A letter from the 7-year-old girl, Charlotte Benjamin to LEGO has spread across social media. Charlotte asked LEGO to “make more LEGO girl people and then let them go on adventures and have fun”. So what about the new LEGO movie – does it have enough action-packed female characters?
Viral story creates pressure on LEGO
Charlotte’s letter back in January went viral and it created a focus on LEGO’s male and female figures. According to Charlotte “all the girls did was sit at home, got to the beach, and shop, and had no jobs” while the boy figures “went on adventures, worked, saved people and had jobs”. She added that some boys “even swam with sharks”.
A picture of Charlotte’s letter was tweeted the 28th of January. Today it has been retweeted more than 2,700 times and shared on Facebook more than 4,200 times. It has created a public focus on LEGO’s use of traditional gender roles.
7yo Charlotte writes an adorable and strongly worded letter to LEGO regarding the lack of adventures for girls. pic.twitter.com/JblNKzCwJs
— SocImages (@SocImages) 28. januar 2014
LEGO’s letter to Charlotte
On the website LEGO responded to Charlotte among others with these words “LEGO play has often been more appealing to boys, but we have been very focused on including more female characters and themes that invite even more girls to build, and in the last few years”. LEGO mentions characters from a recent collection, which contains more adventurous female figures such as “a warrior, a surgeon, a zoologist, athletes, extreme sports characters, rock stars and a scientist.”
Female figures in the LEGO Movie
A few weeks after Charlotte wrote her letter the new LEGO movie had premiere. Yesterday I decided to find out, if LEGO had been one step ahead and ensured some exiting female characters in their movie? If not, it could end up in yet another social media shitstorm, now that many people had read Charlotte’s letter.
And yes, there are female characters in the movie. But they are definitely outnumbered by the many male characters. My guess is that one ¼ of the figures are female. That is not much.
On the other hand, the coolest action figure in the movie is a female. Her name is Wyldstyle. She is not only a master builder; she is intelligent, critical, powerful, and energetic, and she saves the main character Emmet a tremendous amount of times. She is even much more adventurous than Batman or any other character.
So in my opinion, LEGO makes up for the fewer females as Wyldstyle gives it up and meets 7-year-old Charlotte’s request for more action-packed girls. Had Wyldstyle also been a boy, then I believe LEGO would be in a viral headwind right now.
Just for fun I added the pictures of the female characters that LEGO came up with in the movie. You can read more about both female and male characters here.