My little lad is a huge fan of Lego. In fairness who isn’t? Although our house is overrun with the stuff and I’ve sustained multiple injuries by standing on various sharp little pieces in my bare feet, I love it too. It’s an excellent, durable, creative toy and has given him, and consequently us, hours and hours of pleasure for several years now.
Lately he’s been wary about showing me his most recent purchases – a series of top quality, mystery mini figures that come in sealed packages and are well within pocket money range. “Great idea”, you say. “Yes”, I agree BUT my objection is that in a world where half of us are women these cute little figures are overwhelmingly male. I know I may well be accused of carrying feminist thinking to its extremes in this instance but hey you have to get ‘em young! What does everyone else think? Is this merely coincidence, a non-issue, or yet another example of marginalisation? At less than 20% representation for women are they merely reflecting real life? Yes, I know I should lighten up (before anyone says it) but the pervasive invisibility gets me down.
Look at them. Aren’t they cute! Amongst the first 16 the girls get to be nurses and cheerleaders. The boys have a lot more choice and can be zombies, magicians, clowns, deep sea divers, forest men, ninjas, spacemen, wrestlers, tribal hunters, cowboys, demolition dummies and cavemen. Even the robot is referred to as “he”.
Things are improving. Next 16 figures and the girls get to be lifeguards (a la Baywatch), pop stars and witches. The men get to be explorers, karate masters, maraca men, mime artists, traffic cops, pharaohs, ringmasters, skiers, Spartan warriors, vampires, surfers, weightlifters and disco dudes.
By now my lad has taken to hiding them from me. In the latest series the girls get to be tennis players, hula dancers and snow boarders. The men get to be samurai warriors, sumo wrestlers, rappers, fishermen, tribal chiefs, elves, race car drivers, pilots, baseball players, mummies (the bandaged variety), space villains and gorilla suit guys. The alien is not assigned a gender so perhaps we can claim her too!