UK LEGO Club targets girls with new magazine

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For boys! For girls!In what will probably be regarded as a controversial move, LEGO has started issuing different versions of the club magazine to female members. I know this because I enroled my wife last year so I could get the exclusive Max minifigure :-)

So yesterday, my 'male' version arrived featuring Ninjago, Super Heroes, Star Wars, Creator, City, Dino and Technic and today my wife's 'female' one landed on the doorstep featuring Friends, City, SpongeBob, LEGO Champions game and a 'cool creations' page featuring just girls. The only common content is the City (forest) spread.

What do you think? I understand totally that no self-respecting 7-year-old boy would be seen dead with a Friends set, but what about the other way round? Does this move reinforce stereotypes and dictate what is acceptable for girls to play with? Or is it a sensible and acceptable marketing move?

66 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

I don't see what the big deal is, I work with children 5 days a week and when there are toys out we put the classic boy toys out cars, trains, dinos etc and also girl toys out, like baby/pram, kitchen and dressing up and even though they are in the same rooms boys played with the boys toys and girls played with the girl toys. All Lego are doing is marketing their products better.

You don't see people up in arms in the Early Learning Center because one side has all pink toys for girls and blue toys for boys. I got both copies of the mag and I left them out to read and guess who picked which copy up?? The older girls we look after had no interest in Lego till I bought a few of the new friends sets, now it is all they talk about. Lego for me have got it spot on with the new theme and the two types of magazine.

People seem to be looking for issues where there are none, if kids of either gender are playing, building with Lego, then great, us adults need to let them get on with it.

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By in United Kingdom,

I never heard that this girls magazine ever existed and I don't have a Max figure, so do you have to resubscribe to get him or do you have to become a new member to get him.
Because my current membership has reached the end of its 2 years, can any one advise me,what to do?

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ As a father of two daughters, I agree entirely RJH. I posted the article and posed the questions just to spark a bit of debate.

There is a lot of IMO unwarranted backlash against Friends (e.g. http://blog.sfgate.com/mmagowan/2012/01/11/30000-have-signed-petition-against-lego-for-girls/) and this will surely just add fuel to the fire.

^ I think it was an Argos exclusive offer or something: join via a form downloaded from their website and you got a free Max. That was a few months ago. We probably covered it in a news article here at the time. This is the first time a girls edition has been published.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm ever so slightly offended that Spongebob appears in the Girls version.
I love the Spongebob figures. I'll have to start only buying them at the weekends when my name changes to Angelina!!!

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By in United Kingdom,

The problem with that unwarranted backlash is the majority are only doing it because of the so-called sterotyping and feel Lego are doing some massive sexist thing. WRONG!!, they are doing what every other toy maker and toy store do and is bring out a line that appeals to girls as the vast majority of 7-12 year old girls are not going to walk down the LEGO isle and pick up a Ninjago, Dino or Star Wars set, Lego did their home work and realised this and brought out a range that will appeal to girls, it is nothing sinister just damn good market research. I see what kids of this age range play with 50 hours a week and trust me when I say that boys like darker colours and colder colours so will go for toys in that colour and love anything that is on 4 wheels or has a weapon. Girls on the other hand prefer to pick up toys with light and pastel colours and play with toys where they can roleplay etc.

I will stop ranting as I just did that on my blog....

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By in Bolivia,


What LEGO is doing through this marketable advertising is that if you are a girl, you shouldn't get any close to 3/4 of Town, StarWars, NinjaGo, Space, Harry Potter, LoTR, Super Heroes, Dino, Creator, Technic or Modulars. If you are a boy you shouldn't get close to Friends. Hey, but since we assume LEGO are going to make quick buck for this, it is not sexist at all.

Oooh, LEGO are doing exactly what other toy makers are doing. That's the problem. We used to be able to take LEGO to a higher standard, it seems that not anymore.

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By in United States,

I hope they also feature Creator sets in the girls Club magazine. My daughter is in the club, but she recently got the one with Ninjago on the cover.

