If you have something to say, write a letter. You might just get exactly what you want…even if you’re only seven years old.
Some toys are considered “boy” toys and some toys are considered “girl” toys. But then there’s Lego, the building blocks favored by kids of every gender. Sets are available in every stripe, from the Old West to Middle Earth to Outer Space. There’s also a line called “Lego Friends” that’s marketed to girls—because the blocks are pink and purple. They’re mostly houses and shops. One other spot where there’s gender disparity in Lego: the Lego people, or “minifigs.” They are predominantly male.
A seven-year-old girl named Charlotte Benjamin thought all of that that was pretty insulting. So, in January 2014 she wrote this letter to Lego headquarters (we’ve fixed the spelling errors; she was, after all, seven):
Dear Lego Company:
My name is Charlotte. I am 7 years old and I love Legos, but I don’t like that there are more Lego boy people and barely any Lego girls. Today I went to a store and saw Legos in two sections. The girls pink and the boys blue. All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop. And they had no jobs but the boys went on adventure, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks. I want you to make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun, ok!?! Thank you.
How did Lego respond? They haven’t officially done so, but actions speak volumes. Earlier this month, they introduced a new set called the Research Institute. The 165-piece, $20 set allows kids to build a lively laboratory, including scientists mixing chemicals, building dinosaur bones into a T. rex, and using a telescope. The set comes with three minifig. The chemist is a woman.
Charlotte Benjamin must not have been the only one clamoring for better Lego options for and featuring girls and women: the Research Institute set is completely sold out and to buy one now requires at least a 30-day wait.