Sunday, November 7, 2010

Active men and passive women in Lego

I will probably be called out for being overly picky here, but I am somewhat annoyed that the characters that I would gender as typically masculine on this lego box (which my daughter got for her birthday) are busy doing things... there is a business man, a delivery man, and a policeman, whereas the one I would gender as a woman is just sitting on a bench with no apparent job or title.

This side of the box shows the same thing... the men are busy doing things... walking to work, delivering heavy packages, protecting road signs while holding various fancy noise making devices (?), and the woman sits down on the bench and listens to music.

Because men do things while women just are. Maybe it just gets to me right now because the last couple months of thesis work has centered largely around the invisibility of unpaid domestic labour.

I'm going to go switch the people's stuff around right now and destroy the box... the woman is about to get the briefcase and I will make a tiny vacuum or something for the now business-less guy.

Edited to add: I also just noticed that the woman is the only one smiling... not sure if it is because she's not busy doing stuff like the men so she is allowed to enjoy her free time, or because, as a woman, she is supposed to be pleasant. Either way, delivery people enjoying their coffee don't need to scowl.


  1. Nah not overly picky, though I am not sure altering the packaging to give the woman a briefcase is a way out of this problem. It is also interesting that she appears to be cast as the bus-rider, considering the stigma associated with public transit

  2. I agree with you entirely about that not being the solution, just a small compromise when we play with this toy at home. And I was going to mention the public transit thing too, except I figured that there could be other reasons for sitting on a bench other than waiting for a bus.

  3. This made me laugh out loud because I work in a toy shop and can't get over how sexist it all is. I think that lego is actually aimed at boys and that is how we are told to present it to customers. We ask, male of female? What age? I remember being in love with lego when I was little but if I want the girl version I would have to get the one in the pink box. (Yes that's how a girl knows the toy is for her, because it's the one with the pink on it.) So what I need to ask lego is, why don't they want girls to build anything?

  4. Kimmyered, didn't you know that girls don't build things? We are too busy with makeup and nail polish (like the new $200 nail art machine) to try to actually put anything together. Unless the lego set is purple, comes with a pony and a Barbie-like figure (not square like normal lego people), then we can build a small stable.

    I bought my daughter some lego, and was looking for some more gender neutral kids, but there wasn't much. Most of it was clearly geared towards boys (construction sets, tractors, trucks, and various 'boy' tv show themes).