You’ve read — here and elsewhere — about how some influential folks in maker publications have focused much of their attention on the work of males, particularly white males. And this has been a big concern for us here at MakerBridge, because we think that making is for everyone and that those of us who work with makers have both a duty and an opportunity to welcome everyone. I tend to phrase it as, “If a family comes to my makerspace, I want every member to feel like they belong.”
You may have read the gone-viral letter from an elementary girl to the LEGO corporation. She told the corporation of her visit to the LEGO aisle, where all the girl-oriented toys were pink, and the ones for buys, blue. Worse, she picked up on a theme of what male and female LEGO characters did in the kits pitched at both genders, writing:
[A]ll the girls did was sit at home, got to the beach, and shop, and had no jobs, but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs.
If you look at the Toys R Us LEGO Friends page, you can see that she’s pretty much correct. (Who says seven year-olds can’t synthesize?) The pink and purple Friends series generally does feature domestic scenes, the beach, and shopping. (An exception is a theatre kit.)
Thankfully, someone at LEGO was listening. Mental Floss ran a story last month that LEGO is going to be rolling out three — (is that three, THREE!, or THREE? you decide) — minifigs who are female scientists. LEGO girls go to work at last, as a chemist, an astronomer, and as a paleontologist (complete with really cool dino skeleton). The kits should be available in August.
Some questions for you:
- How real/important/relevant is this issue for you and the young girls in your community?
- What female minifig would you like to see next?
- What setting for a female minifig would you like to see LEGO develop?
- Do you find it interesting that all three of these minifigs have brown hair?
- Kristin Fontichiaro
Cross-posted to the MakerBridge blog