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By in United States,

Critics of Friends seem to only want an integreated, unified LEGOverse instead of the "seperate but equal" one being offered. It's hard to believe that LEGO would make this move to more doll-like figures based on the supposed millions of dollars sunk into market research because they had tried that before with Scala and Belville. There is nothing wrong with making sets heavy on pink and purple elements, but to make the figures completely different, barely recognizable, non-interchangable, and relegated to their own magazine is contrary to LEGO's "Play well" philosophy. Making these sets with regular yellow female minifigures would have accomplished all the Friends line set out to do and more.
The classic yellow minifigure is nearly 35 years old. How long with the Friends figures last?

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By in United Kingdom,

Thanks for the link Huw, appreciate it.

Before these for want of a better word righteous folk have the LEGO Directors sent to the gallows, maybe they need to take a look at society as whole and ask why do boys prefer Dinos and cars and blue and dark colours, yet girls prefer dolls, dressing up and pink and pastel colours. If Lego are sterotyping then sorry but then isn't the whole of society doing the same????

Right I best get back to work :P

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By in United States,

Sharky, unfortunately your little girl's Club magazine will probably not feature Creator sets. LEGO has decided girls aren't interested in things other than dolls, Spongebob Squarepants, and selected City sets. They've done market research about it evidently.

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By in Sweden,

I don't have any problem with LEGO doing a line aimed at girls (and perhaps specifically aimed at girls who otherwise might not be interested in LEGO), but I have to say this is an absolutely boneheaded move by LEGO and one that will surely fuel the fire of those objecting to the Friends line and unlike before might get a lot of criticism from actual LEGO fans themselves (the previous hoopla seemed to be manufactured by people who have no understanding of LEGO). If I were a girl who loved all kinds of LEGO I'd be royally pissed off I was getting a magazine that (almost) only plugged the girly LEGO and didn't tell me anything about all the other stuff.

They should've just put this all in one magazine and sent it to everyone, be they girls, boys, men or women.

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By in United States,

Separating boy and girl toys and saying it is "only natural" is ridiculous. Does anyone really think little boys spent hundreds of years going around with their thumbs sticking up and one finger pointed out and saying *bang* only for one day an adult to invent a gun and everyone say "Oh! That's what the boys have been doing for generations!"? It is all taught social behavior. Telling boys they are to only play with one type of toy and girls another hurts kids. Just ask little Riley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viQph2vuHgs

Is this Lego's fault? No. It is an entire society. Is Lego adding to the problem with their marketing strategies? Yes. I have no problem with the Friends sets being made exactly as they are and marketed. I have a problem with them being marketed as the "girl" sets, thus pushing girls into this little corner from which boys are excluded and telling girls they aren't supposed to want anything else. This separate magazine thing is ridiculous, says the woman who as a little girl told her mother "Wouldn't it be fantastic if there were Star Wars Lego toys?" and shouted with joy the day that dream came true.

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By in United States,

My two 5 year olds, boy and girl, agree heartily with Graysmith. They would prefer a magazine that included everything. They are both wildly excited about Friends, for entirely different reasons; they also play together with the more boy-oriented sets, like Adventurers, and of course with the more gender neutral sets like Kingdoms. When my daughter's magazine arrives with Friends features, my son will be jealous, and there will be lots of fights over it. One big magazine would be great.

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By in United States,

It is a sensible and acceptable marketing move

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By in United Kingdom,

It's good to see that as suspected and intended, this is generating a healthy debate :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

I think they should have created the magazine like they used to do the catalogues in stores, where if you read it one way you got all the new Lego products and if you read it the other way you got all the Duplo products (not explaining that very well, but you know what I mean, right?) That way although TLG could market separately for boys and girls with different covers and features, every child would still be able to read about all sets and themes and make up their own mind.

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By in United States,

I invoke Occam's razor, and the simple fact remains is that LEGO is a multinational corporation that is out there to make a profit. Yes, they are definitely much pickier in terms of the quality of their products and the messages that they send compared to most companies, but they are still a company. They tried to take the moral high ground before (e.g. no licensed sets EVER) and it almost ran them out of the business.

So the fact remains that if Friends proves to be popular, they can continue to be profitable and therefore continue to make the sets that you like and the sets that you can CHOOSE to buy for yourself or your children, regardless of their gender.

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By in United Kingdom,

My daughter was upset that she been swapped to the girl club from the main club I will be phoning up to getting her swapped back

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By in United Kingdom,

NOOOOOO! Spongebob DENIED!

