Six-Year-Old Upset By Lack of Female Friendly Avengers Toys

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Six-Year-Old Upset By Lack of Female Friendly Avengers Toys

Six-year-old Riley says toy makers act "like Black Widow doesn't even exist."

We're just going to put this out there: toys for girls suck. Even setting aside the blatant gender stereotyping that often defines toys marketed to young girls, the overwhelming presence of the color pink in the girl's section of most toy stores is, quite simply, an affront to children everywhere. As six year old Riley puts it, "It's not fair!" Riley, who gained attention in 2011 for a video of her expressing her distaste of princess toys, recently returned to the internet with a new video lamenting the lack of Black Widow merchandise in the wake of 2012's The Avengers.

"It's like Black Widow doesn't even exist," she says in the video. "They think that boys wouldn't want to play with a girl action figure and that girls wouldn't want to play with boy action figures...The messages the toy stores are telling us are wrong." While Riley's statements have some factual errors (there is a Black Widow action figure), her complaints extend beyond her inability to find a particular toy. She also takes exception to the fact that Black Widow, hardly a minor character in the film, fails to appear on the bulk of the toy packaging. Unless you're buying the actual Black Widow action figure, the packaging doesn't acknowledge that there's a female member of the Avengers.

While this might seem a trivial issue to some Riley's frustrations are far from isolated and, to an extent, demonstrate some of the consequences of the continued gendering of toys that began in the 1950s and hasn't evolved much in the decades since. In the least, Riley is in good company with her complaints. Joss Whedon, the writer and director of The Avengers, expressed similar sentiments about the lack of female heroes in film and toys earlier this year.

Source: The Mary Sue

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A Black Widow action figure that includes not one but two guns - whats the betting parents would be moaning about it if it had been included in the advertising?

"Damn toys glorifying guns again!"

(Yes, I'm aware she uses guns in the film. But then common sense has hardly been the strong point of "Think o' the children types")

Hm. Fair point, none of the siblings I live with engage in such toys anymore, so I'm rather in the dark, but it seems to me there's no reason to not move to a general 50/50 gender split in toys. Although not in the realm of toys, Avatar (The Last Airbender), while still a childrens show, had damn near a hard 50/50 split on gender, and every kid I know seems to adore the show, seeming to imply that there's not even a loss in money either.

They couldn't figure out how to make her ass visible from all directions at once.

Last i checked most guys are more than happy to be considered female friendly. Iron man especially. What is she complaining about?

Seriously... the fact that she isnt on the BOX is a problem?

Fuck the PC brigade, Nick Fury and Hawk Eye arent on the box's either even though their action figures exist..

The four main heros and Loki are the focus of the action figures, not the supporting characters.

Not surprising. Not only because Avengers is generally aimed towards boys, but also because Black Widow happens to be one of the least marketable heroes in the set (everyone knows who the Hulk, Captain America and Iron Man are, but Black Widow?)

Woo, right on sister! Death to the manfolk and all that. They can take our high paying jobs but they'll never have a monopoly on all the cool action figures! *burns bra*

For realsies, that Black Widow toy is kind of ugly looking. And I don't remember her using a four foot grappling hook in the film. Then again, I don't remember Iron Man having an electrified sawblade or Captain America using a bazooka that fire shields. What does Hulk get? Nothing but the shorts on his butt. If anyone should be pissed about inequality in toys it's the giant green rage monsters.

I remember growing up, I would avoid the girl's toy section at all costs. All that pink couldn't be healthy for a boy, right?

Ahem. Serious time, now.

In the end, this is probably not malicious intent, so much as companies attempting to maximize profits. Not really sure what can be done for the girl. I guess she can use her imagination or play with male action figures. It would be nice if she could have what she wants, but sometimes life isn't fair.

VonKlaw:
A Black Widow action figure that includes not one but two guns - whats the betting parents would be moaning about it if it had been included in the advertising?

"Damn toys glorifying guns again!"

(Yes, I'm aware she uses guns in the film. But then common sense has hardly been the strong point of "Think o' the children types")

OT: I agree. Female characters should get more attention in the comic world, as even main, self-standingfemale characters are made into supports whenever anyone male is around, and if not that, then either wildly over-sexualised, or they're token :female empowerment" characters that feel like those awkward Green Lantern and Luke Cage comics from the 80's that were all Black Panther and Black Powery and obviously written by white dudes trying their best to force diversity, while inadvertently coming across as cringeworthily racist.
Seriously, the only exceptions I can think of are Scandal Savage, who's too obscure for action figures, Alana from Saga, who isn't really actiony enough for toys, and Amanda Waller, who is fat.

Well at least she's learning at an early age that the western comic book/movie industry is not pandering towards her. Means good things for the anime/manga industry though.

