On a friend’s Facebook wall the other day, the topic of geek girls needing to defend their geekiness came up, and the topic shifted to gendered LEGO sets. Even having had this conversation many times, I noticed something on the LEGO site that I hadn’t previously.
Go look at just the Bricks & More sets. Look at whether the “themed sets” and “starter sets” include male or female minifigures, or both.
Male Minifigures Only:
Fun With Vehicles
My First LEGO Set (example creation is a construction site)
Blue Suitcase (gas station)
another My First LEGO Set (example creation is a house, a car and a helicopter)
Large Brick Box
Male and Female Minifigures:
Safari (It’s not just nursery themes that consider elephants and giraffes gender-neutral)
Female Minifigures Only:
Pink Suitcase (house)
Pink Brick Box
Large Pink Brick Box
Even the “coordinated” sets Pink Suitcase and Blue Suitcase show a huge difference: The “boy” set is travel-themed, while the “girl” set is home-themed.
And then there’s what the LEGO figures are shaped and what they’re wearing: In nearly every case, the males are blocky, while the female figures have cinched-in waists and tight, busty shirts.
If all that isn’t gender-stereotyped enough, look at the sample LEGO creations and see what the male and female figures are holding or doing. Here are my observations:
Male minifigures (holding or doing):
Magnifying glass (oil can sitting to one side)
Driving escape vehicle
Running to police car
Driving monster trucks
Working crane controls
Female minifigures (holding or doing):
Plate of cookies
Looking at elephant
Standing still at back bumper of an empty truck
Bicycling (arriving at friend’s house for a pink beverage)
So boys fix things, drive things, take pictures, kill things, build things, lift things, fly things, pump gas and put out fires.
Girls? They feed things, admire things and make things pretty.