Lego can’t understand how it got here, smack in the middle of a gender toy war, but they’ve raised a white flag by releasing several new lady scientist figures. Are you not entertained?
The Research Institute kit, featuring three new female scientists, hit shelves last week. Its release was hastened by a seven-year-old hero named Charlotte Benjamin who, in a strongly worded letter written earlier this year, called bullshit on Lego’s piles of boy-skewed action figures and their measly offering of girl-skewed toys like Lego Friends, which are primarily designed to brush their hair or lay by a pool.
7yo Charlotte writes an adorable and strongly worded letter to LEGO regarding the lack of adventures for girls. pic.twitter.com/JblNKzCwJs
— SocImages (@SocImages) January 28, 2014
The Research Institute series boasts a paleontologist, an astronomer and a chemist, with all of the appropriate accoutrements — from magnifying glasses to beakers and a telescope. The trio follow the first female scientist toy modeled after Professor C. Bodin, a Nobrick Prize winner, which debuted in September.
According to the BBC, Lego says the new scientist products weren’t crafted to quiet their nah-sayers, they are simply the result of their Lego Ideas program, an open call of sorts when the company accepts ideas from non-employees. Geoscientist Ellen Kooijman, who designed and submitted the lab ladies idea, is very excited about their debut, though she wasn’t so into their makeup and probably not their cinched waists but the Lego company was. C'est la vie.
For a company that’s been around so long, four female scientists doesn’t seem like much, but every company behind the eight ball has to start somewhere. Oddly enough, in the 1970s and 1980s Legos were marketed and designed to be gender neutral and focus specifically on encouraging kids to build, period.
"It was pure construction toys, so very inclusive," says Francis. "But over the years, as they began to produce tie-ins with movies, they became much more marketed at boys and off-putting to girls." It was in that context that Lego Friends was launched - and the toy has diverged ever more, feminists argue.
Now, Lego is trying to work their way back toward including male and female toys doing smart things, which is a plus for all sides in the on-going gender battle.
Image via Lego.