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June 5, 2014 7:20 AM   Subscribe

In August, Lego will launch a new line depicting women scientists, that will include an astronomer with a telescope, a paleontologist with a dinosaur skeleton and a chemist in a lab. The idea for the set was submitted by Dr. Ellen Kooijman, a geochemist in Sweden.

Kooijman’s proposal beat out six other projects, including a Sherlock set and a Legend of Zelda set.

Previously related
posted by roomthreeseventeen (44 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yay!
posted by BeerFilter at 7:22 AM on June 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


From the Amazon review of Lego's first female scientist mini-fig:

I recruited Dr. Bodin to work for our esteemed research lab because of her extensive experience, publications and reputation in the field. It had absolutely nothing to do with her gender, or that I have to pay female scientists less than the male ones, but because she looked right for the job.

Besides the fact that she can carry two flasks at once which are half the size of her body, she is always smiling and comes to work with a clean, pressed lab coat each day. She is much more helpful than the Post-Doc that previously held her position. Not only can she stay in one position much longer than he could (which was an extremely long time), but she gets twice as much work done in a day than he did. In fact she makes far less mistakes and doesn't interfere with the experiments of other scientists. Also, she doesn't sing showtunes at the top of her lungs whilst pipetting, which all of us greatly appreciate.

What she lacks in size she makes up for in knowledge, working in quiet collaboration with the team. Dr. Bodin is a wonderful role model for young female scientists, who I hope will follow her example and enter into the field of science. This will be extremely helpful to the progress of science as a whole because as we all know, due to the recent sequestration causing the NIH to lose $1.7 Billion in funding, women scientists will be the only scientists that our nation can afford.

posted by Rangeboy at 7:24 AM on June 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


She is always smiling and comes to work with a clean, pressed lab coat each

Of course, clean and pressed clothes are fairly common with minifigs... well, except for this guy.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 7:32 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let's just hope she doesn't go rogue like the last staff member did.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:36 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


As a dad that just had a daughter last year. This makes me EXTREMELY happy. Most "girl" toys are such bullshit.
posted by Dr. Twist at 7:37 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wow, "Kooijman" is the original Dutch spelling of what is basically my family name, which is extremely rare. It's a surprise to see it on the front page of MeFi.
posted by rlk at 7:37 AM on June 5, 2014


Just in time for me to get them for my nieces for Christmas!
posted by xingcat at 7:39 AM on June 5, 2014


as a rabid feminist, I love this. But as a Lego fan, I've been lamenting for years the trend towards 'specialized' pieces that aren't nearly as interchangeable and serve only one purpose. I blame Star Wars. Where the hell am I supposed to put a Millennium Falcon cockpit in my Lego castle?!
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:45 AM on June 5, 2014 [9 favorites]


Where the hell am I supposed to put a Millennium Falcon cockpit in my Lego castle?!

At the top? Duh.
posted by Talez at 7:50 AM on June 5, 2014 [17 favorites]


You could call it the First Millenium Falcon!
posted by Talez at 7:52 AM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I don't know that it's accurate to say that this proposal 'beat out' the other projects. It's my understanding that they weren't in competition with each other, they were just all being judged for acceptance at roughly the same time.
posted by rifflesby at 7:55 AM on June 5, 2014


Meanwhile...
posted by edd at 7:57 AM on June 5, 2014


Okay I am happy about this...

...but I would have been DELIGHTED BEYOND MEASURE to have a Legend of Zelda set.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:58 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am also happy about this. Let's hope it turns into more women in all lego occupations. And how about some more lego races? That would be nice.
posted by elanorigby at 8:17 AM on June 5, 2014


8.99 for one minifig? Oof.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:24 AM on June 5, 2014


if you need me I'll be in the basement constructing a LEGION OF LEGOSAURI my childhood dreams are now complete
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:29 AM on June 5, 2014


8.99 for one minifig? Oof.

"Strong enough for a man, but marked up for a woman."
posted by Sys Rq at 8:29 AM on June 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


8.99 for one minifig? Oof.

