LEGO responds to concerns of gender bias in its Friends line

The LEGO Group has clarified the fate of LEGO Friends as it commits to removing gender stereotypes from its products and marketing.

Earlier this week, the company announced that it will ‘ensure LEGO products and marketing are accessible to all and free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes’, following the results of a survey that found girls are ready to break free of gender stereotypes – but society at large is holding them back.

Where exactly LEGO Friends – which is arguably the most directly gender-specific theme, given it was originally developed with girls in mind – fell into that discussion wasn’t clear, but the LEGO Group has now responded to concerns over sweeping changes to (or perhaps even the cancellation of) one of its most popular product lines.

LEGO Friends isn’t going anywhere,” the LEGO Group’s engagement team shared via the LEGO Ambassador Network. “Next year’s LEGO Friends portfolio will have the most male figures we have had in our assortment to date. As well as gender, we are also increasing the variety in our LEGO Friends characters with more older and younger characters (including the microdoll).”

The LEGO Group also affirmed in a follow-up statement that while Friends was indeed developed for girls, it was never intended only for girls – despite its packaging seemingly leaning into certain gender stereotypes.

LEGO Friends, which is now one of our most beloved franchises and enjoyed by girls and boys alike, was launched in 2012 based on extensive research showing that some girls in particular were looking for new and different ways to engage with the LEGO System in Play,” the statement reads.

“While it was launched as a way to fill the gap for a particular group of girls specifically, we never branded it as a franchise exclusively for girls. As with all our franchises, we continue to adjust LEGO Friends in ways that make it more inclusive for all.”

For 2022, those adjustments will apparently only come in the form of balancing the gender split of its characters – and therefore not in changing Friends’ packaging or mini-dolls – as the LEGO Group is apparently also trying to achieve across its wider portfolio.

“We are also looking into representation for our minifigures,” the company’s engagement team shared. “Currently we have a larger proportion of male minifigures across the portfolio, but we remain committed to increase the number of female characters as we’re fully aware of how important it is to ensure children are able to reflect themselves in the toys they play with.”

Click here to learn more about the LEGO Group’s new campaign to remove gender bias, or head here to see a rumoured list of LEGO Friends sets arriving in 2022.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

3 thoughts on “LEGO responds to concerns of gender bias in its Friends line

  • 17/10/2021 at 08:11
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    Stories like this make me sad. What a sad world we live in these days. There’s nothing wrong with these sets! And introducing more female characters? Why? It’s mostly boys that play with Lego… So stick to mostly boy characters… Simple.

    Reply
  • 13/10/2021 at 20:16
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    Dzie? dobry.
    Problem p?ci jest problem doros?ych ludzi, a nie maluch dzieci. To my doro?li kreujemy ?wiat dziecka. Ma?e dziecko nie widzi w tym problemu.
    Straszne jest to, ?e my doro?li uwa?amy si? za bardzo m?drych ludzi, a z buciorami wchodzimy w ten male?ki ?wiat dziecka. Pozwólmy dzieciom by? dzie?mi, tak by jako doro?li ju? ludzie mogli w wolno?ci pod??y? ?cie?k? w?asnych marze? i pragnie?. Przecie? ka?dy ma?y
    Dzieciak wie kto jest ch?opiec, a kto dziewczynka.

    Reply
  • 13/10/2021 at 10:54
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    That was my first thought when they announced it – what about Friends? Lego’s statement is simply beyond belief. That’s like saying “Barbie is not a girls’ toy”.

    Reply

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