Oh, Stephanie. You’re so much fun! You have a cool car and an awesome dog that can wear bows in its fur. You have multiple pairs of sunglasses and a hair dryer! Those are all awesome accessories for your car-wash playset.
I can’t keep that up. I’ve been very vocal about my general disdain for the need to gender-fy LEGO building blocks. LEGO Friends, their “girl” line of pink-boxed playsets with kid-Bratz style mini-figs pushed many people over the edge – but the multitude of licensed boy-brand sets necessitated this new femme line. Boys like Ninjas and Star Wars. Girls like tiny pink things. Research completed. Game over.
My just-turned six year old daughter received Stephanie and her convertible/car wash playset as a birthday gift. She loves LEGOs. She loves building dinosaurs and Catwoman’s motorcycle and sea monsters. And, truth-be-told, she loved building Stephanie’s car. She was confused as to why Stephanie was so much bigger than her regular mini-figs (they can’t play together!). My assertion that she was an Amazon giant didn’t go over very well.
I think the reason she enjoyed Stephanie’s kit was that it was incredibly easy to put together. There were a number of one-use specialty bricks (the car hood, the fenders) that reduced the build steps. It took less than 30 minutes to build the entire set, and she did it all by herself (I watched). It wasn’t challenging; but she still had a solid sense of satisfaction when done. I think that’s one of the biggest benefits with LEGOs, the consistency of following steps and achieving a desired product from the effort put in. She’s not to the point where she likes to do a lot of free-building yet; but I hope that comes with increased proficiency and exposure to the bricks.
No, Stephanie and her Friends aren’t the worst thing to ever happen with toys and gender stereotyping. I just wish that a storied brand like LEGO wouldn’t stoop to this sort of pandering. It’s probably harmless; but maybe a little too simplistic.
Buy at Amazon: LEGO Friends Stephanie’s Cool Convertible 3183