Lego star Abbi Jacobson says Ninjago gender balance ‘sucks'
Abbi Jacobson, who voices the only ninja girl in the new Lego film, has admitted the gender ratio in the movie is a problem.
The Broad City star plays Nya, the sole female in the group of six child heroes in The Lego Ninjago Movie.
Jacobson, 33, criticised the balance of males and females in the group, but said she prides the character on being a positive role model for children.
“The cast of this movie is like incredible and so it’s so fun to play off all these guys but it kind of does suck the ratio, that’s kind of unfortunate,” she told the Press Association.
“But I think that at least within this character she really holds her own and I don’t think she’s seen as the girl, she’s super confident and so I’m really proud to play the one girl.”
She said she hopes her nieces, two and four, will be able to see the character as a positive role model.
“I feel like she’s an amazing role model for not just young girls but young boys too,” she said.
The characters in the third film of the franchise are based on the six main ninjas in the Ninjago series of toys.
A Lego spokesman said the Danish manufacturer tries to make characters for all children.
“When developing play themes for children, we do not have a specific target for gender balance – but we seek to ensure that all children can find relevant characters of both genders they can identify with,” he said.
“Lego Ninjago was developed based on insights about how children play and we know that both boys and girls find it very interesting. The six ninja heroes were chosen based on test feedback.”
Chi Onwurah, a Labour MP who previously held a Westminster debate on gender-specific marketing of toys, said the disparity in Ninjago was “really disappointing” particularly after Lego said it would address previous criticism.
“This seems to suggest that their ‘enlightenment’ was very superficial,” she said.
Lego, one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers, previously faced accusations of sexist marketing.
In 2011, 90% of its users were male but sales soared 25% two years later after designing blocks targeted at girls with its Friends series.
After criticism of the range for featuring women living a life of leisure, Lego released three female scientists in its Research Institute range.
:: The Lego Ninjago Movie is out in UK cinemas on October 13.