Marvel/Disney and Their Continuing Inability to Market Female Characters

I went to Target today, and of course that entailed a trip through the toy department.  You may know that there’s a new set of Simpson’s Lego minifigs and I thought I’d pick up two more.  Having been there the other day, I wanted to snag a picture of a Marvel Super Heroes play set that I’d seen the other day.  It was this one…

Excuse me Wolverine, you aren’t even allowed to appear in Marvel Cinematic Universe films…WTF are you doing there?

Hey, there’s something weird about that.  It’s the Avengers…except with Armored Spider-Man and Wolverine.  Dude, Wolverine can’t even appear in Marvel Cinematic Universe movies!  Spider-Man will be making his MCU debut in Captain America: Civil War so maybe sorta kinda okay fine.  You know who I think is a Titan Hero?  Black Widow.  Where the hell is Black Widow?!

Nope.  No Black Widows here.  No Black Widow anywhere in fact.  Okay.  Whatever.

I sigh, having expected this, and move on.  But then I notice a female superhero in a series of figures called Marvel Legends.  Each figure comes with a few pieces of Galactus.  Presumably you can collect them all and build Galactus, which is pretty cool.  There was Superior Spider-Man…

I’m not sure what makes him superior.  Maybe he’s kind of a d-bag. In any case, there he is.  And there’s also Captain America…

So captain-y.  And look!  There’s Galactus’ leg!  Right, but the important thing is that there’s actually a female character too.  Check her out…

Hey I love…wait…what’s her name?  “Fierce Fighters”?  That doesn’t seem like a name.  And Captain America and Spider-Man aren’t translated into three other languages.  Who is this woman?!

Oh, Hellcat.  Cool.  You know what would have been even more cool?  PUTTING HER NAME ON THE FRONT OF THE FUCKING BOX..  I’m sorry.  I don’t mean to yell, it’s just that I’m so sick and fucking tired of Marvel/Disney merchandising ignoring and/or devaluing women.

Is my money not as green as everyone else’s?  I don’t know, I never use cash, but my point still stands.  Women spend money.  That’s a cliche about women that we spend money.  We spend money on our daughters too.  I don’t actually have a daughter, though.  I have a son and he’s a budding feminist.  When a man on Agent Carter told her she was pretty good “for a girl” (admittedly a pointed statement), my son was disgusted.  He said “why can’t he just say she did a good job.  She did a good job for anyone.”  I’d love to be able to reinforce that awareness through the toys that we buy.  Happily for me, he’s really into Legos and the Lego toys from the Marvel Universe do feature the female characters.  What if your kid is an action figure kid though?  Yeah.  It’s a problem.

Sure, there are people who – when faced with the fact that female characters are not on much of the apparel – say “but Redbubble.”  Yeah, Redbubble.  That’s great.  I’m not spending $25 on a t-shirt for my kid though.  That’s the point.  I don’t want Black Widow on merchandise for me.  I want it for my son.  I want my son to see that women are just as valuable as men.  I want my friends with daughters not to have to explain to their daughters why it is that Marvel and Disney don’t think that boys will want to play with female action figures.  Yeah, because the idea that girls might want to play with those action figures has never entered anyone’s head over at the Disney/Marvel merchandising department.

Hellcat didn’t rate a name on the front of the box.  It’s really like they’re trolling us at this point.


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