If they can afford to print both mags, with duplicated content, and so forth, why not just put the whole lot into ONE mag for ALL lego fans? Splitting content is divisive and counter-productive, as it also denies content to both genders, whereas we should be able to SHARE our hobby across genders, as LEGO is meant to be a creative AND constructive toy suitable for ALL. So what if some bricks are pink, or some blue, I will use the bricks I need. Boys will want the sets they like, Girls will want the sets they like, adults will buy what they like etc.

This decision just reinforces the stupid stereotype that Lego was a 'boys toy'. No it wasn't. It was a toy POPULAR with boys. There is a difference. But LEGO has just messed up that distinction for themselves. YES, by all means release lines that attract MORE girls, of course, I love that, but DON'T tell me its ONLY for girls. That is just playing into the critics hands. *face palm*.

Right, I'm a 30-something male, and i'm now off to play with my 'girly' Spongebob sets. Cheers, Lego, I didn't know i played with girls toys... lol

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By in Ireland,

This whole boy/girl toy is ridiculous. I went and picked up a friends set today just to see what they were like and felt weird handing it over but then why should I? I only want the bricks and not the figure although surprised at how good it is and I will be buying more.

I also have a son (2) and daughter (7m) and I actually bought a kitchen playset for my son when he was 18 months old and he loves it. He also has a doll (to get him used to little girl appearing) and a little buggy/stroller. I collected him from daycare and he was playing with a vacuum cleaner. A friend of ours was like 'My son would never get that' in reference to kitchen and buggy being all butch, the joke being he's not exactly a butch-type person. Who cares what the kids play with as long as they love playing with it. Also, funny thing is the friend's wife has a little girl too and she bought her a kitchen even though she's just 9-10m old so her son could play with it...he he.

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By in Canada,

Its bound to fail. I hate marketing directors and PR people.

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By in Italy,

Stereotypes... I know a little girl who never likes pink Lego Boxes...

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By in United Kingdom,

I Don't see what the big deal is?!

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By in Sweden,

Someone should contact LEGO and ask if this is just a one-off thing though. The cover of the girls version says "Special Edition", which to me would suggest that it's just a single issue they're sending to female members to promote the launch of the Friends line rather than this being some kind of permanent gender separation (which I really can't imagine they'd be so stupid to do).

Still, as I commented before, they should've just sent this as one magazine to everyone. There are bound to be lots of male members of the LEGO club that has sisters who might not be club members themselves but still look in their brother's magazine. With no information on Friends in the "male" edition, that's could mean a lot of missed opportunities.

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By in United Kingdom,

Call it stereotyping and its bad, generalisation and its lazy, a mean and its scientific. Either way its true, in general girls dont want lego. Up to about age ten that must be getting for half lego possible market. No wonder they want to maximize their opportunities. Having recently got the space girl from series 6 I can see why girls might not appreciate it. At the same time the friends file are not at all stick thin. The magazine may seem odd and may annoy some girls already into lego. But that's a small number as a share of the potential market and you're already hooked. Its good marketing sense in an industry where shared gender marketing is very rare beyond age six. Kids sent used to it.

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By in United Kingdom,

I found it really irritating how they changed all the girls to a different magazine, i think that they should have at least asked there girl members if they wanted to switch instead of switching them over automaticly. The old magazine was better than the girls one and it is very sterotypical of them. Girls love the city and creator sets and thinking that they shouldn't include many of them in the new magazine is wrong. THey should just print one magazine so everyone could read both and make everyone happy.

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By in United States,

@RJH...you are spot on. People nowadays are looking for controversy at every turn.

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By in United States,

I am offendend how Spongebob is on the girl Magazine. Since when is spongebob considered "for girls"? I wonder why SB is on the girl magazine?

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By in Canada,

I've always thought of Lego as a gender-neutral toy that happened to have a few product themes that skewed more towards boys. I'm not sure this has changed simply because there is a new line that skews heavily towards girls. However, I'm leery of the split with the magazine because it seems to put fences around both groups.

Friends isn't selling well in this neck of woods. The shelves are packed with product that just isn't moving. And from casual observation, I would say that girls who do veer into the Lego section just aren't interested in Friends; in fact, they seem far more interested in Ninjago. I listened as one girl expressed her dismay to her father that a certain ninja wasn't in the display diorama. On another occasion, a mother tried to get her daughter interested in Friends, but the young girl was having none of it — she went right over to the Ninjago booster packs. :D

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By in United States,

^Friends is flying off the shelves here. Even Belleville sold out at the Queens Center Lego Store.

