LEGO’s new female scientist “minifigure” helps break stereotypes that discourage girls from considering STEM careers, writes Maia Weinstock, a Scientific American guest blogger.
Originally, LEGO people wore very simple clothing and had “two dots and a curved smile for a face,” writes Weinstock. Minifigures were introduced in 1978.
The first female minifig in LEGO’s Space series was an
astronaut in the Ice Planet 2002 series, which depicted scientists working on the fictional planet Krysto.
LEGO’s Town (now City) series, which features minifigs in everyday life, includes doctors, EMTs, engineers, astronauts and space scientists. A Town doctor was the first female minifig in the series.
Most STEM professionals issued recently have been male, including the Computer Programmer, which debuted last year. He’s a cringe-worthy stereotype, writes Weinstock. “His nerdy attire, including bow tie and broken glasses, harkens back to an era and style that rendered programmers completely uncool.” (Are they cool now?)
LEGO also has a thing for mad scientists. The first one “wore a lab coat, a stethoscope, and a patently diabolical face.” Now there’s a wild-gray-haired Crazy Scientist, though he doesn’t look quite so evil.