LEGOs are some of the most creative toys around for kids. When I was growing up, I loved mixing together sets and building whole worlds (including assembling a perfect replica of Jurassic Park whose quality I will defend to this day) and never saw them as a toy meant for either boys or girls.
But recently, LEGOs have come under fire for two reasons. One is the collection of stickers seen above, which writer Josh Stearns of blog Talking to Strangers spotted on Amazon last week. The stickers portray only men working on construction and clearly promote the kind of routine hollering that is otherwise known as street harassment. The only way this sticker would be appropriate is if it was used by an actual baby to say “hey!” to another babe. And then you have to worry about LEGOs being nasty choking hazards so, nevermind. Anyway, Stearns contacted LEGO and they responded noting that—good news!—the product was discontinued in 2010, though you can still add your two cents with a punchy Amazon review.
Bickering about LEGOs might seem silly, but they’re great toys for introducing kids to jobs. That makes this faux pas all the more annoying. In 2010, women made up only 2.6 percent of the nation’s 8.4 million construction workers. When women do work in construction, though, their wages are far more equal to men’s wages than any other industry in the country. Even though that specific sticker set has been discontinued, it’s hard to find specifically female LEGOs among their sets. Instead, “girls” is a category of LEGO products set off from the rest.
That brings us to the second complaint about LEGOs: The lack of female figures. LEGO has a well-documented gender gap in its sets—more than half of the toys actually come off as gender neutral, but there are three times as many clearly male figures as clearly female ones. The company totally botched the chance to include more female characters last year in its Barbie-inspired LEGO Friends line.
What we need are more LEGO sets like this one proposed by a geochemist and LEGO fan:
Now THAT would have been a great addition to my homemade Jurassic Park.