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By in Canada,

^ Honestly I'm surprised it's not selling better here.

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By in United States,

Honestly, a line made specifically for girls really isn't anything to get worried about. I mean, EVEN some guys like the new colors and bricks, it's nothing to get bent out of shape over.
But...
Making a magazine specifically for girls is probably the worst thing ever thought up! What about the girls that like the "boy" toys?! My sister isn't the biggest LEGO fan, though she still buys things occasionally. And I know she would be bummed out if she wasn't able to get a "boy" version of the LEGO magazine. And I don't blame her.
For myself, I am a collector. I try to collect every LEGO magazine and catalog that comes out. I was rather upset when LEGO skipped me on an edition of the catalog. I'm not gonna try to sign myself up for the girls magazine though, because honestly, the magazine is meant to be more fun than anything else. I still enjoy it, it's just not as important as the catalog.

Well those are my thoughts on this new idea.

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By in United Kingdom,

Who says girls can't be into ninjago and star wars? They should at least be given a choice as to what magazine they recieve! Saying that, Club magazines are a load of rubbish anyway - basically an advert disguised as a magazine.

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By in United States,

My daughters 3 and 7 love lego's.
We have the cargo train and the making of a large city. Their campers have an accident, send in the park rangers and hospital crew.

But on a different day, it's all about the friends sets. They are only hoping for police and others characters in the same scale.

My 3 year old loves the new dino theme.....we have had a triceratops attacking her my little ponies for days now.

Some people do believe girls play girl games and boys only play boys games.....and FREAK out if their child puts up a toy that is not "meant" for their sex.

Others believe a child will play with what interests them, and don't car if their little princess plays hotwheels, or little jonny plays with his sisters barbie.

Lego is trying to please both of those groups. And the answer is a third option: a combined magizine.

after a year of offering all three, they might see they only need to make one larger mag, instead of a boy or girl specific one.

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By in United States,

The magazine aside, the Friends line is flying off the shelves of the 2 TRU in my area. And it is roughly a 50-50 split between boys and girls holding the boxes in line when I check out. The parents seem to be way more uncomfortable with it than the kids are.

My Star-Wars-loving-George-Lucas-worshipping-Nerf-gun-toting son (who owns nearly as many SW Lego as I do) is saving up his allowances as if his life depended on it to get these sets. He wants the bricks and his little sisters have already lay claim to the doll-figs...even though he has plans for those as well.

Don't get me started on the number of times I find my HP sets, SW figs and general brick collection in my oldest daughter's room.

Rage all you want, Lego has a success on its hands. At least for a little while. ;-)

People need to stop knocking the imagination of kids just because people's pants are in a bunch over Lego marketing moves.

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By in United States,

Luckily for me, I seem to have a name that is not recognized as being a "girl". I received the "boy" edition, with a boy comic.

I actually don't keep the magazine, but read it through, and then donate it to a local "kid" event.

I don't care what the cover looks like, but would like the content to cover both types of sets.

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By in United States,

In my local Target, there's an end display of Friends, and in the past week, I haven't seen 1 set move! Superheroes was released a couple of days ago at that Target, and girls were buying it. I like the idea of one big magazine, not a seperate magazine for boys and girls. Thankfully I got the boy club magazine (not sure is the girl one is coming to the USA) with a true Lego DC Comic, not the silly little 4 page one in the sets.

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By in United Kingdom,

I've got 2 daughters- both Lego club members.
My 7 year old got the girls version and my 9 year old got the regular version. I was happy cause the regular one had a Star Wars comic strip in it. My oldest daughter though is very girly and really wants to start collecting Lego Friends. She was fed up that Lego had sent her the Boys version! :)

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By in United States,

This doesn't seem like a controversial move, I'd say LEGO just wanted to appeal to both genders by giving two versions. Perhaps my daughter can now start getting into LEGO. How do you obtain them anyway? I received the new one in the mail but I did no get a girls version.

Besides, why is Spongebob considered girls? I love Spongebob! I watch it with my boys everyday!