How many takes do you think it took before she got it right? Seriously, it's a bit exploitative. It's wrong that toys are not more gender neutral. No one could disagree more than myself. I might have kids one day and I'll be damned if I'll let my son or daughter get shoehorned into some gender role. Boy or girl, it doesn't matter, they are gonna beat ass when they have to. That said, there is no way this girl is herself complaining. She is 6 years old. Mom and dad are sitting there filling her still developing brain with crap. It's OK if she just plays with toys, the lesson should be that she can play with any toy because it doesn't matter what gender she is, she can play with what she wants. But no, it's gotta be that they didn't pimp out the Black Widow character on the boxes like they did with all the other boxes.

/EndRANT

MrGalactus:
and Amanda Waller, who is fat.

Not in the reboot. Can't have fat women in comics anymore, it seems.

While we are at it, though, pre-reboot Birds of Prey and Cassandra Cain were decent female characters, but they fixed this with the new 52.

Ah, yes, Joss Whedon lamenting the poor, downtrodden women.

Pepper Potts in Daisy Dukes, Maria Hill's uniform includes platforms and Black Widow's wiles consist specifically of being as sexy as possible at all times while appearing nice and intimidatable.

Joss Whedon can bite me for his fucking crocodile tears for women.

Topic: it's going to be a long road before we're normalized between girls' and boys' toys. And while I was growing up, I did very often lament that girls' toys' backstories were lame as hell (I was more than once caught borrowing my brothers' Thundercats action figures, but that dates me, I'm sure). Someday it'll be all right for kids to play with whatever the hell they want, but that day will come when it's profitable to sell any toy to both ends of the spectrum.

I'm as supportive of gender equality as the next reasonable guy, that said, I bet you that stuffed animal was her reward for this little performance.

One more thing, who the hell really cares about any of the non-super powered characters in the Avengers, anyway? It's all about Captain America, Iron Man (the suit is a super power, shut up), Thor, the Hulk and Loki, everyone else should consider themselves lucky to be included at all. Why should the stores line their shelves with the action figure nobody would buy if they had the option of purchasing any of the more important character instead.

And this is why we can't have nice things.
I am starting to think it is genetically/biologically impossible for modern humans to just be humans, and stop bringing this crap up. This, is newsworthy? Some little girl from no-one-caresville is upset over a toy? Give me a break. Stop analyzing every single thing you can, looking for sexism. People are people. No one deserves to be treated like shit, but true equality means, everyone gets treated like shit. Equality means you no longer get special interest groups, or special rights, equality means no chivalry, equality means neither sex is subordinate, but that neither sex gets any sort of courtesy either.

Show me a so called gender rights activist who wants to see the good go out the window with the bad, and Ill sign on. Until then, this is so much empty talk, and so much money-scrounging. These people's true loyalties dont like with their genders, their morals, nor their supposed idealism, it lies with snuffing up some drama to get some pay.

To be fair though, I dont expect any better from the Escapist. We literally are incapable of letting any, ANY, gender story slide, no matter how silly, or outright batshit. If it relates to a grrl, the Escapist is alllllll over that badboy.

DVS BSTrD:
They couldn't figure out how to make her ass visible from all directions at once.

Truly this is one of the greatest mysteries of our time.

CriticalMiss:
If anyone should be pissed about inequality in toys it's the giant green rage monsters.

Sooooo people like Riley? *drum rimshot* Hey-ooooooooh! Heh heh, sorry couldn't resist. I'm just joking, to be clear. :P

MrGalactus:

I second this motion. Look, I know that you've gotta pay the bills around here and ad space is a fantastic way to do that, but the damn thing is broken...badly. It never "updates' properly so it just sits there even as your textbox is expanding, inevitably leading to it taking up a large portion of your textbox. REALLY frickin' annoying. If you can't do away with it, someone should REALLY look into at least fixing it.

OT: Minor Character is Minor Character. Granted she's the one who actually, physically closes the portal but beyond that......what does she do in the movie again? Finds out that Loki intends to unleash the Hulk which.....doesn't prevent the Hulk from getting loose on the airship? She goes to recruit the Hulk in the first place? Well I guess someone had to go and get him...beyond that she is the picture definition of "minor character". When she gets her own movie, then she can be featured on the toy boxes like the 4 heroes that DO have their own movies, until then she should be glad she got a toy in the first place.

I'm not saying that in the grander scheme of things there shouldn't be more "action" toys marketed towards girls, but let's face it: when people think "The Avengers", they think of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and The Hulk. Hawk Eye and Black Widow are really just tag-alongs. I'd go so far as saying that Hawk Eye would be the Vegeta and Black Widow would be the Krillin of the Avengers movie universe. Beyond that, action figures for girls would be an extremely niche market. I'm sure there's plenty of girls out there that would like some form of GI Joe-like toy marketed towards them, but I bet there's a whole lot more that do just want to be pretty-pretty princesses riding My Little Ponies.

