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User blog:Soupperson1/A mini-doll rant by a mini-doll fan

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I can safely say I prefer mini-dolls to minifigures, that's my preference and I'll stick by my word. However, I think the way the LEGO group is capitalizing on these figures is completely ridiculous. There's many obvious problems that noone seems to be addressing, but since most mini doll fans are little girls how could they? So here I am acting on their behalf. I'm going to break this blog into different parts, but be aware that I might bring up points again as I'm horrible with organization. :P

Lack of interesting figures[edit]

Hank's torso would've been a great addition to the Amusment Park line

Say what you will about City but if they need a "specialized" minifigure they'll supply. Scientists, LEGO store employees, coffee shop workers, nurses, fireman, citizens, policemen, robbers, hazmat suits. You name the job and the set and they'll make a suitable figure for it. Friends on the other hand does not do this. I mean sure 2013 was great, but what about this years summer wave? Nearly everything in this wave is reused, Andrea does finally get the flat skirt and Matthew cropped trousers. We also got five new torsos, tan jodhpurs and green jodhpurs. But honestly given the sets I'm really disappointed. 41124 Heartlake Puppy Daycare doesn't have an employee outfit, it's just Andrea and Mia in casual clothes...Andrea's looks a bit too fancy though. I don't think it's a wise idea to wear a necklace to a dog kennel :P We still don't have a farmer in 41126 Heartlake Horse Riding Club or even an adult. Sophie reuses a teenage torso yet again...and so does the new "teacher" Iva. Mia and Olivia share a horse riding torso. :S The only new characters we got in this wave were in LEGO store exclusive sets and not one if them is worthwhile. :/
My favourite example though is: We have no clown, mime, fortune teller or even a decent looking employee at the Amusment Park, nothing. I guess we have hot dog Nate, which is great but that's only one set. I'm not saying all sets need to have exclusive characters, I'd happily take this as the amusement park lineup:

  • Arcade-Andrea, gamer shirt, her flat blue skirt and white shoes
  • Space Ride-Olivia, a space themed shirt, her existing blue skirt
  • Hot Dog Van-Stephanie, Nate, both as they came
  • Bumper Cars-Employee Ben, Casual Mia, in her amusement park top and light blue skirt
  • Roller coaster-Employee Hank, Clown, Magician Mia, Emma (with new torso, possibly even Andrea's from 41124)
"My torso is interesting?!"

That's only a new employee torso (as seen on Hank and Miss Terry from the video game), a new torso for Andrea and Emma, and three new pieces for a clown. I think the above list would be much more interesting and you can still get all the girls in their casual outfits. What's better is all of these parts par the Clown and mabye the Employee torso (unless we continue with this amazing sub theme) could easily be used again.

It's not like we don't get new minifigure pieces all the time, for example 70590 Airjitzu Battle Grounds has eleven exclusive minifigure pieces, would it really be much more expensive to give each of the friends an amusement park torso? Even worse the girls have the same camp torsos! I mean really? I mean was it really too hard to produce an extra two? Especially since they can easily be reused again, heck Mia's and Emma's hoodie is already appearing in other sets.

Not only do they not make new interesting figures I don't think they capitalize on the ones they made. As I stated before this summer wave Mia and Olivia share horse riding torsos, why can't one use Katharina's? Kids get two different torsos which ads new (kids now probably don't have Katharina) and LEGO doesn't have to make new prints. It makes zero sense to me. :S Its not like they don't bring parts from years ago back, just look at 70591 Kryptarium Prison Breakout.
I take little pride in having an exclusive or "rare" mini-dolls such as Katharina or Magician Mia, because of the little amount of customization there is currently. I don't see why girls younger than me shouldn't have the opportunity to get these figures too and expand their customization options.

Repeat of parts, no repeat of others[edit]

Look I know it's completely ridiculous to expect each character in Friends to have a new face, I get that. But is it to much to ask to have the five Friends have their faces as exclusives? Why can't Iva have Rapunzel's new face or one of Emily's instead of Emma's? It just seems weird to me that they reuse the main characters faces and not other character's. Most little girls will already have at least two duplicates of each of the Friends' faces, why must we get repeats on secondary characters in addition?
Speaking of faces, were still missing a bunch of obvious stuff. Most notably we still don't have a face with glasses besides Ms. Stevens, we still have no hazel eyes or grey face (Olivia's and Mia have amber eyes). At this point I think we should really be getting alternative shades of blue and green eyes, not be waiting for them to finish giving out the basic colours.

Another example would be the fact that nearly all Friends mini-dolls have the same hairpiece. Matthew, Julian, Andrew and Ben all use the same hairpiece, as do Peter, David, Robert and Nate why?! There's so many male minifigure hairpieces and the majority of them look fine on mini-dolls so what's the problem with having different ones? I mean your only giving little girls more customization options! The same goes with Susan and Charlotte, surly one of them could've used the short minifigure ponytail piece and then a City minifigure could've got their hair?

