I’m over at Bub Hub today, lamenting the lack of kick-arse female role models/action mini figs in Lego.
In the halcyon days of the mid to late 70s, when the Six Million Dollar Man was every girl’s dream and “Lost in Space” was cutting edge cinematography, Lego was just Lego. There was no “boy” Lego and “girl” Lego. Just Lego.
For me, Lego eclipsed all the other toys of my childhood – Barbie, Baby Alive, Mr. Potato Head, mum’s faux-wood world globe bottle holder (don’t ask, although I will say it made a lovely shag-pad for Ken and Barbie). Lego was the motherflipping WORD.
In 2013, you can still buy the generic, non-genderised Lego, but you need a Ninjagu sword or light sabre to swipe through the heavily branded mini-fig sets (heavily marketed to boys) to get to them.
In the late 70s, Lego introduced its first mini figs and when you look at collections such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones etc. they all hinge around male protagonists. There is the occasional female mini fig, such as Princess Leia, but they play second fiddle in the marketing juggernaut that is Lego cross-licensing. I get it, Lego saw a gap in the market and they pounced. But they forgot about 49.7% of the population – why, I’m not entirely sure as Lego has long been one of those kids toys that was genderless.
Without a time machine to whisk me back to the 70s (anyone for a Pimms?), it’s time for Lego to even up the score. Of course you can argue that girls are catered for with the Friends and Belville sets, but where are the strong recognisable female protagonists of the comic book or pop culture world? Wonder Woman? Buffy? Marvel’s Andromeda (go on, geekify my love)? Lily Serna (because Maths is gonna take over the world)? Hell, is there anything stopping Lego from making up their own? I don’t mind me a good Friends Lego set – they’re quite lovely and colourful, but they are too steeped in the traditional gender roles in my opinion. Emma and Holly and Olivia are relegated to the stable, the kitchen, the beauty shop (although Mia does have her own Invention Workshop. Now, if only I could actually get my hands on it…).
I want my girls to grow up believing they can do ANYTHING whether it involves a ninja move, a physics formula or an apron. It’s not about being aggressive, it’s about being strong, having access to inspirational role models and characters. Having the ambition to save the world if they so desire.
Not just to make sure Pappadum the Palomino has enough chaff in her hay bucket.