Four to one. That’s the ratio of male to female actors included in the June 2020 analysis of “Which Actor has the most minifigures?” on Brickset. The article profiles actors, both live action and voice, who have more than two minifigures of themselves as any character they’ve played. According to Brickset, the qualifications specifically state that “multiple minifigures of the same character are not counted, unless they appear in different media.” The lists are full of well known Hollywood stars, however there is a lack of female stars present.
There are many other groups are underrepresented in this actor minifigure list. This article only examines binary gender representation. There are also no Gender Non Conforming actors on these lists, which makes the data only binary. First, let’s examine live action actors. The list contains 33 individuals, 27 of which are male actors and 6 are female actors. This breaks down to a disappointing 18.2% female characters.
The list of voice actors has nearly four times as many people however, the ratio of male to female characters is strikingly the same. Again, there are approximately four times as many male characters represented compared to female characters.
This is just the most recent analysis. Brickset has done this analysis every two years since 2016 – what does it look like over time? Unfortunately, things haven’t changed much. Both graphs below show that the number of franchise minifigs has increased over the last four years, but the ratio of male to female characters has plateaued at approximately four to one.
A compelling reason for this gender disparity is that these lists only include actors with “two or more minifigures”. This means that any actor that only has one minifigure has been left off the list, and it’s unknown what the level of gender disparity would be as a result. However to gain true gender equality for this level of analysis, there would have to be at 21 more live action and 70 more voice female characters before adding any male characters.
Another reason is beyond LEGO, and lies in the roots of the franchises themselves. According to Dr. Martha Lauzen at the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television, in 2019 women protagonists were featured in only 40% of top grossing films. This is “a historic high” however there is still a long way to go . However, LEGO is not entirely innocent here either. In their own movies, there are twice as many male main characters as there are female main characters (21 main male characters to 10 main female characters). Furthermore, none of the LEGO movies star a main solo female character. Although within their movies the female to male ratio is higher than their ratio of minifigure creation, it is still not equal.
LEGO minifigures need to become more equal in representation of all forms. With the release of CMF Series 20, LEGO has shown that they are moving in the direction of binary gender equality, however they are not there yet. The pressure needs to be put on LEGO and Hollywood to showcase more diverse actors in lead roles.