This week we look at women in medicine as we continue the Diverse Minifigures Series. You might recall that last week we looked at the first female minifigure – a nurse. There have been several female nurses over the years. These have primarily been in Town and then later in City sets. However, rather than looking at LEGO® sets, I thought I would look at the Collectible Minifigure Series.
AFOLs have been asking for better female representation in the CMF series for quite some time. Series 1 was released in 2010. Of the 16 minifigures in that series, only two were female. This only improved slightly to four females by the time the fifth series was released. Since then, the average number of female minifigures hasn’t even been one third of the figures in each series. Series 20 was the first series to introduce gender parity in 2020.
Of the few female minifigures, I couldn’t think of very many that did not conform to stereotypes of the top of my head. Consequently, I thought I would take a deeper look to see how many represented professionals. Specifically, I thought I would look at females in medicine since the first female minifigure was a nurse. Interestingly, Series 1 included the Nurse. If you are wondering, the other female was the Cheerleader. Interestingly, you can see that the nurse’s torso shows the same narrow waistline that we first saw in the late 80s. While part of the medical profession, female nurses are a stereotypical representation of women in the medical field. This made me wonder if we would see a female doctor.
Interestingly, LEGO® produced a Surgeon two years after we saw the Nurse in Series 1. Of the 5 females (of 16) in Series 6, only one was a professional – the Surgeon. This minifigure wears a surgical mask. This means you cannot see if she is wearing lipstick, one of the identifiers that LEGO® uses to signify a minifigure is female. However, she does have long eyelashes and a narrow waistline like the Nurse from Series 1. Interestingly, the printed waistline is much less obvious because she is wearing scrubs. The waistline markings tend to blend in with the other markings used to indicate that she is wearing loose fitting scrubs.
LEGO® included a couple of female STEM professionals over the years. Most notable are the Scientist in Series 11 and the Paleontologist in Series 13. One might also argue that the Zoo Keeper in Series 5 is likely a Zoologist. In Series 17 we saw a different kind of medical professional – the Veterinarian. Series 17 was released in 2017, 7 years after CMFs were first introduced. Yet, it still only had 5 female minifigures (out of 16). I like that the Veterinarian has lighter coloured lipstick. However, similar to the other minifigures discussed here, she also has eyelashes and a narrow waistline printed on her torso. She is wearing short-sleeved scrubs and blue medical gloves.
It is great to see different female medical professionals included in the CMFs. One of the positives about the Surgeon is that there is no yellow showing on the torso so people can swap out the head to create their own Sig Fig. However, I don’t think there are any dark skin tones with a mask. Both the Nurse and the Veterinarian have V-necks, in addition to the Vet having short sleeves, so there is yellow showing. Unfortunately, this means it would look a bit odd if someone swapped the head for a natural skin tone to create their Sig Fig or to include a diverse group of minifigures in their MOC. Many AFOLs echo The LEGO® Group’s argument that yellow is supposed to represent everyone. However, we are starting to see research that shows that many people of colour do not see yellow as representing themselves.
We have now highlighted a few female minifigures, including women in medicine, as part of the Diverse Minifigures Series. Next week’s article will depend on which shipment arrives first. Stay tuned to find out what minifigure, or minifigures, we will feature in the next Diverse Minifigures Series article. What’s your favourite female professional minifigure? Reply below or comment on our social media!
Play well folks,
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