Why do they keep torsos exclusive too? I mean Stephanie's regular torso appears in three sets this year alone, while her top from Stephanie's Pet Patrol is still exclusive four years later... Iva could've really been upgraded if she borrowed from one of the Friends' mothers or Ms. Stevens' closet.

Similar new prints over interesting ones[edit]

Does Cinderella really need three dress prints and does Rapunzel need two? I mean could one of those prints not have been sacrificed to give Belle a hazel eyed face, or Elsa a face with a smirk or Merida one without lipstick? :S

Do we really need another casual top for Olivia in Space Ride, then a space themed shirt? Did Livi and Andrea really need new pop star tops and over skirts in 41135 Livi's Pop Star House instead of a different character or possibly pajamas? There's so many Friends sets that should use casual torsos (a customer at the café, Olivia's ice cream bike ect.) so LEGO can use casual torsos there but when the opportunity arises why do they make another casual torso instead of an interesting one? I'd love to see Olivia in her labcoat or Emma in pajamas and I'd imagine most girls would too.

Less characters than "boys" themes[edit]

"I wonder is it from Elvendale or Heartlake? I'm not going either way."

While I'm sure this is a cost issue, though I'm pretty sure mini-dolls don't cost three times as much. The advent calanders seem to agree with this fact, as there's a 3:1 ratio on the amount of minifigures you get to mini-dolls! Why not give us a Santa minidoll anyway? Are the girls from Heartlake supposed to be naughty or something? :/ It seems bizarre especially since Star Wars which is a galaxy that doesn't even celebrate Christmas (though I'm sure they don't celebrate Light Day anymore...) has every Tom, Dick and Harry cosplaying as him.

Elvendale seems to be completely empty, only having nine residents released to date, which was over the course of 18 sets! 70224 Tiger's Mobile Command alone has six figures which is more than half of the released Elves mini-dolls, even including Emily.

"Take this letter before people find out I'm speaking to a bird!"

While I don't think every set needs more characters for example 41104 Pop Star Dressing Room and 41173 Elvendale School of Dragons are fine as they are. Some sets like 41176 The Secret Marketplace look completely ridiculous with the number they received though, there's three shops and only two employees...which are both animals and animals in Elves don't even talk! Heck one is Azari's pet fox...eh, what? Did he have a secret business when she was out with Emily?! The characters in the set didn't even have to be exclusive, all Elves has to do is create a few new pieces and rotate them around to make new characters, Jasmine's, Sira's and Rapunzel's faces can be starting points.

A huge example would be the fact that whoever makes those Friends animations for LEGO has to make up their own characters (Tanya, Lacy, [[Mr. Mayor ]], Jacob) ect. as LEGO doesn't make enough characters in the sets. If adults can't come up with stories using the existing characters why should kids be made do it? Heck at least put them in sets down the line as your repeatedly using these made up characters. The only character who appeared in the show first that we have is Ben, who had like a line in Dolphin Cruise.

There's also no consistency in themes. 41075 The Elves' Treetop Hideaway features 3 mini-dolls and the more expensive 41176 The Secret Marketplace features two. You could say "Oh it features animals instead" but then why would something like the Amusment Park Roller Coaster only feature four figures while Summer Riding Camp features four figures, three horses and a hedgehog? :/

Lack of constituency[edit]

While I'm going on mini-dolls, whoever is control of the media at the Friends/Elves section needs some help for example Ragana's LEGO.com description forgot all about Dusti.
Anyway back to constituency mini-dolls:

  • Anna, Charlotte, Maggie and Susan all have more "curves" in both ways then other female adults such as Theresa, Sophie, Marie, Naya. What makes things weirder is Marie, Sophie and Theresa all had the same torso (in a different colour in Marie's case) so why not use that? Someone pointed out in the comments that not all women are curvy, but I don't think LEGO's trying to make a political statement here rather than the fact curvier torsos are more expensive.
  • Daniel has a small nose compared to the other adult male mini-dolls which have bigger noses. I don't mind the fact he's not as bulky as Peter and Luis as he's a pilot why would he have to be bulky?
  • Naya has been shown to be both an adult and a teenager in sets. Why can't they just use Danielle?
  • In the LEGO Friends character enclyopedia, they we're confused on what face Naya had. It's not like she got a new face either, she got Olivia's instead of Mia's. :/
  • Teenage Elves male mini-dolls have bigger noses than the boys of the same age from Friends.

Doubling up[edit]

"Let's only be in sets together now?"

Here's a trend that needs to stop, or at least be limited. Elves is obsessed with the fact that two main characters can be seen in a set together. This is fine in Ninjago as its usually with others, but in Elves they're usually alone. Like I said before I'm not saying we need to have an exclusive character in each set, even six new pieces that they could rotate around to create new characters. They already have a great generic face print with Sira.

