What Do Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears and Christine O'Donnell Have in Common?

A few weeks back, I revealed myself to be the humorless, politically correct parent that I am, complaining about the gender roles represented by?Lego’s new line of Minifigures.? My complaint: Of the sixteen Minifigures, the only two that were women were a?Cheerleader and a?Nurse. Ever the earnest parent, I hope?my daughter can imagine herself creating a life beyond these stereotypical roles.? And I hope the boys she grows up with will also understand that their female friends can aspire to so much more.

I’m not debating whether this is profit-maximizing.? I’m asking that Lego take a bit more responsibility for how they shape our young ‘uns.

Well, Lego has just released?Series 2 of their Minifigures. This time, we get three out of sixteen female characters.? That’s an improvement, but only just.? And the three female Minifigures?? We now learn that women can also be?a big-chested red-swimsuit-wearing lifeguard, a?bedazzled midriff-bearing pop star, or?a witch.? When I think of strong and powerful women I would hope my daughter could learn from, I wasn’t just thinking about?Pamela Anderson,?Britney Spears, or?Christine O’Donnell.


Ian Kemmish

So you don't want your daughter to be stuck in a menial but socially useful job like nursing, but at the same time you don't want her to maximise her income? Somewhere in the middle would be nice? Maybe even becoming a professor?

Eric Grant

I hear ya, but I thought that these individual minifigures were targeted more at novelty buyers and adult lego buyers (AFOLS).

I mean, they're randomized, so you don't know which one you're going to get, and they actually have way less play value than pretty much everything else Lego markets.

I think in their other minifig building lines, though, the characters do have the typical token female on the team ... oh wait, this was just an O'Donnell joke right? Not bad, but maybe you could try for the foreign (Danish) interference in US campaigns angle.

Bobby G

.... Oh, I see, legos, gotcha. I was going to say... nevermind.

Tank

"And I hope the boys she grows up with will also understand that their female friends can aspire to so much more."

Let's hope so. It may be far-fetched, but with any luck, they'll understand that she can be every bit the professional -- whether it be weightlifter, gladiator, mime, disco dude, karate master, maraca man, skier, traffic cop, ringmaster or explorer -- that they will be.

Because this isn't just children playing with toys; this is a meeting with a career counselor. When America is over run with gladiators in twenty years, I hope Lego will be there to help pick up the pieces!

JoaquinCMS

Hahahah I believe that Lego is not a company that has a hate for women or any adversities against them. Lego was always characterized by their male bob the builder like characters, and I believe that it is a tradition that shouldn't be changed because some people now claim lego to have a male preferring attitude. Lego is also using these specific women as marketing items, I truly doubt Lego believes that women like these are the women that are the primary role models available in their world for their offsprings. But again every action should be subject to various interpretations, and there is a chance that Lego wants to use these women as examples for their audience, but honestly it is unlikely, though we must remind ourselves that the western culture and thinking places males as the dominant sex, whom has certain positions women are not fit to replace; and I believe that honestly we should change that way of thinking to make a more just place of the world.

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Mike Giberson

Hey, they're Legos, you can disassemble and reassemble.

Pop the head off of the nurse or cheerleader and put it on the construction worker body.

Problem solved.

Sarah

You are right Tank, it is important to pick up the pieces... because those suckers hurt when you step on them in socks or bare feet!

On a slightly more serious note: As was mentioned last time this topic was brought up. Most of these figures are fairly gender neutral. What's to say those other characters aren't female? Unless the little lego face has stuble or lipstick they don't look very male or female at all.

John

Perhaps the person stereotyping here is you, professor. You would do well to have a daughter that became a nurse. Nursing is a growing field where, unlike academia, the supply of professionals is greatly exceeded by the number of openings. As a result, compensation and opportunities have never been better.

Contrary to Ian Kemmish's post above, much of what nurses do is not "menial" but rather it is what you see doctors doing on TV. Nurses are an integral part of patient care.

But perhaps I am biased. I am a male, a nurse, and a police officer. Perhaps I played with too many lego figures growing up and they informed my career choice. Funny, I don't recall a lego figure for "unemployed academic"

Sarah

Ok, I spoke (typed) too soon. Generally the lego figures are gender neutral. These are not so much. However the skier, traffic cop and mime could just as easily be women.

Jake

What character in set 2 is a good career role model?

The Spartan warrior? Maybe the Mariachi? I'm guessing it is the vampire.

Moopheus

Are you sure the mime is a dude?

Ben D

Let's just hope they don't make an economist character. It would be nice if playing with Legos remained FUN!

Kevin

Do you really think that children will learn about gender roles only from legos or do you think that they will learn more from other sources, like mom and dad. If a child has a construction worker father and nurse mother, will that child grow up thinking that women can't work construction and men can't be nurses?

Sorry my fellow adults, but I think our children have a better grasp of reality than we do sometimes.

James

I would have no problem with my (hypothetical) daughter becoming a witch, as long as she doesn't give it up to become a Fundie.

But I have a problem with Lego that goes far beyond any gender stereotyping. Once upon a time, Legos were just bricks - and wheels, gears, cams, and whatnot - and you could build just about anything you wanted. (I even took a university engineering course that built robots from Legos.) Nowadays... well, I tried to find a Lego set for a friend's kid last Christmas, and all I could find were pre-designed scenes. No imagination or thought needed.

Brett

What about a figure for the most impressive job a woman can have... a mother.

Seriously, if you want your daughter to be anything at all, I'd think it'd be for her to be a good mother. You know those happy, loving feelings you get for your daughter? Don't you want her to be able to experience those feelings as well? You might want to be sure to encourage her to not only keep her eyes up to the stars for a career, but her head back on earth enough to recognize where true happiness comes from.

tyler

you want your daughter to grow up to be a vampire or a pharaoh or a ninja or a robot or a zombie instead?

Trevor

What about the stereotype that men cannot/should not become nurses or cheerleaders?

JaimeCMS

Lego has always been a company that targeted all their toys and products to male children. This doesn't make Lego a company that is against women just because it only makes products that are more suitable for boys. Mattel is the company that makes toys such as Barbie and other dolls. This does not mean Mattel has a preference over the female crowd. A Pamela Anderson model is actually pretty unneccesary but funny at the same time. Still, some people look up to these important figures and what better way than making toys of them.

Carl Vartian

If one actually clicks on the big-chested lifeguard link in your blog, you can read that the lifeguard is working her way through medical school. Hardly the brainless bimbo that you suggest Lego is trying to portray.

CRC

Are toys really that important as a role model for children? I don't remember having an "economist" doll or any other toy what made me even think of that possibility, yet that's what I am today. I'm not sure either if the rest of the characters in either serie seem like role models, professional or otherwise; if your kinds want to be cavemen or demolition dummies when they grow up, that's not really Lego's responsability, is it?