Today marks the celebration of women across the world, although women should be respected and treated equally all year round, International Women’s Day is a great moment to reflect on some of histories iconic heroines. But it’s not just real life ladies who inspire the next generation, there are a number of fictional favourites who have stepped in to become role models for many. LEGO® and the toy industry in general, is often criticised for some of their products or how they market them. Rarely do people highlight some of the good moments and just recently the LEGO Group have often lead the way when it comes to portraying women in toy form. One of the earliest examples of LEGO leading the way is an ad from back in the 80s. In recent years the ‘What is it, is beautiful’ ad, which shows a little girl showing off her LEGO build, is often brought up on both sides argument of the portrayal of girls in toys. Some say it shows how LEGO understands the universal nature of play, where other have said it shows a step backwards when compared to things like the LEGO Friends range. Back in the time of this ad, LEGO wasn’t defined as much by different themes. These have developed naturally over the years and although LEGO Friends is clearly marketed towards a female audience, the sets are far more varied than some of the LEGO City sets are.
21110: Research Institute
A more defining moment for LEGO, was the release of the Research Institute set, born from the LEGO Ideas platform, the set gained attention during the voting stages, with many non-LEGO media outlets highlighting it’s possible existence. This helped it to achieve the required 10,000 votes needed for it to be considered as a future LEGO set. The set was praised for featuring a trio of female scientist taking part in various scientific activities.
21312: Women of NASA
Last year LEGO Ideas would once again become a beacon for highlighting women in STEM. Although this set was similar to the Research Institute, Women in NASA featured minifigures based on real world people. All of whom helped us to further our understanding of the universe around us and develop technologies. The set inspired many from both the LEGO community and those beyond.
LEGO Star Wars
Around the time of the release of the first new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, a hashtag gained traction on social media called #WheresRey? This was due to the lack of Rey merchandise released alongside the movie. Disney has heavily criticised for not pushing their partners to include Rey in their products. Despite being the main character of the movie and in fact the entire new Star Wars trilogy, Rey was MIA from figure packs, clothing and many other bits of promotional products. However LEGO not only included Rey in many of the sets based on the movie, she was also the focus of one of their Buildable Figures, making LEGO one of few companies to have a Rey-centric product. Rey has appeared again in The Last Jedi range and before that, Rogue One’s Jyn Erso also got the Buildable Figure treatment.