One of the greatest things about being a parent has been rediscovering my love of Lego. My husband would probably say I am obsessed. I love the stuff. I can spend hours and hours playing with it. My daughter knows that the best way to get my attention is to suggest we play Lego together.
We spend a lot of money on Lego. We eagerly await each new series of minifigures*. But with each series comes the inevitable questions from my 7 year old daughter: “Why are there so many boys?” “Girls can be [mechanics/painters/divers] too, can’t they?”. “Of course!” I tell her, my heart sinking as I see the same old gender stereotypes being reinforced.
I’m sure you will say that things are improving. Look, you’ll say, there were only 2 female minifigures in series 1 and there are 5 in series 11! And one of them is a scientist! And you are right of course. But there is always room for improvement.
So here is my idea.
Why not give the faces a male character on one side and a female character on the other? Instead of playing to the same old stereotypes, why not stand up for our children and let them decide what gender they want their minifigures to be?
Siouxsie (a female scientist!) Wiles
*When I was a child, there was only one type of face for a Lego minifigure – it had eyes and a mouth. That was it. But not anymore. Now the figures have freckles, make-up, sideburns. You name it. In 2010, Lego released their first minifigures series, a set of 16 minifigures sold individually in opaque bags and only available for a limited time. Oh, the excitement of opening the bag. Which minifigure would be inside?!