‘Research Institute’ adds three new female figurines to the LEGO community
Anyone who has children is aware of the gender stereotyped toys that are marketed towards kids. ‘Girl toys’ include dolls and kitchenette sets that usually come in pink, while ‘boy toys’ include action figures and play weapons. Popular toy store Toys-R-Us goes as far as to sell ‘girl toys’ in one half of the store with pink shelves, while ‘boy toys’ are sold on the other half that has blue shelves. For that franchise, gender neutral toys are located in the middle of the store, but despite the popularity by children of both sexes, Legos are sold in the blue section. This makes sense, as according to a SPARK analysis, only 16% of Lego characters are female. A new all female collection, however, might be the start of more equal percentages.
Geoscientist Ellen Kooijman has just created the Research Institute collection for LEGOs. The kit includes three female figurines, one a paleontologist, one an astronomer, and the last a chemist. Though LEGOs has released an exclusively female collection in the past, the 2011 LEGO Friends pack- the prior release was met with much criticism, as the the settings were things like a pink and purple bakery, a house, and a hair salon. In a blog post Kooijman said, ‘As a female scientist I had noticed two things about the available Lego sets: a skewed male/female minifigure ratio and a rather stereotypical representation of the available female figures.’ She went on to say it seemed logical to create a set of female characters with different professions to make the LEGO community more diverse.
It is clear that LEGOs has a long way to go in terms of making the LEGO world more gender proportionate to the real world, but the release of the Research Institute collection is a great step in the right direction. It shows that women are capable of having strong careers that are not domestic in nature, and is hopefully just the latest in what should be a long line of all-female character sets.