Marvel replaces Black Widow with Captain America for its toy line

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One of the coolest moments in Avengers: Age Of Ultron features Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow dropping out of a Quinjet on a motorcycle before cruising off to kick some ass.

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For its toy line, however, Marvel decided that moment would be a little cooler if a dude did it. So the Hasbro and Lego Quinjet toys put Captain America on the motorcycle instead of Widow.

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Meanwhile the Mattel version features Iron Man for some reason.

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In other words, not only is Black Widow ridiculously underrepresented in Avengers merchandise—she’s also actively erased from her own scenes. Well done Marvel.

[h/t The A.V. Club]

Notable Replies

  1. There's been an ongoing observation that Disney has a weird attitude toward female heroes in Marvel things; Gamora was cut out of a lot of the Guardians of the Galaxy merch. There are a few potential explanations for this:

    • The merchandising executives feel that boys (or the people who buy those toys, for children) won't want female heroes in their merch or toys. This may or may not be based on focus group testing or whatnot. What that might say about our society, how gender roles are taught and/or enforced, etc. is a big topic.
    • As noted by Gamen, Disney has a big investment in their Princesses line and probably thinks of superheroes as being toy parity for the boys and not being "for" girls. Again, what this says about the stereotyping of gender roles and gendered play (especially by Disney marketing executives) is a big topic.
    • Disney may have given merchandising responsibilities for Marvel merch to veterans from the comics industry, with its legendarily crappy treatment of both female characters and female employees.

    Also:

    Ah ha ha ha no. Even at a tiny fraction, if it's that, you would be talking about millions in profits. And it's Disney that's in charge, and they both know and care quite a lot about their merch.

  2. Ah! Children's marketing strikes again!

    You see, if your toy is labelled as "for boys," there won't be any girls on it. Disney has decided that princesses are for girls and superheroes are for boys and that this is how they'll be telling children that the world works.

    It's seriously about time someone did a deep dive into the weird world of hyper-gendered kids toys. This is part of why we have shit like GamerGate today - an entire industry built around reinforcing tired gender stereotypes for pure sales demographic reasons, that has been doing this since before you were born.

    Get on that Caroline. smile

  3. Oh no, someone writing a comment on a website doesn't understand how the systematic exclusion of female characters from toy lines influences gender norms for children who get those toys.

    This is not about realism, it's about companies being deeply conservative in their gendered marketing of toys, and how that serves to limit children in ways that is not at all helpful for anyone.

  4. What you're actually proving is that the sexism goes much deeper and has been much more of a long-term issue than just a current line of toys.

    Which should hardly need any more proof by this point, but thanks anyway.

    (Did you know there are multiple studies that show that boys are still more likely to get an allowance than girls, and that even when girls get one, it tends to be lower? But maybe there's a perfectly good, totally non-sexist, absolutely rational market-based reason for that.)

  5. Why would girls/women "support this industry" when there are "so, so few female leads with their own long running series"? You've reversed -- or at least grossly over-simplified -- cause and effect.

    The industry has made money despite ignoring large potential audiences, not because they did. And as the industry is (slowly) dealing with its sexism (and racism and etc), sales are growing.

Continue the discussion bbs.boingboing.net

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