It is also dedicated to Rita Marsh and Esther Riley, both avid consumers of popular culture.
Article Building the Dream: If you have children of your own — or nieces, nephews, or young cousins — or if you care for kids these days in some other capacity, you will probably at some point catch sight of Lego Friends: Friends sets can be purchased at toy stores as well as Target and Walmart super stores, and they can occasionally be spotted in the limited toy section at Walgreens pharmacies.
You might be tempted to dismiss these things as girly schlock — derivative of Barbie, Polly Pocket, Playmobil, or any number of other toys.
But Lego Friends are gathering momentum, and they deserve a closer look. The Lego Friends line was originally launched in Six years later, the company has produced unique sets and has maintained and spread the original five friends across multiple platforms, from a television series, to books, to Friends themed video games.
This age discrepancy, of course, is not entirely unusual: Lego City sets, for instance, may be primarily consumed by boys, yet their minifigures take part in adult activities such as excavating, policing, thieving, or working at airports.
But of note around the Friends line is the way that the girls map perfectly onto a specific generational trajectory: Millennials and the Making of Human Capitalhas identified as the distinctively millennial condition.
And yet as Lisa Elliott put it in an article for Bloomberg: What do the actual building sets entail? Many of the kits represent several things: These sets are not simplistic; they are brimming with material details and nuances, as we will elaborate on below.
Lego reported that sets requiring more intensive labour and attention to details, such as the Lego Friends, sold better when compared to sets with large, intact pieces. But what arguably loom larger than the playsets themselves are the characters that give them life.
The five Friends — Stephanie, Emma, Mia, Andrea, and Olivia — each possess a unique set of personality traits and align with the quality central to their identity. For example, Stephanie is the athletic overachiever; Emma is the optimistic artist; Mia is the no-nonsense nature lover; Andrea is the extroverted musician; and Olivia is the self-sufficient inventor.
The Friends characters themselves are carefully constructed to present a diverse group of human beings. While never delineated or specified in terms of race or ethnicity, their spectrum of skin tones clearly signals diversity — even if this strategy reduces diversity to superficial character types, it produces a framework of identity for kids to see themselves in, and which to grow into as they get older.
In other words, kids may not only identify with these characters, but eventually they may begin to emulate them. The ages of the Friends characters line up with those of middle and young high schoolers, but the audience of LEGO Friends stretches much younger than that, as far as to four-year-olds.
This suggests how the tastes of children can be imprinted quite quickly and complexly onto multifaceted characters — and the media ecosystem around the Friends line reinforces and enables this intricate imprinting.
In sum this geography conveys the feeling that Heartlake City is almost the apotheosis or wish-image of any type of city.
As indicated above, we also consider this line of toys as part of the constellation of cultural products that reflect and reinforce the millennial generation and the ways in which this generation become adults.
The Lego Friends sets consist of instruction packets with simple, easy to follow instructions, ensuring that the child building the set will be able to create exactly what is advertised on the box in mise en scene.
The work of assembling the sets can be experienced as tedious, and yet as one of us commented upon completing a set, the work pays off: Two of us noted the urge to immediately obtain another set, and start the process again. As we built and discussed the following five sets, we reflected on an aphorism by Friedrich Nietzsche: A Guardian article about Lego described the company this way: It just happens to be in the business of fun.
We consider each set on its own terms, cumulatively working toward an understanding of the Friends line as a complex reflection of millennial experiences and contradictions.
The set includes sports equipment ambiguously a hockey stick or a golf club, and a putting green, as well as a water bottle. There is also a shrine on her dresser with a trophy, a pennant, MVP sticker, and foam finger for waving at sporting events.
Her dog, Dash, also resides in the room — with a bone in a dish and a little doghouse. On the top of the set box, Stephanie is depicted doing push-ups next to her water bottle and trophy, as Dash looks on.
It is clear by her decorations and memorabilia that she is meant to be the embodiment of Type A personality, whose perfectionism manifests itself through athletic achievement.
She possesses enough responsibility to be a star athlete and care for a pet, all while keeping an impeccably neat bedroom. The fruits of her sporting labors are in plain sight. It can even be argued that assembling the room itself is a victory to the kids who complete it.
The set features a rocket-shaped bed replete with fire burning enginesa desk complete with a wide-screen computer, speakers, a swivel chair, and two drawers, a breakfast area with a coffee bean grinder, a milk carton, and a mug no need for Starbucksand a functioning elevator and track system for her robot to easily access various electronic accouterments.
These items create a strange environment because they are either solely childlike or solely mature.Oct 30, · By Yona Zeldis McDonough. Overview. Barbie, the single most successful doll ever produced, was the invention of Ruth Handler, one of the founders of .
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