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By in Hungary,

Both sensible and appropriate. My wife and I have a son and three daughters; and we all dig LEGO (although I'm definitely the most adamant about the digging). The girls play with the Star Wars theme far less than their brother; and he builds far less houses and parks than he does space ships and fighting scenes. Our youngest daughter likes Star Wars to be sure, but...you're not surprised to find flowers in what she builds.

Let's just all be OK with this simply profound and profoundly simple truth: boys and girls (of all ages) are - in fact - different.

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By in United States,

Poor move. Just make it part of the Lego Club Magizine. I'm definitly seven, more closer to a geveration before seven, but LEGO is for everyone and to get girls interested, they don't need to subject them from the rest of LEGO. Girls like Star Wars, and guys like Spongebob. What's the problem with that? And what are they going to do to the catalogs? Make gender oriented one's, too. How are we guys going to know what new sets have our girl colors for awesome MOCs?

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By in United States,

I too agree with most of the posters, I hope this is just a one off thing. I can see Friends being targeted to just girls, and maybe Ninjago to just boys, but why separate Spongebob, Creator, Star Wars (I know lots of girls, my wife being one, who love Star Wars), Dino, and Technic as girls or boys toys. I hope that the future editions are combined, but does this one instance of segregating the themes forever classify them as "girl" toys or "boy" toys? I hope not!

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By in Canada,

I'm not any big activist or anything, but I'm a bit annoyed. In reference to the article you linked there, Huw, if girls play with "boys" LEGO, TLG has made a very big mistake. Or they're really stupid. Because girls play with themes like City, SW and Creator, and they will into the future.

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By in United States,

I have nothing against Friends (I actually think it is a good move by LEGO), but I think that the Girls magazine should not have replaced the normal magazine for female subscribers. It should be an additional thing. All LEGO club members should receive the ordinary magazine, and girls receive the girls magazine in addition. Non-Friends LEGO is for everyone, not just boys.

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By in United States,

Here in the U.S. it's addressed to my girlfriend and we got the "boys" version. I hope it stays that way. She's less interested in Friends than I am because she doesn't get as excited about new pieces and colors etc. She likes Batman a lot more and has picked up a couple sets. Personally I'd think any gender would want one big magazine with everything instead of being divided up automagically. Very silly.

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By in United States,

I think that the worst effect Friends has had is filling up Lego forums and news sites with paragraph long comments from dozens of people saying there is nothing wrong with Friends and going into detail about every experience they have had with a female or child or both.

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By in Denmark,

I don't understand why they don't just make one basic magazine with everything in it. If they then wants to push a product at a specific gender they could change the front page and rearrange the contents.
Everybody would get the same information and the products they wanted pushed would be in the first pages for each gender.
Everybody's different. It's not bad, it's not good, it's just fact!

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By in New Zealand,

Personally I think its a step backwards. They should have just solved the female minifig problem globally in all Lego, instead of segregating out girls into a different system.

_ALL_ Female minifigs could have ended up more female, and this would have allowed them to blur the lines between, say, friends and creator houses, and pull girls into those too. Creating a different-scaled minifig system was not a smart marketing move as it removes the compatibility and therefore ability to cross-sell and up-sell.

This polarisation of the genders is not a good thing for Lego as it creates incompatibility and stereotyping.

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By in United States,

Five words: Totally... Did... Not... See... That... Coming. I think Lego is trying to market. It is too obvious since the close of LU. It does get kinda annoying when they do this kinda thing

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By in United States,

kinda funny how the lego club for boys doesnt say for boys in big letters like the girl one does...the issue is that lego cant put friends in a lego club magazine mostly bought by boys, but who says girls dont play with legos. Im sure it appears that through surveys, boys buy a lot more of those certain types of lego, but I don't see why girls cant like creator or ninjago, though its obvious that dino and star wars wont really appeal to girls

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By in United States,

I hate with a capital h what Lego is doing many girls like normal Lego and now there separating the magazine? Come on Lego

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By in United States,

I vote for one magazine with as many of the product lines as possible. My boys go through each issue and enjoy all of the content. They may see the Friends line and want some of the sets. I don't know if that would happen but I would like them to have the opportunity to decide what they like rather than TLG. From a marketing standpoint, it would be cheaper to produce only one version of the magazine and kids wouldn't have to feel that they could only like the LEGO that was targeted to them. Girls liking Star Wars and Hero Factory? Great! Boys liking Friends or Belville? Also great! It takes every kind of people to make the world go ’round.

