LEGO Builds Representation With Female Scientist Set

Mike Hoffman

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Sep 25, 2013
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LEGO Builds Representation With Female Scientist Set

Most importantly, these are toys. They are directed at children and the sets include telescopes, labs, and large dinosaur skeletons. The figures offer multiple facial expressions, to help convey those stressful moments. Kooijman gives an example of a story children may create as her astronomer "spotted an asteroid plummeting towards Earth, the impact of which caused the T-rex to come alive."

Kooijman posted a number of images of the minifig set on her blog, which you can also check out in the gallery below.
[gallery=2846]

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Exterminas

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Sep 22, 2009
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This is not a step into the right direction.

Gendering Toys to appease "the gender people" is not the way to go. Here is a crazy idea: Produce Lego sets with roughly equal distribution of genders across professions. Stop making "Girl" and "Boy"-Sets. Then we might get rid of these silly gender stereotypes like "Women inheriently bad at math, because of brain stuff" or "Boys like engineering more than girls because of brain stuff!"

I understand the gesture, but it is executed poorly since the marketeeing folks behind it clearly don't understand the issue. The core problem is not that women are poorly represtented in children's toys (though that is a problem). The core problem is that markeeting folks pick and choose gender and profession combinations for Toys in order to meet certain boardroom-demands without realizing that Toys can have an enormous effect on a child's mind and the way it views the world as an aduld.

Right now I see a certain danger of society putting pressure on women that do decide to become a Vet, a Nurse or a Teacher, because more and more sources keep bombarding women and girls with messages like "It is unenlightened to not puruse a career in sciences/engineering/buisness". Of course I am not saying that people should stop encouraging women to do that, I just think switching from one extreme form of gendering to the reverse extreme form is a poor way to go about that.
 

weirdee

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Apr 11, 2011
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I disagree with the notion that creating one playset will lead to replacing every single playset with that one playset which leads to the other notion that they should never have made this playset.

If you have issues with how the world is portrayed to children, you should take that up with the parents that decide to give their children extremely skewed representation in either direction.

In addition, I also ask you to write a note of complaint about every single playset which has only men characters in it.
 

Mike Hoffman

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Sep 25, 2013
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Exterminas said:
This is not a step into the right direction.
*snip*
Except this decision, like all decisions, was not made in a vacuum. LEGO spent decades making all-male sets that featured figures in a variety of roles, and then an all-female set was made with the focus on gendered roles. Basically, LEGO had a problem, and releasing a couple all female sets before going into the "equal representation" area. Hell, right now it's not equal representation. Look at the LEGO line-up. If they want to get to "equal" then they have a lot of all-female sets to go.
 

UberPubert

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Mike Hoffman said:
You just proved Exterminas' point. Lego shouldn't be working to "right the past wrongs" of gendered playsets, they should just include male and female characters in future ones to create that ideal gender equality. This isn't a game to keep track of score or make tally marks for one side or the other until the scales are balanced, just start doing the right thing.

Mike Hoffman said:
was not made in a vacuum.
This phrase is so condescending, I'm sick of it. What you're trying to explain is not that "it didn't occur in a vacuum", you're explaining that there is a context. No one assumes a decision is made in a literal vacuum of space, especially not when they spend three paragraphs establishing their rationale based on that same context.
 

Falterfire

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Mike Hoffman said:
The figures look great, and only one wears a "scientist uniform" (in other words, a lab coat). "It was important for me to convey the message that most scientists wear casual clothing," Kooijman says on her blog, "only a few institutes have strict dress codes." This also promotes the idea that careers in science are open to anyone, not just the "nerdy scientist" stereotype.
Yeah, most scientists wear casual clothing, but this isn't real life - It's a Lego set. And given the number of minifigs Lego has, it would be nice to see that the ones in the Science set looked specifically 'sciencey' even if that was stereotypical. There are plenty of lines where I could get random casually dressed minifigs (both male and female). If you're going to design new minifigs for a focused product I personally would prefer ones who look dressed like they were made specifically for it.

That's really just a personal opinion from somebody who likes ridiculously over-the-top excessive outfits for Lego minifigs though.
 

FogHornG36

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Well this just isn't right! why do all of these females have to adhere to the patriarchal standards of beauty?! lipstick, beauty marks, and even their bodies are painted on to look like they have an hour glass figure!!

SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!!
 

Veylon

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FogHornG36 said:
Well this just isn't right! why do all of these females have to adhere to the patriarchal standards of beauty?! lipstick, beauty marks, and even their bodies are painted on to look like they have an hour glass figure!!
After a second glance....yeah, they do all have that hourglass figure going on. It looks really silly. It also unnecessarily gender-codes the torsos. You ought to be able to re-use the same "lab coat" torso if you wanted to have a male scientist.

Some heads can have lipstick; that's fine. There's plenty of real-life lipstick users. Just not all of them.

The only thing that really ought to be significantly different is the hair. And that's just to have more variety in general. The only thing that really makes a fig male or female is the imagination.
 

Lieju

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NuclearKangaroo said:
kind of redundant considering LEGO's girl oriented playsets
Which all have the minifigs that are almost completely incompatible with the standards figs.
Also they have no scientists. They are all princesses or kids with hobbies.
What was your point?