That's an aftermarket price. The scientist minifig is part of the Collectible Minifigures line, which are blind-bag minifigures. You're not supposed to know which one you're getting until you've bought it (or you're good at feeling the bag for its contents). I don't believe LEGO offers them as individual minifigures - what you're paying for on Amazon is both the collectible value of the minifigure (some are less common than others or in higher demand or both), and the ability to pick which figure you get. Resellers do gouge sometimes, though, yeah.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:35 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


Nah, all the collectible minifigs and specialty sets marketed to adults are similarly marked up. Lego has figured out how much more adult fans of Lego are willing to pay and charges accordingly. The resellers mark them up too I think? Amazon pricing can be weird.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:36 AM on June 5, 2014


...or what Famous monster said.
posted by Wretch729 at 8:37 AM on June 5, 2014


Kent Brockman's Daughter: My new doll is much better than Malibu Stacy. Do a newscast about her.
Kent Brockman: Ho ho, please, honey, Daddy's job is to bring people important news. Right now I'm busy preparing a report about the 40th anniversary of Beetle Bailey.
Kent Brockman's Daughter: Oh, Daddy, that is boring. Talk about the dolly!
Kent Brockman: Well, you were right about the Berlin Wall.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:37 AM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Surely there's room for the Legend of Zelda too in the ever-expanding LEGO universe!
posted by emhutchinson at 8:54 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


as a rabid feminist, I love this. But as a Lego fan, I've been lamenting for years the trend towards 'specialized' pieces that aren't nearly as interchangeable and serve only one purpose. I blame Star Wars. Where the hell am I supposed to put a Millennium Falcon cockpit in my Lego castle?!

Lego Internet Discussion Bingo

Note that the other sets being considered were Legend of Zelda, Sherlock, and Doctor Who.

People SAY they want general sets (which, are absolutely still available) but then they go nuts for Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, and so forth.

Meanwhile, kids and other builders have not let the 'specialized' pieces stop them from making whatever they damn well want in any medium. Lego sets are still delighting kids today, and they are still building with their imaginations, even if the pieces aren't what you grew up with.
posted by Legomancer at 8:59 AM on June 5, 2014 [15 favorites]


Surely there's room for the Legend of Zelda too in the ever-expanding LEGO universe!

Not as such - K'Nex has the Nintendo license. Even if there wasn't a contract there, acquiring it would not be cheap.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:01 AM on June 5, 2014


Also, respect for posting the bingo card - I was still looking for it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:03 AM on June 5, 2014


Plenty of time to work them in as characters into the next LEGO movie, too! That would be... awesome?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:37 AM on June 5, 2014


Zelda would've been great!
posted by ReeMonster at 9:42 AM on June 5, 2014


Yeah, It makes me super sad that K'nex seems to have rights to Nintendo stuff. I would pay a markup for a Zelda themed lego set.
posted by Twain Device at 9:47 AM on June 5, 2014


I'm quite glad to see that Lego will be releasing these three female scientist minifigs. It will help provide at least some balance against the overwhelmingly femme-stereotyped Friends kits, which I've seen in action--all-female sets of figures come with flowered and frilled kits for building pink and purple beauty salons, cupcake shops, and pet grooming parlors.

I do want to note something, however, and that is while, as the linked articles note, parents and social commentators gave forth a collective cry of protest about girls being taught by their Legos that their ambitions should be limited to being pretty, domestic shopaholics, there has been no outcry reported about the stereotyping of boy's Lego kits.

We all know why this is, at a level deep enough that few comment on it. Masculinity is celebrated, valued and valorized in our society, and the feminine devalued. Male Lego minifigs get to have adventures and heroic or serious careers--things that can garner fame and high incomes. Female minifigs are left with the realm of beauty, relationships and caregiving, which are hardly remunerative careers.

And so the protest of parents is basically about girls being taught they must be femme. Let our daughters into the high-status world of power careers and dangerous adventures! I absolutely support this, but I find really sad the absence of a converse cry to give boys Lego role models for aspirations stereotyped as feminine.

Where is the male minifig stay-at-home father or daycare provider? The male minifig wearing a cool purple and pink outfit? The male baker of elaborate, flower-iced cakes?

If we really want gender equality in this world, we need to do more than free our girls from a prison of obligatory femme stereotypes. We need to free our boys from a cage of butch stereotypes. If we don't try to do this, we undermine our own egalitarian goal by continuing to devalue femininity, gender policing our kids' aspirations.
posted by DrMew at 9:56 AM on June 5, 2014 [13 favorites]


I have the Scientist blind bag minifig on my desk right now! My very favorite thing about her is that on the description of the series minifigs, she is labeled only as "scientist," not "lady scientist" or "woman scientist" or other such nonsense.
posted by Missense Mutation at 10:01 AM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh this is so awesome.

I’m a little bummed they’re not molded like the Friends minifigs. (e.g. Olivia’s Invention Workshop.) Those minifigs are more fun IMO, my kids like them better as figures (this incl. my son) — they refer to them by name and play with them in more socially-constructed ways.

