Culture March 1, 2017
Lego just announced their new “Women of NASA” collection, inspired by a winner of the Second 2016 Lego Ideas Review.
The company’s Marketing Manager Lise Dydensborg made the announcement in a video shared to their blog and social media.
And though many were excited over the upcoming collection – which includes NASA researcher Katherine Johnson, who inspired one of the characters from Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures” – of course trolls took to the Lego page to try and rain on everyone’s parade.
“Honestly, I’m not going to spend money on (to quote Yuregenu) a few minifigures and some microbuilds. I’m not against women at all but I don’t feel it’s worth the money,” one man wrote.
Another man, username “Thunderous Blade” complained that the set was “hypocritical” because Lego’s Ideas Guidelines prohibits projects related to “a. politics and political symbols, campaigns, or movements.”
He was not having the “femenist” Lego set, writing, “The movement itself no longer holds ground in modern western culture and big portions of it even going as far as being opressive by attacking white males with the excuse of them being born with “white priveallage” and born racist and willingly ignoring real opression of women in other countries. At least hold to your rules or at least change them.”
Wow – the “movement holds no ground,” “women are actually oppressive” AND denying white privilege all in one comment? For anyone keeping score, that might just be a BINGO.
Of course, the set isn’t inherently political at all. Plenty of Lego figures have been made for real people. Elvis, Leonardo da Vinci, Mark Twain, soccer player Pelé and even Donald Trump (shudder) have all gotten the Lego treatment over the years.
So creating a set for five notable NASA pioneers really shouldn’t be that surprising. Johnson calculated and verified trajectories for the Apollo 11 mission that first landed humans on the moon. And Margaret Hamilton developed the on-board flight software for that mission.
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space in 1983. Nancy Grace Roman is known as “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope, and developed NASA’s astronomy research program. Finally, Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman in space in 1992, and later established a company that develops new technologies and encourages students in the sciences.
Those seem like pretty objectively amazing accomplishments. So maybe for someone like commenter Thunderous Blade, it just seems like a political statement to honor such heroics because you’re not used to women getting their due. Careful, your sexism is showing.
“Why do people think they need to advertise that women are smart and can do anything a man can do?” Commenter wgrubbs wrote. Why indeed? Perhaps it’s because of comments like this, “I have nothing against women, I just think it was a poor choice to have a plaque with minfigures as a LEGO set… Very poor job on this review. I hope you do better next time.”
“I have nothing against women,” which sounds an awful lot like Trump’s infamous “I’m the least sexist (insert: racist, antisemitic, etc.) guy…” popped up quite a lot on critiques of the new Lego set. These are probably the same guys who argued their seething rage for the “Ghostbusters” reboot had “nothing to do with women” and everything to do with a reboot “ruining their childhoods.” Okay.
Criticism aside, designer Maia Weinstock was overjoyed to see her idea chosen, tweeting, “Thrilled to finally share: @LegoNASAWomen has passed the @LEGOIdeas Review and will soon be a real LEGO set!”
Twitter rallied behind the product, with @cadmus_photo posting, “About freaking time. Children (girls & boys) need to see that a women’s place is wherever the hell she chooses it to be.” Twitter user @CelestialCess also wrote, “Representation matters! Excited to see LEGO celebrating the accomplishments of women in space & aeronautics professions with @LegoNASAWomen.”
Sorry, boys. Until Lego’s next review it looks like you’re just “stuck” with the “very political” and “femenist” Women of NASA collection.
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