As a little girl who played with Princess Leia action figures and a ray gun instead of Barbies, gender bias in toy sales is pretty frustrating. Now, I’m talking about back when the first “Star Wars” film came out. We poor young ladies in the ’70s had so little if we liked sci-fi. It’s so much better today … yeah, I’m lying. It’s shocking to realize how little has changed.
When “Guardians of the Galaxy” came out a few months ago, trying to find Gamora toys was an impossible task. When you looked up shirts and backpacks with the team, guess who was missing. Try to find a Groot or Starlord toy, the variety was fantastic. Look for Gamora? There were three, and one of them was part of a set. The hashtag #WheresGamora was born, which started up a whole new discussion — or opened a can of worms.
All of a sudden we saw things like shirts for young girls that said, “Training to be Batman’s Wife” and DC’s shirts for men that said, “I Want to Be a Hero” and the female counterpart that said, “I Need a Hero.” Even “Star Wars Rebels,” which has some strong female characters brought out the figures of the male characters first. It’s a sad commentary on how Hollywood sees their female fans. About half of the moviegoers who saw “Guardians” opening weekend were women.
It’s frustrating that, though there are hundreds of thousands of female geeks out there (and non-geeks who just really like comic book movies), and studios and marketing don’t seem to realize it. That rubs off on kids. We do have people like Ashley Eckstein (voice of Ahsoka Tano in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) who started Her Universe, a place for geek lady clothing and all the lovely people creating things like stuffed Black Widow plushies, dancing Groot-in-a-pot headbands and gender-swapped Han Solo hoodies. What we need now is the powers-that-be to remember that some ladies don’t really care for pink pony tiaras and giant big-eyed wasp-waisted Princesses, and some gentlemen do. We don’t want to be put in a box. Well, unless it’s a Black Edition Boba Fett action figure box. Totally put me in that one.
You’ll often hear studio people say it’s all about money. Well, I have money. Marvel, take it! I have it right here in my hand and I’m willing to buy. See it, all pretty and green? I’m not the only one. We female geeks are legion and we want you to hear us! Are you really afraid of Gamora and Black Widow figures sitting on the shelf? Don’t worry. They’ll all end up on my desk.