Also I don't get why they repeat pairs. I don't think it's fair on children (forgot me, I collect all the sets. Children don't have the money to) if they get two large Elves sets (41175 Fire Dragon's Lava Cave and 41179 Queen Dragon's Rescue) they get two Emily's and two Azari's. Surly Farran could've been used instead of Azari or Emily in one of those sets? That's €125 where I live and it just seems mean on LEGO's part.

Friends is beginning to do this now to, I don't mind them doing it in sub themes so we can get all five Friends. But why must they do it normally? :S 41126 Heartlake Horse Riding Club could've easily had two new characters and a Friend, but instead we only get Stephanie and Mia. Same goes for 41124 Heartlake Puppy Daycare which features Andrea and Mia instead of a new employee or customer character.

Look in theory it's a great idea you don't need to collect all the sets to get all the characters, but then where's the reward figure wise for people who do collect all the sets? It's even difficult to customize and create your own characters with the lack of options.

Where's the diversity?[edit]

41193 Jasmine's Exotic Tanning Bed Adventure?

Mini-dolls have only been made into two skin colours (Light Nougat and Medium Nougat) despite LEGO's colour palette having an additional two (Nougat and Reddish Brown). 2015 was the obvious year to introduce these with the introduction of Elves and Jasmine, but nope Jasmine sported an impressive tan in the sets and Elves had four white people and a light brown girl again. :/ I'm not even sure if they're handling diversity with two skin tones well as is I mean out of the ten Friends "extra" characters we had this year only Matthew wasn't white and last year, only Matthew, Susan and Kate weren't white. :/ There's been no additional prints to the darker toned faces no glasses, no freckles, no nothing.

Where's the male friend? Here's a question I want a serious answer to, why don't we have a male main character in Friends? I mean Nexo Knights has Macy, Legends of Chima had Eris, BIONICLE had Gali, heck even Elves has Farran! Ninjago has shown with Nya and Lloyd main characters can be added later on so why can't Friends get a boy? I'd imagine it would only make the theme less embarrassing for young boys to buy. Is it too much to ask for a boy to be added to the line up to add diversity, teach girls you can be besties with a boy and save young boys for embarrassment? Or at least lower it? I know adding a male character won't solve everything but I imagine it will at least help some feel more comfortable.

Oh we really need children! All the Friends besides Stephanie have been shown to have younger siblings so why can't we get them? It's been five years and rather than doing weird new dress moulds why not make shorter legs? I'd imagine little girls would love this as they could then create their families. Also I think the current minifigure baby mould would work fine in a mini doll set, just in a skin tone and with a new head mould.

Face wise I brought up the lack of eye colours and glasses earlier, but also it be nice to see braces.

Hair wise we really need shorter haired girls, surly Laurie could've used Ms. Stevens' hair? Also more hair colours would be appreciated, warm gold is the closest to mine. ;) Though in all seriousness there's a lot of colours LEGO has in its palette that must become mini doll hair colours (Medium Nougat and Dark Orange most notably).

I've heard a few people talk about adding different body types to mini-dolls but I'm not sure how that would work.

Books and exclusive stuff[edit]

Here's another thing I really don't get. The Friends books don't get exclusive characters while minifigures ones do. Olivia in a lab coat, Mia in a new bikini, heck someone wearing an "I love books" torso would be better than nothing. Why does the Nexo Knights and Ninjago Character Enclyopedias deserve exclusive figures and Friends doesn't? They're all "Big Bang" themes! I mean Merlock is an exclusive character in a Nexo Knights book would it really be that awkward to make a teacher/someone from the video game or show the exclusive character in the book?

Conclusion[edit]

So I hope this didn't come across really bitter as I do really love the Friends and Elves themes and it just seems a shame at how they're how dealing the mini-dolls for them compared to minifigure themes like: Ninjago, Nexo Knights and Legends of Chima. Obviously making exclusive characters and torsos is pointless and won't solve anything. What I would like to see would be an increase in characters when needed, more new characters with different looks (skin, eye colour, glasses, freckles ect.), exclusive mini dolls when we get exclusive mini figures and less doubling up outside Juniors.

2017 update[edit]

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DC Super Hero Girls[edit]

When we heard these would probably have mini dolls I was upset as I felt that all these years of collecting minidolls would be met with nothing. On the plus side I guessed we would get much more characters, but honestly I probably would've been less enthusiastic about buying the sets. Anyway the minifigure rumor turned out to be wrong and we got mini dolls anyway. I was shocked to see the quality of them! Literally every character is exclusive to their set. Every figure has brand new arm, face, leg and torso printing. We now have angry faces! More smirks too! Oh and masks! Every character besides Steve and Lena have new hair moulds and even they get new colours for existing moulds. Anna's bob like hair is back, in flame yellowish orange! A new mini doll hair colour! Harley is also the first female to get a tan hairpiece too.

