Some weeks ago, a letter by a 7-yo girl adressed to the LEGO company went viral, where she claimed that LEGO toys are sexist.
This is how the letter looked:
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this: “If my 7-yo daughter had a handwriting like this, I really should have a clarifying conversation with her teacher!” Of course, you don´t have to be a calligraph at that age, but come on: she isn´t even able to write on the lines!
Which is a proof for me that the letter isn´t written by a girl, but by somebody else you pretends to be that girl. I think it´s a fake, but anyway, that´s not the point.
It made me think: Is LEGO really a sexist toy?
I´ve heard the argument: “Years ago, LEGO was unisex, it was simple coloured bricks. But nowadays, it pushes kids in gender specific roles: There are pink bricks for the girls and Technic sets for the boys.”
I say: that argument is invalid. If LEGO is a sexist toy because they produce pink bricks and sets “primarily adressed to girls”, every clothes manufacturer selling skirts and blouses would be sexist.
As an adult fan of LEGO, i have to say that some of these sets “primarily adressed to girls” are pretty awesome, like the LEGO 41015 Yacht or the LEGO 3315 House. I don´t like the style of the included minifigs, the original ones are simply cooler, but the sets in total are pretty cool with some really special parts.
Note: I am an adult male. The simple fact that i comment something with “I don´t think that´s sexist” makes me a sexist in some people´s eyes. I know that but i really don´t care.
So, the fact that LEGO produces pink bricks doesn´t make it sexist. Point.
The little faked 7-yo girl writes in her letter that there are “… barely any LEGO girls” in the sets, and if they are, they only sit at home while the male minifigs do awesome adventures.
I never had thoughts like this when I was looking at the LEGO sections in a toy store.
I had a look at my minifig collection, and indeed: There are more male minifigs than female ones. Oh my god, does this make my collection sexist? To be honest, I don´t think so.
I think I have some very interesting female characters in my minifig collection, and I want to share them here with you.
When the first minifigs where published in the 80ies, they all had the same head, the uni-face consisting of to points as eyes and a smiling mouth. You could distinguish male and female only by their hair, and as soon as a minifig wear a hat it became automatically a male. The 80ies were a pretty sexist time, we all know that.
In the late 80ies already, LEGO solved this problem by introducing different types of faces on the minifigs. With e.g. red lips visible hair female characters where easier to recognize.
I discovered another proof for sexism here: The witch, shown in the picture above on the lower left side, is truly bad and ugly. The male pendant is the blue magician, a really honest and good guy. [/irony]
There are female minifigs from all social classes.
And there are some minifigs that pretend different beauty ideals.
And yeah, the minifig girl from the coffee shop is truly sexist, it shows a woman in a stereotyped role, doing a low qualified job “while the male minifigs have all the fun and live adventures!”.
By the way, the coffeeshop-body comes originally as a male character. It´s Larry, the coffee guy, from “The Lego Movie”-series. I just put another head on it.
And this simple fact is the true proof that LEGO isn´t sexist at all. The minifigs are composite of single parts, which means you can combine every head with every hair and every body.
Women can be everything in the LEGO world, all the same things like their male pendants. There is no difference.
They can be soldiers, native hunters, astronauts or detectives.
They can be Diana Jones, guards, Taco girls or race crew members.
Or they can be ambulance drivers, archers, firefighters or bike cops.
There are almost endless much more possibilities, what girls and women can be in the LEGO world.
LEGO isn´t sexist, but lots of parents are.