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