Automoblox: cool idea, with an unfortunate gender-related flaw

Update: see comments for some corrections from the co-founder of Automoblox, which I will also include inline.

Reader James Sweet of No Jesus No Peas has discovered a bit of probably accidental sexism in a particularly innovative kids’ toy called Automoblox.

The toy concept is rather novel, as a sort of hybrid of LEGO and the good old fashioned wooden car, where kids might find something novel to do with them at many different stages in their development. The really young have a nice, sturdy toy car; as they develop, they might be inclined to take that car apart and put it together differently in mix-and-match ways, or just to explore shape recognition with the various sizes and shapes that each slot and tab has. With all the various parts that can be disassembled, from the car’s body in three sections, to the various interiors and hoods, to the little people to act as passengers, there’s practically no part of this toy in any of its incarnations that can’t be taken apart and put back together.

Evidently in the design process, though, nobody thought about what might happen if a kid decided to try to put one of the female passengers into the lefthand driver’s seat. It’s actually completely impossible to do so, owing largely to the rotational chirality of the female passengers’ slot-and-tabs. Note: this is apparently only true of the sportscar models, and other car models (and cars for other countries) include women in the driver’s seat by default.
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