It’s getting to be that time of the year again — aka the most wonderful time of the year for most parents. Many of us are heading out to get school supplies, backpacks and new clothes in anticipation of another fall when the kids head back to school.
So it wasn’t unusual for my daughter and I to embark on this mission. As usual, there were the theme backpacks — Avengers, Transformers, My Little Pony, Disney Princesses, Guardians of the Galaxy. And sadly, what wasn’t unusual was this outcry from both me and the kid:
Now, the kid and I aren’t alone in this cry. Shortly after Guardians of the Galaxy showed up in theaters, a lot of people noticed and wrote about the lack of Gamora (and Nebula) in the merchandise. Shirts and backpacks prominently feature Star-Lord, Drax, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, but none of the deadliest woman in the galaxy. True, there are Gamora and Nebula action figures, but those are the more collectable than the type that could be found in a child’s toy box (or what I would have hanging around my computer to amuse me). The amount of stuff for Gamora — who is a member of the team and not a sexy lamp — in proportion to her male counterparts is well, not surprising for me, but annoying as hell.
Make no mistake, I still love the movie, but I feel like Marvel is missing out on a major merchandising opportunity by not giving Gamora and Nebula the same amount of attention as their male counterparts. There is a huge market and demand for the women of Marvel (one of my friends’ has a daughter who adores Black Widow and probably would wear ALL THE BLACK WIDOW STUFF if it was available), but there’s not even a supply for the demand.
I suppose that this is another symptom to the problem of lack of representation in Marvel films (which are wonderful and great to watch). Kevin Feige saying Marvel has no plans to release a female-led superhero movie nor has a Black Panther movie been scheduled and the Marvel movie calendar goes to 2017.
In this day and age, it seems like an antiquated notion to erase the female characters from the merchandising. Forty-four percent of the GOTG audience opening weekend were women, according to exit polls. So why not cater to that audience, given the well-documented evidence of their buying power? I’m not saying we need soft pink and roses and glittery t-shirts (but I’ll admit a Groot in a flower crown may pique my interest). What I am saying — throw us some t-shirts with Gamora lines on them. Give us backpacks and fun looking messenger bags so we can tote around our comic books and action figures. Give my daughter a cool looking Gamora t-shirt that will go with her Rainbow Dash one.
The audience is huge. We have money. Give us something to buy.
And while we’re at it — can we get a dancing baby Groot in flowerpot that doesn’t come with the $360 action figure set? Some of us can’t afford that stuff, but we want our own Groot to boogie with.