Despite all this initial excitement you have to ask yourself why? Why now? Why does Supergirl need a new face over Belle? Surly Stephanie's face would fit her fine, better than Elsa or Merida anyway.

I'd argue numbers are still a problem too. Since the theme has superheroes in it, all the sets have villains in them. So instead of making them mini dolls (for the most part) we have this brick built things called kryptomites. The little creatures don't look particularly threatning, mini-dolls dwarf them for peat's sake! Are we really supposed to believe they're supposed to fear them? :S Elves' goblin solution is much better and despite being smaller, they at least look very impressive when you collect a few. For the kryptomites to be the least bit intimidating you need them all. :/ Strangely enough, the first season of the show didn't have any villains. So we didn't even need the kryptomites in the first place, but in fairness to the designers it was a nice effort.
41233 Lashina Tank and 41232 Super Hero High are the two sets with mini doll villains. 41233 is the only set with an animal, Krypto and he looks splendid. I wonder will we see the combination of a villain and a super pet more if this set sells well?
41232 Super Hero High definitely suffers the most from lack of other characters. There's no male student, no teachers or any facility. We get stickers of Waller and Quilt, but they hardly count. Personally I was hoping we'd get a female student, villain, a male student and Grodd (reusing his big fig mould, but in a teachery redesign). I think giving us two female students was a mistake, I was hoping they'd leave Ivy here and put Supergirl with Batgirl in the jet. Heck, why not put Supergirl in both and save Ivy for the summer wave?

Disney[edit]

I have no idea why they got rid of the Princess title, sure all the sets now aren't Disney Princess, but they're offshoots at least. Palace Pets, Frozen and Moana wouldn't exist without the Disney Princess brand. If anything I think removing the Princess is a bad thing, we'll probably never get Pocahontas or Tiana now. Hopefully we can get Mulan to coincide with the live action 2018 movie, but otherwise she's unlikely too.
It will be curious to see if we'll ever get a non Princess themed set here. Alice and Tinkerbell would be popular amongst girls and Alice's set could have various pastel colours and wacky builds.


Elves[edit]

There's two new mini-doll characters in Elves (Sophie Jones and the Goblin King), both have four new pieces. All of the Elves get new outfits as well and this time they only appear in a single set each.


Comments (9)
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Jack PhoenixBricktastic

9 months ago
Score 2++

Yeah, the Amusement Park doesn't seem very amusing. :-/ Given that the Friends theme takes place in Heartlake City, you'd think it'd make sense to have lots of different kinds of people working in different positions in there. Now it seems more like a Heartlake Town or Heartlake Village. Not that there's anything wrong with towns and villages in general, but...
You mentioned that the characters in 41124 Heartlake Puppy Daycare don't have employee outfits. While it would've no doubt be great to see different torsos, I don't think that an employee outfit would make a lot of sense for that set. Often pet shops and such are quite "informal" as opposed to supermarkets and the like, so chances are that employees are wearing something more casual.
> Look I know it's completely ridiculous to expect each character in Friends to have a new face [...]
Why do you think so? This isn't 1986, when you could have any face you wanted, as long as it was the yellow smiling face.
You make a good point about the (male) Friends' characters hairpieces, too. Seems to me that someone got a bit lazy when designing the characters and forgot or "forgot" that real humans are different and while some hairstyles are more common than others, you're just not going to easily find two people with identical hair. Unless you're in Heartlake City, of course, it seems...
> why can't Friends get a boy? I'd imagine it would only make the theme less embarrassing for young boys to buy. Is it too much to ask for a boy to be added to the line up to add diversity, teach girls you can be besties with a boy and ssave young boys for embarrassment?
In principle I agree with you. But regarding the embarrassment part, that would be more like treating the symptoms rather than the underlying problem, but then again these issues are somewhat interconnected, too. The questions we should be asking should be something like "why is something considered embarrassing when done by one gender but not the other? Who considers it? What is their motivation?"...needless to say, even though the LEGO Group is an influential toymaker, even they cannot change society overnight. That being said, progress is still progress and I'm all for it. People should be able to enjoy the kind of LEGOs they want and it's nobody's business to comment on that. You can like BIONICLE, City, Scala and Galidor at the same time! Sadly this is still a concept too complicated for some people to grasp.
Exclusive figures are problematic due to their exclusiveness, obviously. Given that we've had collectable minifigures for six years now, wouldn't it make sense to have collectable mini-dolls, too? It could be a nice way to add some more diversity to the mini-doll world in general (although obviously it wouldn't solve the "two or more of the same character" problem!).