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By in United States,

I have a different (male) magazine than the one you have a picture of, and the one on club.lego.com. I have the issue where the cover is a big green ninja. Why?

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By in United States,

@Mighty Wanderer
They're different issues. You'll get the pictured one soon.

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By in United States,

I feel more bad about the boys who are signed up under their mom's name or something so they get the girl magazine instead. Imagine a six year old boy getting the girl magazine because their mom signed up and used her gender.

Moving on, I personally don't like the magazine. It would almost be better if they made a larger magazine to support all there themes so each gets ample spotlight time. You just wouldn't spam Friends because then boys would (most likely) hate if their magazine was filled with "pink" and "icky girl" things.

Meh, I don't really care. As long as I don't get it, I won't care (I do like the Friends theme, BTW, I just wouldn't want a magazine basically dedicated to it.)

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By in United States,

Does the girl version include a preview of Marvel Super Heroes. If not I'd be truly annoyed. I hope to get the regular version soon.

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By in {Unknown country},

My daughter received the Dutch version yesterday, but here they apparently didn't make separate versions for boys and girls. It just had a flyer inserted with an announcement of the friends theme and some sort of friends introduction day you could sign up for. I wonder if this insert is gender specific, or included in all Dutch magazines?

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By in United States,

I've listed the arguments against this theme and magazine here, and will attempt to 'decipher' them :)
1: The figures aren't Minifigs, but they're glorified dolls.
2: It's segregating boys from girls by making 'exclusive' themes.
3: Its stereotyping genders.
These three are basically the three main arguments against Friends. First off, is there a note on the box saying, "Sorry, this is for girls only." Yeah, no. But generally, if you put a Friends set in front of a boy along with a X-Wing, most of the time the boy will take the X-Wing. Now, if you put a Friends set in front of a girl along with a X-Wing, most of the time she will take the Friends set. It's called S-T-A-T-I-S-T-I-C-S. It isn't 'segregating' boys from girls, most of the boys I know who are young and Lego's key audience would get to the Friends section of the Magazine and exclaim, "Yugh!" and quickly pass over it moving to the Hero Factory Bios. Lego is just simply giving people CHOICES, so if a girl doesn't want to play star ships with her brother she can play with her Cafe'. Or if a boy doesn't really want to play a dog fight again, he can play with HIS Cafe'. But lets face it, most boys are inclined to more action stuff and most girls are more inclined to peaceful things so to say. And if you're a girl who doesn't want to play or build Friends than more power to you! But majority rules, and Lego is a business as much as we all would like to disagree. If you'd rather get a the 'boys' version of the magazine NOTHING IS STOPPING YOU! This is coming from someone who is not in the majority, I'd rather watch Veggietales then a PG-13 action shooter! Am I offend that those kind of movies are stereotyped as 'Teen-ager' movies? No. And look, there are exceptions to EVERYTHING in life, and just because there is a pink theme doesn't mean it's a 'girl' theme. Most boys might characterize it as such though. When I was little I thought red and purple and pink were 'Girl' colors and green and blue were 'Manly' colors. So did all of my friends. You could say that is a general mind set of young boys, and the opposite could be said about young girls. I end my case.
Thank you for reading my rant :P
P.S. Another thing, I don't hear any complaints about Duplo. After all, is SEGREGATING young children from old children! That's a stereotype after all...

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By in Denmark,

All the "complaints" in Norwegian newpapers are from ladies I'm almost certain don't care an inch about LEGO, but are on the far extreme feminist side using this just as another opportunity to utter their opinion in a way that gets them in the newspapers again!

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By in United States,

@ icey117 - Exactly like what happened in the USA. Fortunately, informed LEGO fans can use the documentation that has been compiled online to counter any false-information claims they may present. Good luck! :-)

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By in United States,

@itsaturkey
You may have a point, but I don't think Duplo is segregation. Duplo is basically made for smaller children for their safety, as the smaller LEGO bricks may hurt them (you know the drill). I think I may have even seen Duplo featured in a LEGO Magazine at some point.

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By in United States,

^ I was kinda' being sarcastic to make a point of how ridiculous I think this whole 'controversy' is :)

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