You can now vote for Lego to create a new, inclusive scientist set!
It’s not a secret that parents and kids are pretty over “girl toys” vs. “boy toys.” Which was why it was so refreshing when earlier this year, Lego released the Lego Research Institute, a fan-proposed set of three Lego vignettes featuring an astronomer, a chemist, and a paleontologist — all of whom were women. The set — proposed by geochemist Ellen Kooijman — became immediately popular, and sold out in record time. Since then, fans of the set have clamored for a return of the Research Institute, but alas, Lego announced that there were no plans to bring the limited-run set back. Even while a Change.org petition asking the company to reconsider their position garnered more than 6,000 signatures, it seemed as though we’d seen the last of Kooijman’s brainchild.
That was, until late last month.
On November 26, Kooijman returned to the Lego Ideas fan submission page to propose a new set of science-based toys, simply named “Science Adventures.” The proposed set features a geologist, a wildlife biologist, and an archaeologist. Unlike the Research Institute, Science Adventures is not made up of an all-female cast, but it does build on the idea that women can do anything men can do. In order to make it to the next phase in Lego consideration, Kooijman needs 10,000 people to take a moment and click the “support” button on the project page. So far, she’s been able to round up nearly a third of the needed support.
Why, exactly, is it important that Lego include strong female characters? Seven-year-old Charlotte Benjamin put it best: “Today I went to a store and saw Legos in two sections the girls pink and the boys blue,” she wrote in a January letter to the company. “All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks.” She later asks the company to create “more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun ok!?!”
Between Charlotte and fellow 7-year-old Maggie Cole — who made news last month when a picture of her disapproving face next to a sign at Tesco that read, “Fun gifts for boys” started being shared across the Internet — it’s more than clear that it’s time to put an end to the era of needless socially-constructed gender norms in toys.
As Lego’s 1970’s-era instructions read, “[B]uild whatever comes into your head, the way you want it. A bed or a truck. A dolls house or a spaceship. A lot of boys like dolls houses. They’re more human than spaceships. A lot of girls prefer spaceships. They’re more exciting than dolls house. The most important thing is to put the right material in their hands and let them create whatever appeals to them.”
If you support the elimination of gender stereotypes in toys, be sure to check out the Science Adventures profile page and click the support button (it only takes a minute). And 7-year-olds around the world will be very grateful.