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#2363 DISCUSSION: Representation in LEGO Hairpieces

Hairpieces have been a part of the LEGO minifigure from the beginning. Today, there are hundreds of hairpieces to choose from when creating a character in minifigure form. But is there representation for all kinds of hair? Let’s take a look at LEGO hairpieces of all kinds! 

Tips & Bricks #2363 DISCUSSION: Representation in LEGO Hairpieces Do you know the joy of finding the exact right hairpiece for your sigfig? The perfect hairstyle can really bring a minifigure to life! But not everyone can find the right hairpiece to adorn their sigfig’s head. Today, we’re looking at the types of hair that have been represented by LEGO hairpieces. Is there a LEGO hairpiece out there for you? Let’s get into some hair! Images of DreamZzz minifigures and Vidiyo Robot minifigure.

History of LEGO Hairpieces In 1975, minifigures either had pigtails (red, white or black) or wore a hat. The classic Hair Male Smooth hairpiece became available four years later.  In early LEGO sets, male-presenting minifigures often wore a hat, which identified their jobs. Female-presenting characters were left with a hairpiece. The only not-white hairstyles options came in the '90s in sets appropriating native American cultures. They were only available in 10 sets. At the start of the new millennium, LEGO needed more choices. Can you guess which themes came to the rescue? Images of minifigures from 1975, 6622 Mailman on Motorcycle, native American minifigures from the 1990s, and related minifigure hairpieces.

New hairpieces were created for two big IPs: Star Wars and Harry Potter. Harry Potter and Star Wars gave us the first gray hairpieces. The first black-coded hairpiece came with the Alpha Team series and was also used in the NBA theme (along with the first heads with printed hair!) In 2008, the Indiana Jones theme introduced the iconic bob cut. CMFs in 2011 and 2012 featured the first afro and knot bun. Many more hair textures, styles, and colours have been introduced over the past decade. However, hair and hat combos, as well as bald tops, are still pretty rare. Images of minifigures from Harry Potter, Star Wars, Alpha Team, NBA, Indiana Jones, and CMF series with hairpieces.

Representation What types of hair do LEGO hairpieces currently represent?  A really solid group of hairpieces depict the hair textures of dark-skinned people! After the afro hairpiece in 2012 there was a pretty consistent flow of various curly, braided, coiled, tousled, and spiked hairstyles, as well as hair with locs, updos, and upper-cuts. The diverse line up of Friends sets produced many of these new hairpieces. The theme also popularized soft rubber moulds, which gave LEGO more opportunities in terms of adding details. Images of minifigures and minidolls with various hairstyles.

Ninjago, Spring Festival and Monkie Kid sets have given us many hairpieces depicting People of Color from Asia and with Asian heritage. They are also a lot of fun! A CMF in 2015 included the Snake Charmer,  making a turban piece more available. People with colourful, funky and edgy hairstyles also have a lot of options to choose from! 2024 brought us two hairpieces with cochlear implants— short and long. Images of minifigures from Ninjago, Spring Festival, CMF series, and minifigures and minidolls with various fun hairpieces.

Even with so many options, there are still people who can't find their hair attire within the hairpieces LEGO provides. Hijabs and head-covering scarfs can be found in LEGO marketing materials, but they barely made their way onto minifigures’ heads. The only options available are repurposed hoods from older sets (where they were mostly used as a “bad guy” accessory). Image of LEGO ad featuring a woman with a hijab hugging a child, reading “Get the world ready for girls”. Image of minifigures from Prince of Persia, 2010. Although this talented artist made his beads using LEGO, there are no hairpieces with beads that minifigures can wear. Image of @magnusjuliano’s LEGO hair beads. The only option for hair with braids traditional to Native American culture is Echo’s hairpiece from 2024’s Marvel CMF series, and since it’s a depiction of a licensed character, it’s pretty specific. Image of Echo minifigure and hairpiece.

What else is missing from the LEGO hairpiece collection? The selection of balding hairpieces is really limited, and there are no hairpieces for shaved/bald heads that are not male-coded. The only option is leaving the head with an open stud on top, which makes it look different than other minifigures. Images of two bald minifigures and a bald minidoll. Hairpieces with a molded hat are also pretty rare and limited. We would love to have more options for people who wear hats that don’t completely cover their hair.  Hat and hair combo associated with certain professions are especially rare, which also makes it harder for long-haired minifigures to work in LEGO City (and as many women wear their hair long, it can make the workplace fairly sexist). The Friends line is responsible for many hat with hair combos, and we love it!  Images of several minifigures and minidolls with hat and hair combo headpieces.

Can Hair Represent Identity? This is a topic that we have discussed before. Is LEGO doing a good job representing People of Color in minifigure form? We tackled this topic in a two-part post: Why Are Most Minifigures Yellow? (#2247 and #2284). Images of Tips & Bricks posts #2247 and #2284. One of the solutions that LEGO uses to bring more diversity to its non-licensed sets (which only have yellow minifigures) is to include a broad range of hairstyles. This strategy is responsible for the introduction of different hairstyles that depict the ethnicity of the wearer—and we appreciate it. But is this enough? Images of City minifigures. People can have multiple hairstyles! And many people don’t wear their hair with their natural texture and colour. Using only hair to depict someone’s ethnicity is a tricky thing to do.  Can children look at a yellow minifigure with a hairstyle depicting a specific ethnicity and see a Person of Color in their minds? Can they see themselves?

A good example of this issue is in the recent hit non-licensed series DreamZzz. The theme is accompanied by a television series, where the characters are described as a Latino family living in USA. There are Matteo, Lizzie, their father Jose, and Mrs. Castillo, who operate a burrito van. We can find several cultural indicators in the series that show they are in fact people of Hispanic heritage. We love that LEGO is making its content more ethnically and culturally diverse! But does this identity translate when the characters are simply viewed as minifigures? Image from the TV series showing DreamZzz minifigures. We think that ethnically-specific hairpieces are not enough for these minifigures to be read as the ethnicity they are meant to be. What do you think? Are there any hairpieces that you wish LEGO would produce? Let us know in the comments!


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