What really bums me out about Friends is not that the girls wear pink and have noses but that they have such sorry adventures. It’s all horsies and hanging out. Why can’t they solve mysteries? Scuba Dive for sunken treasure? Build a spaceship? Ride dirtbikes?
posted by axoplasm at 10:06 AM on June 5, 2014


I always liked Dr. Helena Arche-Veldt, a specialist in rare minerals and their application to organ reconstruction, despite having had her library card revoked as a child for getting in to too many fights, even though she was protecting kids who were getting beaten up by bullies. Here.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:15 AM on June 5, 2014


These are cool!
posted by carter at 10:22 AM on June 5, 2014


What really bums me out about Friends is not that the girls wear pink and have noses but that they have such sorry adventures. It’s all horsies and hanging out. Why can’t they solve mysteries? Scuba Dive for sunken treasure? Build a spaceship? Ride dirtbikes?

They can. It's Lego. That's how it works.
posted by Legomancer at 10:36 AM on June 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


It makes me sad to see these described as "girls' toys."

A while ago, I saw a class project that has stuck in my mind since, though I don't remember where I saw it linked. Some elementary school kids were asked to draw what they thought scientists looked like, and it was fairly predictable - all dudes in lab coats. Then they got to go and meet some actual scientists, and drew them. Some of the girls switched to drawing female scientists, but none of the boys did.

If I had sons into Lego, they'd get some female scientists mini-figs in a heartbeat.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:45 AM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Olivia and the Experiments.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:49 AM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


It's about time. Yes, I'm happy, but when I was looking for female Lego heads & accessories as a basis to custom-paint a propane tank...it was appalling how little gender diversity there was. Lots of beards & mustache, some neutral, very few female. If they press forward enough, they may find themselves discontinuing the Friends line.
posted by childofTethys at 12:49 PM on June 5, 2014


They can. It's Lego. That's how it works

Ah so there are Lego Friends videos where they scuba dive? Story books where they solve mysteries? There's a set for kids who enjoy following the instructions where Lego Friends build a pink spaceship?

Yes I know we can send all our Friends to Ninjago on Old West Mindstorms robots or whatever but I’m talking about the marketing not building.
posted by axoplasm at 1:26 PM on June 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Where the hell am I supposed to put a Millennium Falcon cockpit in my Lego castle?!

There's a LEGO term called NPU, which stands for "Nice Parts Usage" and is correctly applied to when a model uses a specialized piece for some other purpose. I remember one commenter on a thread way back noticing this Samurai Mech had shoulder armor pieces that were actually cow catchers for a train set.

My personal favorite of this type of thing was this WWII / Star Wars Walker vehicle. Looks nice, huh? Would you have ever guessed that the front part is the same as the head off of this thing?
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 1:51 PM on June 5, 2014 [8 favorites]


There's a LEGO term called NPU, which stands for "Nice Parts Usage" and is correctly applied to when a model uses a specialized piece for some other purpose. I remember one commenter on a thread way back noticing this Samurai Mech had shoulder armor pieces that were actually cow catchers for a train set.

Notice that the tripod for the female astronomer's telescope is made of telescopes.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:26 PM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


While I haven't been super-fond of the Friends Lego sets, I have been happy to see that they included sets which don't follow the strict narrow lines followed by, say the Lego Belville sets, instead including a scientist set (Olivia’s Invention Workshop), a martial arts set (Emma's Karate Class), a magic show (Mia's Magic Tricks), and a drumset (Mia's Bedroom).

DrMew: "Where is the...male baker of elaborate, flower-iced cakes?"

Well, if pink cupcakes count, you've got the Winter Village Bakery.
posted by Bugbread at 8:28 PM on June 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


AlonzoMosleyFBI: "There's a LEGO term called NPU, which stands for "Nice Parts Usage" and is correctly applied to when a model uses a specialized piece for some other purpose."

Whenever I hear people say that all these specialized parts stifle creativity, I think about all the awesome Lego stuff I've seen on the net which use funky parts, and I think, "They don't stifle creativity, they foster it."
posted by Bugbread at 8:35 PM on June 5, 2014 [3 favorites]




The specialized parts that stifle creativity the most would be the chair and the steering wheel, and I used to think of these parts as standard canon. But there been so many sets in the last ten years that have found much more creative and fun ways to make a chair or steering wheel that they make me regret every time I've built something using those two pieces.
posted by BurnChao at 3:08 PM on June 7, 2014


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