All in all, great blog, thank you for taking the time to write all this up and let's hope that this gets passed on to the LEGO Group for consideration!
avatar

Soupperson1Legendary Brickipedian

9 months ago
Score 1++

Thanks! :D

Well my dog daycare has an employee outfit of a black shirt, and http://en.br...:41124-A.jpg is hardly a suitable outfit for taking care of dogs anyway? :P

I don't know if I was a boy it would be easier to say "I like Friends because of Matthew" I don't think girls are as embarrassed as boys but you know I wear pink and skirts so I don't really know what it's like to be considered manly :P

A collectible mini doll series would be amazing, but I don't think the markets big enough. All people buy CMF's as LEGO is an iconic thing so you don't have to be a big fan to display your "Banana Suit Guy" or "Fortune Teller" (though I doubt anyone displayed Dino Tracker, most lazy CMF ever?! :O)
avatar

BerrybrickLegendary Brickipedian

9 months ago
Score 0++

I agree with the sentiment.

I don't particularly like mini-dolls, but I'm thinking that a lot of this comes down to mini-dolls being more expensive to produce than minifigures (and possibly more difficult, depending on quality control). Their arms seem really delicate, the printing on their faces would quickly become absolutely terrifying if it wasn't just right, and then there are other things of course. Minifigures would be easier to print on (being flat surfaces) and they have had almost 50 years to develop them at this point. When they were first introduced, how many types were there except for police men, citizens, spacemen, and knights? A mini-doll costs almost $10 on Bricks and Pieces, which, things are inflated there a bit, but it's still way more than the average minifigure.

Another thing is that it might not be as easy as using Ms. Stevens' face when that set was retired so many years ago. If a piece is out of production, it's easier to just use a part which isn't.

And then you have to consider that minifigures are a pop culture icon, so there is a bit of novelty to seeing one as a circus clown or fortune teller and that those variants might not even exist if it weren't for the CMF line. That said though, yeah, it would be cool if Friends sets could get a wider variety: even if I "justify" something here, I still agree with the sentiment behind it and understand the upset.

Which, if we are going to go into what theme deserves what, I wouldn't say that Friends "deserves" exclusive figures. I think that (sort of weirdly when you consider stereotypes) Ninjago might be going for the "a new hat!" thing with Friends and Elves being more character based. You aren't necessarily meant to collect them all, but I guess it is still unfortunate that there isn't something for collectors. Maybe? I don't know. I am a bit confused when you say "I take no pride in having an exclusive or 'rare' mini-dolls such as Katharina or Magician Mia, I don't see why girls younger than me shouldn't have the opportunity to get it too," and then "Look in theory it's a great idea you don't need to collect all the sets to get all the characters, but then where's the reward for people who do collect all the sets?" My opinion is "all the sets" is your reward, but that doesn't seem to be popular in the LEGO community. :P Also, I don't think Nexo Knights is that much better than the mini-doll themes. Figure distribution is a little better, but still bad for minifigure standards.

Maybe some of the older women using different torsos is a lack of consistency, but not all grown women are curvy. I can't say that bothers me. The male head thing is weird though; Farran's head looks too big for his body, even compared to other mini-dolls.

Honestly, I wouldn't really want a token boy. Double-standard on my part, maybe? I don't like the smurfette principle being applied in BIONICLE, Ninjago, and such. I like at least two, but I'll take what I can get. The smurfette principle is safe. The thing about it is that a girl being one of the boys is okay, but a boy being one of the girls is still a bit more questionable. Buddy will still be on the box with four or five girls, and with the purple and pink everywhere, you wonder why he is a part of this girl club (not just someone off to the side or one of the girl's boyfriends that will certainly appear, but a part of it). Which, I know, the "boy" themes get away with it, but I think that the perception might be that whereas Macy has succeeded at breaking into a boys' club, Buddy has failed to relate to his own sex which is a point of fear for some (if not most) men. If a boy would buy a Friends set, I don't think that seeing another guy on the banner is going to make or break his decision. Maybe if there is one included in the set it would, but I don't know.

I hope I'm not coming off as sexist: I know this is wrong and it's not what I personally believe things should be. It's fine if boys do like Friends. There is a lot to like. But I don't think that applying the smurfette principle is a real fix or even "a start" for making things inclusive. And maybe LEGO is being a bit progressive by having Farran in Elves. Which I think that he is helped by the fantasy setting, limited cast, and just the way the theme was introduced: in the first year, we didn't really know that there were more elementally powered Elves than these four and Emily's great-aunts, so having that in common with the others helped. You could see why he hung around with Azari, Naida, and Aira. And, unlike Friends which even if it isn't all doing nails and fashion and baking cupcakes, that's kind of what it looks like. Elves looks like a magic adventure.

And then there are weird choices. Jasmine's skin tone is one, at least assuming that they would release Tiana one day. And the doubling up is annoying. I definitely agree that there should be more faces with freckles and glasses. And after watching Beauty and the Beast, it does bother me that Belle hasn't got the right eye color.

