I blogged last year about new LEGO sets due in 2012, a handful of which I knew nothing about but part of their name – “Princess”. I was not enthused. Given that much of their recent licencing came via Disney (for example Winnie The Pooh and Disney Pixar Cars), I suspected this was too.
More details have now been released, confirming my fear – here is a page from the 2012 catalogue (along with some enthusiastic commentary), but you can get a closer look at all four sets here. Cinderella’s Castle reminds me of the My Little Pony Dream Castle I had once upon a time, and I actually quite like the look of Snow White’s Cottage. The three different princess characters have a flouncy skirt that I’ve never seen in Duplo before. I can’t quite tell from the images how it works with the studs on the bricks and baseplates.
I’ve not said anything negative yet. The castle comes with a prince – thus the Disney Princess world has a gender balance the exact opposite of what I found in our LEGO minifigure collection.
Polly will not be getting these sets.
There’s something about Disney Princess as a whole that I find somewhat distasteful – it’s probably just that it’s so ubiquitous. I think the princess-as-aspiration-figure concept is harmful, and the stories are problematic. I’m not going to go into it here, but I do want Polly to know the stories – they are an important part of our culture and lore. Imagine not being able to answer a pub quiz question about Rapunzel! Horrifying thought.
I do feel disappointed that LEGO are releasing these, but as I’ve said before, if I liked 100% of the LEGO catalogue we’d be in trouble. My problem has never been with pink, or with princesses as such. My problem has always been about lack of choice – a colouring book being either Princess themed or Car themed, nothing just NORMAL KID STUFF themed. LEGO and Duplo at least continue to offer this choice. It’s just now a little larger.