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 boys, blue. Worse, she picked up on a theme of what male and female LEGO characters did in the kits pitched at both genders, writing:
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 Active Learning blog
Image Credit: “scientist-minifig” by Flickr user Maia Weinstock