Which, go ahead and rant. There might be reasons for a lot of this, but that doesn't make the lack of variety secretly fun, so don't think I'm trying to discourage you.
avatar

Soupperson1Legendary Brickipedian

9 months ago
Score 1++

Well even if mini-dolls are more expensive, they seem to not care at all about arm printing (Emma's getting new green ones in her winter set, the olive ones are still exclusive to Julian's torso while Daniel got exclusive lemon ones). Also keep in mind they're only printed from the front, while minifigures are printed on both sides on everything but the legs at this point. But back when there was only knights and such LEGO had less of a budget and weren't the leading toy manufacturer in the world. :P

Like I said in the blog they brought police torsos back in 70591 KryptariumPrison Breakout so I can't see why Ms. Stevens face can be kept in production. Especially since I'd argue it could have easily been used each year.

But there isn't an amusement park theme for a clown to appear in outside the CMF. While there is space for it in a mini doll theme. It's not like I'm asking for a random police officer or firefighter. Besides as I said City got an exclusive Lego store employee, an exclusive coffe worker, pizza delivery guy all in the same set.  :P

Why can't Friends go for the "new hat" thing? They're teenager girls aren't they the ones into fashion? :P I should've made the exclusive thing more clear, I only want exclusives when minifigures get exclusives. I don't really see the point of Magician Mia remaining exclusive without any indication. Well in Jestro's lair there's at least two exclusive characters and seven minifigures plus a scurrier and the book of monsters for the same price as four mini dolls in the roller coaster set.

I kind of agree with you on the boy thing, it's unfortunate when there isn't two and I don't think a boy would break the boundaries of the girl club, but he would at least lower them in my book. At the very least the boy would be more prominent in the episodes and external media (you can't make a male mini doll your avatar on LEGO.com but you can make a female minifigure...) and have his own set. The cheapest set a boy has appeared in a retail set for Friends was $25 with Noah in the hot air ballon. It's not that hard for them to remove the girl only sets (beauty shop and the spa in the mall) are the only ones that come to mind.

I still think Tiana would work with Reddish Brown while Pochahontas would use the colour they gave Jasmine.

Thanks for the long reply! :P
avatar

BerrybrickLegendary Brickipedian

9 months ago
Score 1++

But in the end, minifigures are still cheaper to produce. I can guess why, but where mini-dolls are getting printing compared to minifigures really isn't that relevant. Especially when, again, minifigures have been around for 40 years and things like back printing didn't start to become normal until a few years ago.

Maybe you "can't see" why Ms. Stevens' face wasn't reused because you can't see all of the cards. Maybe it was a lack of foresight. And bringing it back would technically be a new print, but bringing that back instead of the creepy new Rapunzel face? Sure. I'd agree.

A lot of CMFs are rejected concepts from other themes though. Elf? Evil dwarf? Wizards and princesses that look a million times better than the recolors they usually put in Castle sets? And again, minifigures seem to be cheaper to produce, easier to print, and people will buy those sets for the minifigures because of their pop culture appeal. Friends doesn't attract as many collectors, and little girls can't be expected to collect them all. Maybe this is why we see Cinderella with three dresses. More people will buy it because it is Cinderella, but they don't care as much about Olivia getting a new outfit in every set. Again though, I'm just suggesting reasons why this might be a thing: I do agree that it is an issue.

Jestro's Castle is one set. Look at some of the others; you've got $50 sets with only three figures. Still better than Friends? Maybe. Still not good.

One way to tell a token from actual diversity is if the character is there just to be black or a boy or whatever or if he is actually contributing a perspective to the theme. And because the Friends aren't really full characters, no, I don't think that just throwing a boy on the box would really do that. I'm not sure that throwing two boys on the box would do that. I agree with Jack here, but also because of things I get into in the next paragraph: Friends is girly. Like it if you want, but anything internally associated with the theme will have some level of girlishness inherent or risk not fitting into the Friends design schema, and if that happens enough, you might as well create a new product line because it won't be appealing to the audience (including the boys that liked it) you originally started designing things for in that girlish way.

Sure, boys should be in cheaper sets and choices for avatars on LEGO.com, but that wasn't the argument I was addressing. Making Friends gender neutral just strikes me as really weird since it was designed to appeal to as many girls as possible. That's sort of like someone saying "I don't like pizza because of the tomato sauce." And then asking them "Would you like it better if we take off the pepperoni or added olives?" No, they just don't like pizza with tomato sauce. Why would they get rid of all the beauty parlors and salons so that maybe boys will buy stuff? They keep releasing them, so I assume they sell. A lot. If boys don't like that they are there, they don't have to buy them and nobody will judge them the more for it. It's not that those things exist, because you've also got a lot of gender neutral activities like soccer and science and karate, but they are dressed up in a way that screams "girls' club!" The architecture, animals, and cars aren't realistic or just cartoony like minifigures are. They are warped so that the world looks cute and girly. (I actually wrote a blog on this.) And if boys like that, sure, they can but getting rid of salons probably won't do anything to make it appeal to them if it didn't already because the entire theme has still got that flavor to it.

I only do long replies. :P
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Soupperson1Legendary Brickipedian

9 months ago
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But why would they make Ms. Stevens face then? And as I keep saying 70591 brought back two police prints I don't expect to see used again.