(Edit: This post has been edited due to a misplaced sentence that needed to be moved.)

VonKlaw:
A Black Widow action figure that includes not one but two guns - whats the betting parents would be moaning about it if it had been included in the advertising?

"Damn toys glorifying guns again!"

(Yes, I'm aware she uses guns in the film. But then common sense has hardly been the strong point of "Think o' the children types")

Yeah parents would be flipping the fuck out in the US.

Soccer moms on fox all day every day.

Then commercials about supporting the troops.

Saltyk:
I remember growing up, I would avoid the girl's toy section at all costs. All that pink couldn't be healthy for a boy, right?

Ahem. Serious time, now.

In the end, this is probably not malicious intent, so much as companies attempting to maximize profits. Not really sure what can be done for the girl. I guess she can use her imagination or play with male action figures. It would be nice if she could have what she wants, but sometimes life isn't fair.

Profits are always the answer. Because most company owners (and defenders of capitalism) don't see anything beyond that.

Even though there really really really really really really really should be something more.

But some folks like soulless money making because they think that someday they'll be doing it I guess.

Oh boo fucking hoo. This is getting droll pretty damn fast.

How dare a comic series aimed mostly at males for a good 60 years have mostly male characters in the primary roles!

We need more exposure for Ken in the Barbie doll lines. We need some Ken action figures, not dress up Kens. "But Barbie isn't aimed at boys" too fucking right. And Avengers is aimed at boys.

Or is nothing allowed to be aimed at men these days? Apart from guns, apparently.

The kid has a point.

You know how hard it was to find a Pink Samurai Ranger last Christmas? One without the ugly Mega Mode armor? My lil' sister ended up with the Red Ranger...because there there were two dozens of Red/Blue/Green at every store.

DVS BSTrD:
They couldn't figure out how to make her ass visible from all directions at once.

chuckled at this.

RJ 17:

I'm not saying that in the grander scheme of things there shouldn't be more "action" toys marketed towards girls, but let's face it: when people think "The Avengers", they think of Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and The Hulk. Hawk Eye and Black Widow are really just tag-alongs. I'd go so far as saying that Hawk Eye would be the Vegeta and Black Widow would be the Krillin of the Avengers movie universe. Beyond that, action figures for girls would be an extremely niche market. I'm sure there's plenty of girls out there that would like some form of GI Joe-like toy marketed towards them, but I bet there's a whole lot more that do just want to be pretty-pretty princesses riding My Little Ponies.

while i agree with this (note, there is no hawkeye on the action figure background thing) i can't believe you are comparing vegeta to hawkeye, HE IS THE PRINCE OF ALL SAIYANS.

but really, i'm not sure how much of a "HAHAHA LITTLE GIRLS SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO HAVE FEMALE PROTAGONIST TOYS!" this is rather than a "super power ass kicking motherfuckers? hell yeah your selling those toys"

still, i dont' see why she shouldnt be on all the boxes if she has her own action figure, plus she was in the movie and in others.

captcha: face the music

BUT I DON'T WANT TO CAPTCHA.

gmaverick019:
Snip.

Incidentally, that's one of my favorite parts from one of my favorite episodes. Really gotta respect how he knows full well that he's just a punchingbag for Kid Buu, yet time and time again he gets up even more pissed off than before. I just love that line "What are YOU gawking at?!" when Kid Buu's got a look on his face like "Holy shit, you've GOT to be kidding me!"

RJ 17:

gmaverick019:
Snip.

Incidentally, that's one of my favorite parts from one of my favorite episodes. Really gotta respect how he knows full well that he's just a punchingbag for Kid Buu, yet time and time again he gets up even more pissed off than before. I just love that line "What are YOU gawking at?!" when Kid Buu's got a look on his face like "Holy shit, you've GOT to be kidding me!"

haha damn straight! no shame that i still get chills hearing that part, I used to hate vegeta growing up but he's really grown on me these past few years, the prideful bastard.

This is one of the reasons I have to give the Star Wars toy makers props. They make an action figure for every single damned character, even if nobody gives a crap about them. Remember that one guy from that one scene that didn't have any lines but he popped up for like 2 seconds? Here, have an action figure of him!

Though to be honest, it is a little messed up that Black Widow didn't get a figure or anything. Granted, she's not one of the main four, but she still managed to kick tons of ass in the movie. She was about half as useless as I thought she was gonna be.

Unless they somehow weren't able to get the rights to Scarlett Johansson's likeness or something, but I'm pretty sure that's included in the movie contract somewhere.

She definitely has a valid point when it comes to the way toy execs treat female characters in properties they see as being 'for boys' (see also: Avatar The Last Airbender merchandise).

