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