Thursday, 5 February 2015

LEGO Women and the LEGO Ideas Research Institute set 21110

A while ago LEGO were getting a lot of pressure to consider gender roles and the stereotyping that tended to take place in LEGO sets. LEGO are very good at listening to their customers and fans (there's an address for feedback on the back of every leaflet). Not only are they good at listening, they're good at acting on it too.

LEGO Women and the LEGO Ideas Research Institute set 21110

Recently women have been portrayed more and more often in stronger character roles and aren't just extras walking past or needing to be rescued. They aren't just there to cook or be 'Mum', they're an integral part of all kinds of sets, and they're doing the same stuff as the male characters.

LEGO City women builder and female mechanic

Set 60082 has a female mechanic, and set 60074 has a female builder with a jackhammer. In set 60072 we have another female builder, but this time it's a lump hammer!

LEGO woman with a lump hammer
Thank you to Brett for the photograph

LEGO set 60042 High Speed Chase has a female burglar
LEGO set 60042 High Speed Chase has a female burglar
There are also female coastguards and a female police officer in 2011 set 3648 'Police Chase'. The Swamp Police range has female crooks, police and an androgynous helicopter pilot, and LEGO set 4432 was released in 2012 - with a female refuse collector...

Female LEGO Refuse Collector in set 4432 released in 2012

This is a random selection of female LEGO minifigures that were to hand as I write, and although they were outnumbered by male minifigures by around 3-1, I think they're pretty cool. I'm happy to have them as my representatives - even the one dressed as a unicorn.

Random collection of LEGO female figures and minifigures

Back in 2012 a Geoscientist and LEGO fan who goes by the name Alatariel felt the discrepancy, and in May 2012 submitted her 'Female Minifigure Set' to LEGO Ideas. It featured a group of women in professional roles. Within only a couple of weeks it had reached the 10,000 supporters necessary to be considered by LEGO, and in August 2014 it hit the shops. It sold out of it's limited run before Christmas, so is no longer available as a new set from LEGO.com.

LEGO Ideas Research Institute set 21110 box front

Set 21110 was eventually named The Research Institute - which I much prefer. In my view the whole point is that it shouldn't matter whether these are men or women, but either should be expected just the same. In 15 years time when I show my grandchildren this set, my wish is that they won't even comment on gender.

LEGO Ideas Research Institute set 21110 box rear

This is a gorgeous set, it really is. There are 3 scientists, each with their own beautifully detailed vignette. There aren't any particularly rare or new parts to this set - you can make it all at home yourself. The accessories are all really carefully and deliberately designed, and have very clever use of available LEGO.


The Chemist...

LEGO Ideas Research Institute set 21110 female chemist scientist

The Astronomer.....

LEGO Ideas Research Institute set 21110 female astronomer scientist

And the Paleontologist...with an amazing dinosaur skeleton....

LEGO Ideas Research Institute set 21110 female paleontologist scientist

It's a brilliant set and I hope it inspires a lot of children to see science as fascinating and varied. There is tons of detail in this set with lots of extra accessories in the 3 vignettes. Playability and poseability are both really great. This is a lovely set to look at and I think, despite the low £15.99 price tag, it will be mainly a set which adults have on the display shelf or on their desk at work!

LEGO Ideas Research Institute set 21110 female women scientists
LEGO strong females women scientists


While I am more than happy to see the depiction of women in LEGO sets change and modernise, you should always remember - this is LEGO!....and you can actually make whoever you want...

Make a LEGO character female if you want gamer girl



We bought the LEGO Research Institute set for our 15 year old girl this Christmas.

6 comments:

  1. Great post! Those sets look great!

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    1. Thanks Laura. It's something that obviously really interested me and I wanted to write about this set - but couldn't until after Christmas had passed! :D

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  2. I love this post, and I was going to ask how you actually know they're female, is it just the hairstyle?! But no, I saw that the women are all wearing lipstick... *bangs head against wall* x

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    1. Yep - although, this does appear to be changing. We're noticing a lot more androgynous characters who can be either male or female - but even though 3 of our lads have long hair, apparently the rules are that girls have long hair usually :D

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  3. That is great that Lego take it on board and made female characters!

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    1. I think they genuinely just hadn't considered it. Sometimes we all need a bit of a poke :)

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