6 ideas for Lego minifigs that better reflect our ever-changing world.
You may have heard about Lego's big step toward inclusivity.
The toy manufacturer announced they're adding new minifigs (the little yellow figures) to their collection, including a young person (complete with a beanie and hoodie) using a wheelchair, a working mother, and a stay-at-home dad pushing an infant in a stroller.
The company's more inclusive offerings are an effort to accurately reflect rapidly changing demographics.
“We need to stay in tune with the world around us,” said Soren Torp Laursen, president of Lego Systems told Fortune. “We aren’t responding to demand from anyone. We are trying to ... listen to our consumer base.”
Yes! More companies like this please.
In the spirit of encouraging creative play and keeping up with our ever-changing world, here are six more minifigures that represent our evolving demographics.
1. A minifig without a driver's license
In 2014,less than a quarter of 16-year-olds had a license, a nearly 50% decline from 1983. But it's not just young people getting out from behind the wheel. There are steady declines in licensure for people aged 20 to 54 too. These changes may be a result of more people living in urban settings, and lifestyle changes like people pursuing higher levels of education and delaying marriage and children.
Optional accessories: an audiobook and a bus pass.
2. Minifig newlyweds on their second marriage
Lego already has minifig newlyweds, but to keep up with the current landscape, these newlyweds should probably be a little older and on their second (or even third) marriage. In 2013, nearly 40% of marriages included at least one person who'd been married before. Oh, and while we're at it, Lego should definitely include a gay couple too.
Optional accessories: a small ceremony with no gifts, but top shelf booze.
3. A minifig college graduate with crippling loan debt
The student loan crisis is very real and very scary. Nearly 70% of students who graduated from not-for-profit public colleges and universities in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of more than $28,000 per borrower. The standard repayment plan is 10 years, but borrowers can work out plans to extend that in exchange for higher interest rates, the last thing someone in debt needs.
Optional accessories: the sinking feeling you'll never own a home.
4. A minifig caring for an elderly family member
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 40.4 million unpaid caregivers of adults over 65. 90% of that group are providing care for an elderly family member. These caregivers often balance full- or part-time jobs with their responsibilities, which often include housework, errands, home repair projects, and emotional support.
Optional accessories: a hug for doing something really hard, but really awesome.
5. A minifig who thinks foreign languages are great, but only speaks English
75% of Americans don't speak a second language, though 43% believe it's vital to know as many languages as possible. America: Do as we say, not as we do. And please do it in English so we know you're not making fun of us.
Optional accessories: an unopened, dusty Rosetta Stone box.
6. A minifig with little to no confidence in Congress
When asked in a Gallup poll how much confidence they had in Congress, 11% of respondents in 1973 said, "Very little." By 2014, that number had climbed to 50%. Ouch.
It might have something to do with their elected officials missing votes to run for president, holding exercises in political theater to promote their own agenda, and standing firm on their vow to avoid doing their jobs.
Optional accessories: voter registration card and protest sign.
Hats off to Lego for celebrating inclusivity and reflecting our changing world.
While some of these examples are a little tongue in cheek, I applaud Lego's sincere effort to push for inclusivity. Our diversity, culture, and traditions are what make us unique and what make life (and creative play) so compelling.
Here's to challenging norms and pushing for increased representation in all our toys and children's products.