIO(another building set) or Duplo. 1 year ago an uncle bought him his first “little Legos” set and he was hooked. We had asked him many times if he was interested in a small set and he always declined. Mind you he is quick to frustrate and at the time had trouble concentrating. I thought personally it would be a nightmare for him, but we secretly hoped he would like them one day as all his cousins loved Legos. Well, he LOVES fire trucks and construction …that was what did it for him. And he loves to build and pretend play.

    My daughter never had any desire to play with her brothers Legos. We started buying her pink Duplo Legos. She owns maybe 3 sets. One is a princess type one, another a cupcake decorating type thing and maybe another flowers. She plays with those daily now. Also it gives her something to feel like is her own since she is the one girl with 3 brothers.We had regular Duplo but she wasn’t very interested.

    This Christmas she received her first “Little Lego” set . I mean it was so tiny. BUT it had a “lady” in it “with hair”..lol…She played alongside her brother with her 50 pieces of pink Legos while her brother had thousands of pieces and she never wanted a piece of his.Today she received another generic set. She could not stop talking about the little dishes and cups and food it came with. My 8 year old son received one of those cool 3 in 1 sets. He loves those. He received duplicates at Christmas and had been eyeing a cottage from the booklets. When I asked him what he liked about the cottage so much he said it was because the boy had “hair” and came with a skateboard. (The other Lego guys have hats and no hair..lol)
    I like the generic sets. Especially the 3 in 1. My son loves to be creative, but I am thankful with his special needs that some of the Lego kits they make now come with a booklet with easy instructions with a beginning and an end. This makes him feel like he has accomplished something when he is done. He feels so proud. He also is good enough now to just make things on his own.

    I was so happy to watch everyone with their Legos this eve. I casually asked my husband if he minded the “pink Legos” as he grew up with Legos. His reply was ” not at all.. actually I love them!” 🙂

  14. About Barbie dolls. We have two daughters, (now grown) and I told them I’d buy them a doll that dates when they were old enough to date.
    A few years ago, I took my 11yr. old granddaughter garage sailing, all she wanted to buy were Legos. Several stops and no luck. Then at one just as we were about to leave, I saw a large shoe box under a table, I told her to check it out. OMG…MOTHERLODE. She went home deliriously happy.

  15. I love that they are making sets with more themes, including the salon, the farms, the cottage with dishes, etc. I DO NOT like that the Friends minifigs are not the same as the original minifigs. Why do the girl characters have to be curvier? It isn’t like the original minifigs anatomically resembled the human body? I just wish they’d made girl minifigs in the same style as the original with those sets. I feel like the different one implies that there is a necessary separation between the friends and the original LEGO, and the fact that they are curvier implies that girls should be curvier, which I don’t like because of body image issues, finding value in oneself, and all that.

    I didn’t know that they made that minifig set you linked. I love it! I love that there are plenty of girl characters, and that they are all interchangeable. If I want my farmer to be a boy, I can, or if I want her to be a girl, I can. You can’t do that with the Friends sets.

  16. <3 this post!

  17. My oldest child – a girl – is just starting to get old enough to be into legos. Do you have any suggestions which set to start with?

    • I personally have and would go to Amazon and just buy the basic generic girl(pink) or neutral ” little ” Lego set or the Duplo (bigger pieces) set depending on what level she is at with her fine motor skills. We have both. My daughter just turned 6 in nov and LOVES her little Legos but also plays with the Duplo on a daily basis.

      They both come in a “starter” bin version. I love it as the top snaps shut with plenty of room for more kits. It comes with a booklet to make all sorts of different things.

      I think the starter kits are about $20 or so. This way you have some basic pieces and then you can build on that! Otherwise if you just buy a smaller set to start you are sometimes limited esp with Duplo to a set with maybe 35 pieces.And they count everything. Again, it depends on where your daughter is at and what she would do well with.

      Have FUN!!!

  18. Love this! I have 2 sisters and a brother, all born within 6 years of each other. In our house we had dolls, legos, a dollhouse, cars, etc and we all played with everything. When my brother was 3 he liked having his nails painted by my older sister and me. The 4 of us could play for hours with the giant bucket of legos, not one of them being a girl color. We had a dress up closet and all 4 of us dressed up and made up stories. We had “spy gear” probably found in the boy aisle at target that we all pooled our allowances for and played with in the yard for years. Playing with “boy” toys did not make my sisters and I turn into boys, and nothing happened to my brother for playing with dress up clothes!

    Now my older sister has 2 boys, and while they LOVE Lego and superheroes and Star Wars, they also consistently ask me to “bring over Beauty and the Beast! Tangled! Brave!” any time I come over. They love stuffed animals and the older one will go from dancing to back on the ground saying “bsshhh! crassshhh! vroooom!” boy sounds with his cars. I don’t have children, but I think its largely about how they are presented with things.

    I love your blog and how real it is!

  19. […] You can read more about why I love LEGO® Friends here: I Bought My Daughter Pink LEGO® and I’m Not Sorry. […]

  20. […] my kids love the themed LEGO sets  such as  the Chima Lion Temple and LEGO Friends sets, I am a huge fan of the LEGO Classic. These sets yield themselves to endless creativity. While […]

  21. […] or the packaging, then don’t buy it. If you are a long-time reader, you probably know that I bought my daughter pink LEGO and I’m not sorry. I have also bought my son pink LEGO and my daughters Superhero LEGO. They are toys, people and […]

  22. […] Just like my girls love pink LEGO, Apollo has been frustrated in the past that most baby dolls come in pastel-colored outfits. I […]

  23. […] You can read more about why I love LEGO® Friends here: I Bought My Daughter Pink LEGO® and I’m Not Sorry. […]

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