To celebrate International Women’s Day March 8, we highlight the introduction of female minifigures as we continue the diverse minifigures series. Female minifigures first appeared two months after male minifigures were introduced in 1978. These first minifigures all had the same generic smiley face. Therefore, LEGO® identified female minifigures by adding longer hair. The very first female minifigure was a medical professional. This minifigure was found in two Classic Town sets: Ambulance (606) and Medic’s Car (623).
The First Female Minifigures
The minifigure’s profession was signified by a white sticker with a red cross placed on the white torso. Even after putting a call out to all my LUG mates, I couldn’t find one with the sticker still intact. Also in 1978, the same longer hair appeared on various other minifigures with different coloured torsos and legs. Some had plain torsos or basic printed designs, while others had stickers on the torso. For just over a decade, LEGO® continued to signify female minifigures through the addition of longer hair.
It took over a decade for female-coded heads to appear in LEGO® sets. Interestingly, the new female coded head only appeared in the pirate themed sets (6251 and 6285) and not in the Town sets from 1989. The latter still used the standard smiley face head. The female pirate from 1989 features exaggerated lips with heavy red lipstick. This minifigure also has a printed torso with a low-cut top and a narrow waistline. Of note, this minifigure came with a bandana instead of long hair.
At first, I thought LEGO® chose to stereotype this figure since they didn’t have a mold that included both long hair to identify her as female as well as a bandana to identify her as a pirate. However, this theory doesn’t hold when looking at the castle set (6060) from the same year. This set includes a female minifig with a headdress instead of hair on a generic smiley face head. Interestingly, the following year LEGO® introduced a new maiden in Castle set 6081. This time she had the same minifigure head with lipstick as the pirate and a narrow waistline printed on the torso.
Next week we will feature more significant female minifigures as we continue the diverse minifigures series. We have already featured Mae Jemison and Storm. Which female minifigures would you like to see featured? What’s your oldest female minifigure? Comment below or reach out on social media. We’d love to hear from you!
Play well folks,
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