What do you buy the female scientist who has everything?
A few days ago I noticed a news clip in the London Evening Standard, mentioning that a new line of Lego featuring women researchers had sold out within hours of being offered for purchase online.
These are glad tidings, given that Lego has previously sustained complaints for sexist stereotyping in its toys. I myself felt physically ill the last time I passed one of Lego’s horrid pink and purple collections aimed at little girls. Having grown up with Lego back when it was just primary-colored bricks and I could play at architect instead of bikini-clad sunbathing bimbo, I felt that the company had left me, and probably many kids, far behind.
While all is not totally forgiven, I was cheered by this news. I also secretly wanted to own the collection, but assumed it would be too difficult to get a hold of.
This evening, as a wedding anniversary present, Richard surprised me (after a long, dispiriting and existentially tenuous day at work) with my very own box!
And it’s no exaggeration to say that I was as excited as an undergraduate lab intern trying on her first white coat. I can’t wait to assemble them all – a chemist, a paleontologist, and an astronomer. And I am especially excited by the accessories – check out these itty-bitty Gilson pipettors!
It was Richard who first noticed one of the best features of this ingenious set: the scientist heads are reversible, so you can have them display either a studious/benevolent expression, or one that is considerably vexed at the nonstop vicissitudes of the scientific life. Just pulled an all-nighter, only to drop your beaker on the floor in the morning from sheer exhaustion? Just found out that your grant application was rejected – for the fifth time – or that Nature wants you to do so many revisions that it would take approximately thirty years to satisfy the referees? No problem – there’s a scowl for every occasion.
And for that rare Eureka moment? A slightly skeptical twitch of a smile that almost dares not linger, lest the whole intellectual edifice come crashing down.