Veylon said:
FogHornG36 said:
Well this just isn't right! why do all of these females have to adhere to the patriarchal standards of beauty?! lipstick, beauty marks, and even their bodies are painted on to look like they have an hour glass figure!!
After a second glance....yeah, they do all have that hourglass figure going on. It looks really silly. It also unnecessarily gender-codes the torsos. You ought to be able to re-use the same "lab coat" torso if you wanted to have a male scientist.
Yes, I'm sure I saw a much better version of this set without that. Was it a prototype?

I hate that hourglass-figure thing just for purely aesthetic reasons.
 

faefrost

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Wow! The misinformation is strong with this article.

Friends were NOT the first sets Lego made for girls. in fact Lego has made a variety of girl targeted themes and projects over the years. Most have faired badly in the marketplace. Scala, Beville, Paradisa to name a few. Not to mention much of the first three waves (2 years) of their Harry Potter license.

In fact much of the older Lego products from the 70's was really as requested gender neutral or leaning slightly more towards girls. But the truth is the boy target market grew more and faster and grabbed up the product. The girls just weren't interested. Friends was the first Lego line for girls that was an actual commercial success. As far as Friends being dedicated to 'Shopping Beauty and Decorating"? Ummm? The main Friends sets include a Vet Clinic, a Farm, a Bakery, a Cruise Ship, a School, a Riding Stable, etc. oh... and an Engineering and Robotics Lab. Aside from being more than a bit small animal and pony focused, it's not exactly the epitome of bad influences for girls.

Alatariels set is nice. It's a fun little set. Yes it does help even out the gender representations among the more traditional minifigs. (Something that really is nowhere near as bad as some seem to feel.) But it's not exactly anything groundbreaking.
 

Stabby Joe

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...and how many children are just going to make the scientist ride the skeleton T-Rex into battle regardless of gender or profession?
 

Jumplion

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Exterminas said:
This is not a step into the right direction.

Gendering Toys to appease "the gender people" is not the way to go.
Which is why adding a single set dedicated to women is nice to have against a majority of sets having only men.

Here is a crazy idea: Produce Lego sets with roughly equal distribution of genders across professions. Stop making "Girl" and "Boy"-Sets. Then we might get rid of these silly gender stereotypes like "Women inheriently bad at math, because of brain stuff" or "Boys like engineering more than girls because of brain stuff!"
That would be a good argument if there weren't already an overwhelming majority of "boy"-sets.

I understand the gesture, but it is executed poorly since the marketeeing folks behind it clearly don't understand the issue.
Though I don't intend this as insulting, I honestly don't think you do either.

The core problem is not that women are poorly represtented in children's toys (though that is a problem). The core problem is that markeeting folks pick and choose gender and profession combinations for Toys in order to meet certain boardroom-demands without realizing that Toys can have an enormous effect on a child's mind and the way it views the world as an aduld.
...so, why are you against a Toy set that portrays women in oft-underrepresented roles if those toys have an enormous effect on children's minds? We certainly have many similar sets for boys.

Right now I see a certain danger of society putting pressure on women that do decide to become a Vet, a Nurse or a Teacher, because more and more sources keep bombarding women and girls with messages like "It is unenlightened to not puruse a career in sciences/engineering/buisness".
I don't know how you can come to that conclusion. You're basically saying that, somehow, encouraging women to pursue careers in normally male-dominated career paths is a bad thing because women who choose to not do that are somehow being devalued, which I just can't see as being true in any way. It is not devaluing to encourage women to pursue careers that they are often systematically, societally, and culturally excluded from by virtue of their gender. It's like saying that encouraging men that it's okay to be stay-at-home dads is devaluing to those who pursue work in the military, its insulting to all genders frankly.

Of course I am not saying that people should stop encouraging women to do that, I just think switching from one extreme form of gendering to the reverse extreme form is a poor way to go about that.
But you're expressing concern over a company encouraging women to pursue career paths that are not normally filled by women, or at least not as represented. That, to me, sounds like you're saying that Lego shouldn't be doing that because "oh no, it's extreme gendering by encouraging women to go for the opposite career of what society generally tells them! Don't do that!" which is faulty logic.

I honestly can't quite fathom why you'd be so intensely against a single Lego set that happens to want to focus on women in less commonly portrayed roles in our media as a method of encouragement to girls.
 

EvilRoy

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Lieju said:
NuclearKangaroo said:
kind of redundant considering LEGO's girl oriented playsets
Which all have the minifigs that are almost completely incompatible with the standards figs.
Also they have no scientists. They are all princesses or kids with hobbies.
What was your point?
Actually, they did have a scientist set - Olivia's Invention workshop. Out of production now, because nobody bought it apparently. There are also vets, teachers and so forth. Basically the standard 'lego profession' line, except with different minifigs, and a more pastelle-ish sort of colour choice.

As another poster mentioned, they have done female oriented lego sets before a few times, they just tend not to do well - except for the friends line. Paradisa was your basic 'people having fun in different ways' sort of lego set that was ubiquitous across nineties lego except it had a light pink colour scheme, but there were also a couple "pretty princess" lines.
 

DSK-

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I think the key thing to think about is what Lego fans think will be fun to play with and build. When I was a kid, I loved the cars, trucks, speedboat and ocean based sets. Why not simply add female Lego characters to such sets?

If I saw this as a kid I'd probably only want it for the T-rex skeleton :/