Friday, October 11, 2013

New Lego Scientist Minifig

I've been considering this post for awhile. First off, kudos to Lego for making a female scientist minifig:

Secondly, minus some kudos for making her pink and purple and curvy. On the one hand, it's annoying that in the US you can't be both feminine and a scientist, so this figure is a problem to many. In Europe, however, you can be both feminine and a scientist, so adding feminine features like a purple shirt and curves doesn't cause as much of a sense of cognitive dissonance and the feeling that this figure is just plain wrong to the creators in Denmark. I really do not know how to feel in this instance. It seems to be a catch-22 - we try to tell girls that they can be feminine and do science, but in practice they get a lot more backlash than non-feminine (t-shirts and jeans) girls do. Lego makes a female scientist in a bid to be a bit more progressive and get more female figures into their lineup, and they get yelled at for giving her makeup. I suppose if there were a few female STEM figures, some with feminine attributes and some without, they would (should?) be lauded for their positive and varied portrayal of women in the same way they portray many different types of men. For a much more in-depth discussion of minifigs, please see this Scientific American post.

I suppose the takeaway here is that there are many types of women who make up roughly half of the population. Rather than offering a wide variety of female minifigs, as they do with the men, Lego either gets backlash for making her feminine, or if they had made her decidedly unfeminine or frumpy, they would get backlash for that too. Maybe Lego should make more female minifigs in enough variations that they are representative of the female population instead of picking and choosing among stereotypes.

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