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Is it bad that I think the ‪LEGO Elves are a lot cuter and more interesting as mini-dolls than they would ever have been as classic minifigs?

It seems like for a lot of people, the classic minifigure is sacred and untouchable. I disagree. It has some real, meaningful disadvantages. Mini-dolls aren't perfect either, but there's nothing wrong with sometimes or always preferring its advantages (more realistic faces and proportions, less blocky body shape, more detailed outfits) over those of the minifigure.


And it bugs me to no end to hear mini-dolls described as anorexic, because it makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. To have minifigure-like body proportions, an average 20– to 29-year-old man in the United States (69.5 inches tall) would need an eighty-inch waistline, and an average adult woman in that age range (64 inches tall) would need a 73-inch waistline. Either way, that's twice the size of a waistline that would put you at high risk for obesity-related diseases. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waist#Waist_measurement). By contrast, people those heights with mini-doll proportions would have healthy 34.5-inch (male) and 32-inch (female) waistlines.


Arguably if the minifigure and mini-doll didn't both have such exaggeratedly large heads (probably the most exaggerated feature of both figures), then both figures' waists would be even larger relative to their heights. And yet you don't see anybody complaining that minifigures and mini-dolls alike promote an unhealthy or unrealistic head size...


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I'm glad that the elves are the minidolls. I can't imagine anyone thinking they would look better as minifigs.



Another unrealistic standard of beauty

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Would a certain review by Mike Fahey on Kotaku have anything to do with this post?

In part, yes. The review at least managed to avoid calling the mini-dolls anorexic (at least, the text did; I didn't watch the video), but many of the commenters weren't above that kind of silliness.


I try to be fairly progressive when it comes to gender issues, but a lot of people seem less offended by the mini-doll because it's "for girls" than because (to them) it's "not real LEGO". And there's also a lot of willful ignorance being displayed by many LEGO Friends critics. I've seen comics that portray the LEGO Friends designers as out-of-touch old men, ignoring that many of the most influential designers for LEGO Friends and LEGO Elves are highly successful women. And I've seen posts that start with the assumption that LEGO is a stupid, thoughtless company that never even thought to ask girls what they wanted, when in fact the LEGO Friends development process began four years in advance of the theme's release with an in-depth anthropological study of 600 girls and their families (real observational research, not just surveys or focus testing).


People are more prepared to believe the ridiculous scenario that LEGO impulsively wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on an entirely new figure design based on nothing more than "conventional wisdom" than that LEGO designers actually did their research and had to FIGHT for these kinds of changes. A lot of the higher-ups at LEGO were naturally very worried about replacing the minifigure, which has long been one of the brand's most powerful symbols. But there was enough hard evidence supporting a new figure design to convince the company to take that risk.


All that effort has paid off enormously — LEGO Friends is now their third best-selling theme, after the unshakeable City and Star Wars. But far too many LEGO fans still insist, against all odds, that the theme would have been better with minifigures, as if they have some kind of secret market insight that no amount of research from LEGO could overrule.

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