A comic titled “LEGO Friends” recently went viral, striking a chord with people by humorously pointing out that girls don’t need a separate line of LEGO toys. No, no—girls just need better female representation within existing LEGO sets:
I was so taken by how well this cartoon encapsulates so many parents’ and advocates’ position on the unnecessary gendering of children’s toys—a topic I address in detail in my book, The Princess Problem—that I reached out to the cartoon’s creator, Maritsa Patrinos, to learn more about her work.
Maritsa is illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY who grew up just outside of Washington, DC and went to Pratt Institute to study illustration. Since graduating in 2010, she’s worked on staff at Marvel Comics, made backgrounds for a Cartoon Network show called MAD, and has worked in different editorial jobs, including a couple New Yorker comics. For the past three years, she’s also done the cartooning and animation for the shows “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom 2″ on MTV.
REBECCA HAINS: Your LEGO Friends cartoon has clearly struck a chord with people, and as someone who does work in this area, it’s been really gratifying to me as a bystander to see your piece go viral—as of this writing, it’s been reached by 106,304 people from my facebook page alone. The traction it has gained is really impressive. Can you tell me what inspired you to create this cartoon?
RH: You’re clearly a talented illustrator, and you’ve been posting comics to your site SeasonalDepressionComic.com since 2009, covering a pretty wide range of topics. How do you usually choose topics for your cartoons? What inspires you?
RH: Have any of your other posts gone viral like this one?
RH: What kinds of feedback have you been receiving from people about your LEGO Friends cartoon? What would you say the balance has been between supportive comments and comments that are critical in some way?
Rebecca Hains, Ph.D. is a media studies professor at Salem State University and the author of The Princess Problem: Guiding Our Girls Through the Princess-Obsessed Years, a book meant to help parents raise empowered, media-literate daughters.
Rebecca would like to thank Maritsa Patrinos for taking the time to be interviewed for this blog, and would like to note that Maritsa is also available for freelance work! Be sure to check out Maritsa’s impressive portfolio.