Peggy Orenstein thinks LEGO Friends sets have "not much building" while truly knowledgeable LEGO parents know they offer the exact same building experience as *any* other LEGO set. Heck, even the flagship set of the Friends theme - Olivia's House - has over 700 bricks which come loose in the box!
Yes, a girl has to build it.
Even the mini-dolls must be constructed by assembling 4 parts!
Peggy has been spewing conjecture since news of the new theme, which was created to bring more girls into LEGO building, was announced last year. Yet, she leaves interacting with her own daughter during LEGO time to her husband. How is that setting an example to a girl, when a Mom (female) doesn't even engage in constructive play? No wonder more girls weren't building with LEGO before!
Let's address other statements she made in her interview:
If a study she cited is correct that "girls without older brothers have less spatial skills" -- then LEGO Friends has the capacity to narrow that developmental gap. With Friends being a gateway into construction toys for those girls who choose it -- their building experience can continue by integrating into other LEGO themes. (LEGO Friends sets consist of the exact same interlocking bricks as any other set.)
As for the nostalgic charm of the 1981 ad showing a pigtailed girl building with basic bricks -- it is a keepsake no doubt, yet yields to progression.
What is obviously lost on these types of people is the damage they do to the psyche of so many young girls. Many young girls who do identify with LEGO Friends don't need Peggy telling them their choices are ill-fitted of a girl today. Millions of girls who are proud of themselves to finally be building with LEGO bricks and gaining STEM skills -- because of LEGO Friends -- need our encouragement. They certainly don't need mis-informed talking-heads purporting false data.
Let's just hope no girl goes without an opportunity to build with LEGO Friends because a parent or grandparent believed what Peggy said. If a girl asks for LEGO Friends because she already wanted a toy she could identify with during imaginative play, the dogma of these self-serving writers should not dissuade her chances.
Note: Referencing the NYT OP-ED: Bionicle was replaced by HERO Factory, not any princess theme. Yet, another erroneous statement by Peggy.
Apparently, creating controversy by issuing false, inflammatory statements about LEGO products and other companies who try to include female equity is considered "job security" by her ilk by selling books and merchandise.
Ironically hypocritical is that Peggy writes about loathing the color pink, even though she uses that color on her own media. She criticizes The LEGO Group for providing a gateway line into construction toys for girls who otherwise would not be interested. Peggy calls this gender stereotyping -- all the while she spends her time promoting many "girl-only" organizations and causes.