Well CMF look better because they cost $4, Nexo Knights has really nice looking figures for what it is. And yes the minifigure dispersal is bad, but it's still not as bad as Friends and every figure's parts don't come in like four other sets. :P

I'm not sure how many AFOLs are buying the Disney Princess sets just for the characters alone. Even then since most of them don't like minidols would they really want multiple of Cinderella's in variants of the same dress?

You have to remember Friends is made out of five token girls. :P They can give him a fleshed out personality if they choose to and either way I can't see him having less of a personality than Stephanie. I think Macy is the worst example of a smurfette so it can't be worse than her.
Well they don't have to make the theme gender neutral they just don't make anything 100% girl specific which isn't too hard. They don't have to stop using the colour pink as pink is rarley the main colour of a set and there's generally a lot of blues and whites too. As I said the only set I could see no boy wanting is the beauty shop and since that won second worst toy of the year I can't see them repeating it. Even if they did repeat the beauty shop, does the boy have to go to every set? Yes the theme looks and feels girly and cartoony but at least younger kids would like that. I do suspect adding a boy to the box will make it at lest 1% less of a girls club and more of a friends club. People like to see themselves including in things and prehaps if they market the boy right (putting him at the back of manuals of Nexo Knights and Ninjago ect.) little boys will at least look at the theme. If I saw something as a child that only had boys in it I probably wouldn't want to support it, but seeing characters like Wonder Woman made me feel happy. And surly little Berry would've liked to have seen a boy on the Friends boxes when he was buying his set with the giraffe. Heck even in play with the siblings I'd imagine the sister would want to use the main characters, so at least the brother could be a boy? :P

I write in medium replies :P

Oh and do you want to love rainbows or scarecrows ;)
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BerrybrickLegendary Brickipedian

9 months ago
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Maybe my point was lost, but since those police torsos were taken out of production, they would have to be put back into production, probably at the cost of a new print elsewhere (at least theoretically; they might not have needed new prints anywhere). The same would be true of Ms. Stevens' face, except for they didn't. They made her print in the first place because they had room in the budget and thought that would be a good use for it. And that was all. They didn't intend on using it again, just like Mia's tuxedo. I agree with you that it probably would have been a good idea to hold onto it. I think that they just aren't interested in diversity quite like you are, so keep fighting the good fight. ;P

What you are saying about CMFs probably applies to mini-dolls.

But if we can only get pointy princess hats because of the CMF line, then that is probably the same reason mini-dolls aren't getting the attention they ought to: budget.

Eh, the Nexo Knights figures being good looking is sort of subjective. I personally don't like them much. They are certainly detailed though. And I didn't say it was as bad as Friends, I just that it wasn't a great example of what they should strive for. :P Ninjago was though. :P

I'm not just talking about AFOLs, but doll collectors and Disney fans. And even then, there are some AFOLS who will. Even if it doesn't work, it makes a lot more sense to try it with Cinderella than Olivia. And if it didn't work? Why would they do it with Olivia?

They aren't token girls if the entire cast is girls. A token is someone that you throw in just for the sake of diversity. I think you are missing my entire point about the gendered marketing and I hope you don't mind that I don't explain it again. If you want me to, I'll try again. :P

Yes, he can be worse than Macy. Maybe not objectively, but there is a double standard.

I can't really say that your Wonder Woman argument has persuaded me. I mean, I am glad that they got you into these things so we can have this conversation right now, but I don't see a male character and see myself. I have to look at their actual character, any motifs they have, and then I might get it. And sometimes they are hardly like me at all. Sometimes they are just interesting. Sometimes they are not even white. Or male. But that's not tokenism. That's relating to actual characters based on actual development. Tokenism is "We're diverse, we've got a black guy. He's the black one."

You can't give a child a character and say "here, develop this" when they don't know how to do that. You have to give them role models first. I do think Friends tries to do that.

People don't like to see themselves in things they don't like. Ask some actors about it.

The "giraffes" fit into that girly aesthetic. Would a little boy care? Maybe not. But it's about bullying, parenting, and socialization too. The picture is a lot bigger than a boy in the corner of a box.

I already agreed with you that boys should be more readily available in the sets. Mini-dolls should be more diverse (you've actually reminded me that City had a lot of similar problems a few years ago). But I don't think you realize that everything about these themes is designed to appeal to girls. It bleeds girlishness. Pink or not, very few people would mistake it. Putting a boy on the box isn't going to change that because our culture tells boys (and a lot of time now, girls) that that very aesthetic and content is unsuitable and inferior. That's why Macy breaking into the Nexo Knights is seen as acceptable, because it makes her a role model, but if Buddy only hangs out with girls in a world that is totally warped to appeal to their sensibilities, then he has failed to be masculine. I don't know about Ireland, but in the US you need to be capable of some level of masculinity to make it in the real world. Or at least that's what we think. If the perception of Buddy is feminine (which it will be because of the inextricable design philosophy), then he either becomes a point of controversy, or he isn't a role model period. Is that right? No. But how do you fix that? It's not just about what one toy company puts on their boxes.