That said, I don't think that labeling everything now stereotyped feminine as 'bad' and presenting what is currently stereotyped 'masculine' as the better alternative is really very progressive. Some of you write like the last three decades of academic discourse on gender never happened. Shame on you.

Also, I kind of wish people would have written news stories about my opinion when I was a six year old boy who wanted to play with Barbies and princesses.

I'm with this girl. I want my Cobie Smulders doll dammit.

Saltyk:
I remember growing up, I would avoid the girl's toy section at all costs. All that pink couldn't be healthy for a boy, right?

I avoided that section too...and it was supposed to be FOR me. Honestly it IS kinda sad. I used to collect power rangers, transformers and have them ride my little ponies. I was all inclusive baby.

Some variance of colour wouldn't go amiss, and the idea that 'girls are attracted to pink or pastel' is only as ingrained as society believes that 'that's the way it is'.

Girls are attracted to all sorts of colours, it's just that pink has been delegated to girls and boys are made to feel as though they must avoid it (for some *cough* asinine reason)...

Waste of a good colour. And honestly I'm not it's biggest fan either but... still.

Mahorfeus:
This is one of the reasons I have to give the Star Wars toy makers props. They make an action figure for every single damned character, even if nobody gives a crap about them. Remember that one guy from that one scene that didn't have any lines but he popped up for like 2 seconds? Here, have an action figure of him!

Though to be honest, it is a little messed up that Black Widow didn't get a figure or anything. Granted, she's not one of the main four, but she still managed to kick tons of ass in the movie. She was about half as useless as I thought she was gonna be.

Unless they somehow weren't able to get the rights to Scarlett Johansson's likeness or something, but I'm pretty sure that's included in the movie contract somewhere.

Except that's wrong and there is a Black Widow figure. She's just not on the logo at the top of the box.

It's kind of sad how much they minimized her and Hawkeye in the movie, I've always been kind of fond of "badass normal" characters.

Not enough good toys for girls is certainly an issue, just as much so as the fact there are no boys toys that are "girly" in any way. You like ponys? Fag. You like dolls? What a gay fairy. You have a barbie with ken? Ultra gay.

RJ 17:
I'd go so far as saying that Hawk Eye would be the Vegeta and Black Widow would be the Krillin of the Avengers movie universe.

While I mostly agree with your point, I will completely disagree with your DBZ analogy. Vegeta is very important to the series. That was a common complaint, that the Saiyans were taking up all the screen time. A better comparison would be to say that Hawkeye is Yamcha or Tien, one of those normal guys that find themselves increasingly useless in the face of Saiyans who could blow up the planet if they wanted.

Kamille Bidan:

RJ 17:
I'd go so far as saying that Hawk Eye would be the Vegeta and Black Widow would be the Krillin of the Avengers movie universe.

While I mostly agree with your point, I will completely disagree with your DBZ analogy. Vegeta is very important to the series. That was a common complaint, that the Saiyans were taking up all the screen time. A better comparison would be to say that Hawkeye is Yamcha or Tien, one of those normal guys that find themselves increasingly useless in the face of Saiyans who could blow up the planet if they wanted.

To be fair, I do get where you're coming from, but my comparison was really on a general level. Vegeta was a bad guy that turns good, just like Hawkeye. Granted, Hawkeye was a good guy before he became a bad guy that became a good guy again, still, that's what my comparison was based on.

Beyond that, Hawkeye was far more useful than Tien and/or Yamacha could ever hope to be. :P

(edited to fix a couple spelling errors)

I say put Ms. Marvel in the next Avengers movie. She's one of the more powerful women in the group if not the Marvel Universe. Although with Guardians of the Galaxy we are getting Gamora we are getting the most "dangerous" woman in the MU. Still I'd love to see Ms. Marvel more. =3

DVS BSTrD:
They couldn't figure out how to make her ass visible from all directions at once.

Hahaha.

But seriously, maybe they don't sell such toys because, actually, this girl is in the minority, and they wouldn't sell enough to make a profit?

*shrugs*

I don't know, if there was money to be made out of it, I'm sure they'd have released it.

Companies like to stereotype. But they like to make money more.

To be fair, when I call to mind the roster of Avengers from the movie I only picture Iron Man, Capt. America, Thor, and The Hulk; Black Widow and Hawkeye just feel like they're along for the ride. So yeah, I can see why Black Widow only shows up on her box.

I don't know though, I've never seen the boxes, maybe Hawkeye is getting face time on Iron Man's box and Black Widow isn't. If that's the case then it's only fair Hawkeye is stricken from the record too; they're both rather underdeveloped and boring characters.

It's ok, Black Widow is available as part of the only Avengers toy line worth caring about. And she came with a badass Quinjet!

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