The Big Hero 6 franchise made news recently for leaving the female members of the team, Gogo and Honey Lemon, off the themed fabric made by Springs Creative. (EDIT: The original story appeared on the blog of Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies.)
A number of fans, both female and male, were enraged by this insensible omission. As one fan points, out, girls make up one third of the Big Hero 6 team! Not to mention, the name of the move counts all six members, you can’t just ignore two of them, as the hashtag #bighero4 points out.
So the company apologized and everything is hunky-dory right? Not quite. This is only the latest development in a trend that has been getting a lot of attention, at least since the #wewantleia hashtag back in June, and still hasn’t gotten any better.
Let’s go through the list, shall we?
- Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy
Do you remember when we wrote about the #wheresgamora phenomenon back in August?
Gamora, the green-skinned female member of the Guardians of the Galaxy was conspicuously absent from the Disney Store’s GOtG T-shirts and stores were not stocking her action figure, while her teammates filled the shelves. The twitterverse exploded, as moms and fans lamented the missing girl. This is the issue that got the most attention, but we can trace the trend even further.
- Leia from Star Wars
Back in June of 2014, #wewantleia was trending on twitter when Leia action figures were noticeably absent among hordes of jedis and stormtroopers.
- Black Widow from the Avengers
By the time Avengers merchandise came out without Black Widow, we had our outrage down to a science: write angry blog posts, start trends on twitter, and make our outrage heard.
The problem is that these companies focus on marketing exclusively for boys. Springs Creative was quoted saying that they left the girls off the merchandise because young boys would think they are “Yuck!” The Young Justice animated tv series also got a lot of attention recently when the producer pointed out that most execs are not interested in catering to a female fanbase because they believe that girls “buy toys differently.”
Women have been fighting for representation in the geek world for a long time, especially in the super hero sector. We’ve finally made some progress with kickass figures like Black Widow and Gogo and Honey Lemon (though some of them have their issues, as we discussed in our analysis of Gamora). Erasing these women from merchandise erases a good chunk of that progress.
The “invisible women” of superhero merchandise doesn’t merely refer to the characters being left off of t-shirts and toy shelves. It refers to all the female fans who want to share in the franchise and are excluded.
How long will it take the toy & t-shirt world to realize that women and girls, and let’s not forget all the gents who would love to rock a Gamora or Black Widow shirt, are a force to be reckoned with?
Are you as mad as we are about these girls being left out from the merch? Share your thoughts in the comments!
UPDATE: Melissa of Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddies, author of the original article on the Big Hero 6 fabric, has invited our readers to join her twitter campaign #IncludeTheGirls. If you come across merchandise that excludes female characters like the ones listed above, snap a pic, add the hashtag, and tweet about it to join in the discussion!