There is the explanation I said I wouldn't do. :P

I have to choose? :c
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Soupperson1Legendary Brickipedian

9 months ago
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I still don't get the argument. What makes Andrea exist outside she's the black one who likes music, or Olivia the brunette who likes science? Why can't the boy be a boy who likes nature or something? While you see a character as a character, as you said Friends doesn't have much character. So your almost always judging a character on how they look and what they do in the sets. How many times do little girls choose Peach in smash brothers or in Mario 3D world it isn't because she's a greatly developed character. :P Even if they give the boy Nya's or Macy's awful "Boys have more fun" attitude and flip the gender I could see it being better than nothing.
I do understand this theme breath girliness, but Nexo Knights and Ninjago are clearly aimed at boys. I don't think there's as many feminine boys as there are masculine girls, but it's still feels like their shooting feminine girls in the foot here. And stuff like the jungle, amusement park seem more gender neutral to me just with girly colours. I don't see how the Elves spa secret or Skyra's castle are in any way more manly than the amusement park arcade set or jungle falls. Yes they're less realistic and feature girly colours, but especially younger children wouldn't care about that. Even the sets like the party ones and Olivia's expedition car aren't girly at all besides their colours.
I just think the fact they have five female characters and no main male characters is sexist at least eyes. I don't think it would happen in a current boys theme, Nya is proof of that being thrown into the main cast with little explanation. Your probably more progressive than most people, but keep in mind especially children aren't half as progressive as you. :P
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BerrybrickLegendary Brickipedian

9 months ago
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They might be one-dimensional characters, but that doesn't make them tokens. Tokens are characters who exist just for the sake of diversity. A lot of people would class Andrea as a token, even if she were the most developed and interesting and popular of the Friends, so it can be bit confusing why it seems like a bad thing (and it isn't always a bad thing). You might want to read this and watch this (it's Nostalgia Chick :P ).

Maybe I could have worded that point about role models better. Yes you can just give a child a character designed to appeal to them, but that's manipulative and ethically sketchy. Role modeling is how you get around that, but issues still arise when people begin to wonder if kids are looking at the insert characters and mistaking them for good real role models.

It doesn't matter what attitude or personality they give him if you can't get passed the shell. If it is something designed to appeal to boys, that would be a really questionable business move. If it is more gender neutral like Olivia, then it will still be dressed up in a way that is inextricably girly and won't draw in a wider audience because boys already like these things. Maybe they could increase profits by putting more boys in smaller sets (which I have already agreed they should do) but adding one to the cast won't do anything to help, and might even do harm. Maybe not for business, but to boys? Yeah. I am getting tired of stressing this point. Some of the things that the characters do might be gender neutral, but that does not mean that the content itself is.

Better than nothing isn't how I am looking at it. I am looking at what that something would do, and I don't see it bringing about much good at all. Just provoking bullies. Not making the world a better place.

Yes, Ninjago and Nexo Knights are clearly aimed at boys. I know. But it is considered a good thing for a girl to "break the glass ceiling" and find a spot in a man's world. It is considered a failure of a boy does the same thing. Objectively, they might be equal, but socially they are not.

There are people who think that girly toys should be eliminated because it is insufficient for anyone to have role models like that. But whereas it is a point of controversy for some people over girls, it's social taboo for boys. And maybe (as I said >_> ) the boys don't care, but it is about those around them. Don't read too much into it, but I do have points of experience with this.

But Friends can't be gender neutral. Even if those things have more mass appeal than Olivia's House or whatever, they still have girly aspects. They were designed to appeal to girly sensibilities. To catch that part of the market that LEGO was missing. If it starts appealing to boys (and not boys with girly sensibilities; half the time you seem to be suggesting being inclusive of them, and the other half making these things full blown gender-neutral) then that means that they are allocating resources that they could be using to attract their real audience. Which, I don't like that marketing strategy, they probably would be better off making something truly gender neutral and not "well boys would maybe buy it too."

I don't think it is sexist. Is there an issue? Yes. But it's not that boys aren't being put on the Friends banner. That isn't oppression. LEGO isn't telling them "You can't have this." Just "We didn't design this with you in mind." Which is fine. What would be sexist is boys who do want the sets getting bullied for it. A male character isn't going to stop that. If he manages to attract more boys, he risks exacerbating the problem.

Keep in mind that I am not talking so much about what first grade boys care about. I am talking about what their parents and grandparents and cousins and uncles and big brothers and teachers and babysitters and friends and bullies think. Peer pressure. It won't always be nice.

(I don't know if I am progressive. :P When I listen to right-wingers, I feel left. When I listen to left-wingers, I feel right.)