More Than Special Editions

I shop at Target all the time.  Let’s get that out of the way.

The other day I was at Target, buying their special edition of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (ps. I found the packaging disappointingly basic), and while I was there I figured I’d check out the action figures.  A month or so ago I started building my Lady Empowerment Shrine, which is a section of my bookshelf full of feminist literature and woman action figures and Lego figures to pump me up when I’m feeling down.  So whenever I’m out and about anywhere that might have a fun addition to my shelf, I look around.  Besides, Target’s ad displayed some new Star Wars merch which included a Rey figure with her jacket on and lightsaber out.  Clearly I would love that.

Unfortunately, my Target doesn’t have it.  In fact, there are no Rey figures left AT ALL.  She’s totally sold out.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the whole point of capitalism was to make money.

 

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The “Shut Up and Take My Money” Theory of Economics, if you will.

When I say “shut up and take my money,” I do actually expect you to have something for me in exchange.  The problem isn’t necessarily just not having the toys, though, it’s something else.

It’s whether I can really justify spending the money on them.  Take the Rey action figure that I have, for instance.  She is part of some special series of action figures and was thus $19.99. Now, I am not a wealthy woman.  I cannot go spending $20 a pop on every awesome lady action figure in the store, which is what stopped my purchasing three different Marvel action figures.  There is a similarly special series of action figures among the Marvel merchandise which includes Scarlett Witch, White Tiger, and Captain Marvel.  Any of these ladies would make kick-ass additions to my shelf.  If I want to make those additions, however, I will have to spend $19.99 per lady.

It’s not that I wouldn’t love to have them.  The problem is that these are the only available options in front of me in a sea of male action figures from Marvel and Disney.  When I look around, I see multiple sizes and series of action figures of different price points as low as $4.99.  And this, of course, mitigated my excitement about this…

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I mean, awesome, right?  There’s Black Widow.  Finally.  She made it into a collection.  It’s pretty exciting.  Except let’s zoom out…

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See what I’m saying?  Did you get it? I’ll give you a second.

There is no stand-alone Black Widow figure.  And before you ask, no, that empty spot isn’t for her.  I checked.  The price tag above it says “Spiderman”.  If you want Black Widow, you’re going to have to shell out $44.99.  I mean, Black Widow is an important enough character to merit this…

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…but not like, so important that there needs to be an action figure about it apparently.

You know, a couple weeks ago I was really excited to see Wonder Woman in a character collection as well as standalone Wonder Woman figures.  I bought a cool die-cast Wonder Woman.  They’re all gone now.  Presumably sold, because a bunch of unsold Batmans and Supermans are still hanging out.  What I’m pointing out is that we will buy this merchandise.

Give us options.  Give our female characters the wide variety of merchandise that male characters get.  I promise you’ll make even more obscene amounts of money than you’re already making.

 

 

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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.