A decade or few back in the history of LEGO, it was perceived as a toy line for children. Rather, LEGO was primarily marketed for boys. But girls did enjoy playing with LEGO too, and eventually calls were made for girl-oriented products. The company complied, both with licensed IPs like Disney and original themes. The latter took several iterations, from LEGO Belville in the 1990s-2000s to LEGO Friends, introduced in 2012. That was fine at first. But at present in a world pushing for more inclusivity and less gender bias, that must change. And LEGO plans to lead in change.
The company made their intentions known on Monday, October 11, aka the United Nations International Day of the Girl. Through a statement on their official website and a new “Rebuild the World” video, LEGO charted a new direction in their product marketing.
Play inclusivity will be a guiding watchword, and the limits of gender stereotypes will be removed. Of course, these announcements also provoked some intense debate and even pushback. In response to a particularly nasty rumor that LEGO’s gender-bias removal means discontinuing LEGO Friends, the company had a counter-statement. No, LEGO Friends will not end. Its predominantly-female character cast will simply gain more male additions starting 2022, for balance.
Yes, put the torches and pitchforks down now. LEGO Friends isn’t going away. The theme’s celebrating its first decade next year! LEGO will however implement inclusive measure that goes both ways. Guys will simply appear more in Heartlake city. In turn, girls will become more common for upcoming LEGO minifigures in general, outside the licensed-IP themes. That’s one way to remove gender bias and stereotypes without benefiting one at the other’s expense. We’ll see how LEGO holds true to that with next year’s product releases.