Help Research the Gendering of Toys

Dr. Janina Scarlet, a friend of Heroic Girls and a regular contributor to Legion of Leia, is conducting a research study on the gendering of toys, and wants your participation in the study. From Legion of Leia founder Jenna Busch:

Hey Legion! Our very own Dr. Janina Scarlet is doing a research study on the “opinions of the public regarding the availability and gender separation of toys and merchandise, particularly of heroes and characters in popular culture.” She’d love your participation. After the #WheresGamora and #WheresNatasha campaigns, some stores decided not to separate toys by gender, running non-gendered commercials like Target‘s Star Wars spot and Disney not gendering their Halloween costumes, this is a big issue. If you want to participate, check out the info below and then take the anonymous survey by clicking the link a the bottom.

May the Force be with you.


Are you at least 18 years of age?

Do you live in the United States?

Do you have an interest in heroes, popular culture, and toys and merchandise related to popular culture?

Janina Scarlet, Ph.D., Arek Yetenekian, M.A., and Michelle Lopez, Ph.D. of Alliant International University are currently investigating the opinions of the public regarding the availability and gender separation of toys and merchandise, particularly of heroes and characters in popular culture.

Do you find that such merchandise is equally available and marketed to both genders? Would you prefer this to remain the same or for changes to be implemented? How do you feel this is related to the development of individuals and their identity?

We would like to find out!

If you would like to participate, please click on the following link to begin our questionnaire:

Any questions may be directed to Janina Scarlet, Ph.D. at [email protected] or @shadowquill. Also feel free to contact the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Alliant International University, San Diego at [email protected], or call at (858)635-4741

Feminist Little Girl Reminds Us All Why We Fell in Love with Leia

As the fan fervor for Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to ramp up, we’re starting to see that — unlike in the past — girls and women are being included in every level of the story, toys and marketing campaign.

Even Walmart, not normally known for subverting gender roles, has released a national television spot showing a father passing his love of all things Star Wars down to his daughter. But Walmart saved their best and most inclusive marketing for the web.

In a series of extensions of the television spot, Walmart shows multiple parents sharing their love of Star Wars with their kids.. But the real star of the series is the little girl that patiently explains why Princess Leia is a hero to generations of women.

Mom: Why doesn’t the princess just let the boys rescue her?

Girl:  Because she is a modern empowered woman, unfettered by the antiquated gender roles of a bygone era.

The Force is strong in this one.

Hasbro changes the gender of all the dinosaurs for Jurassic World toys because girl dinos have cooties

Let’s make one thing clear. All the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and Jurassic World are female. This is actually a plot point both in the first movie and in the books.

Incompetent or evil? Depends on what movie you are watching.

All the animals in Jurassic Park are female. We’ve engineered them that way. …

We control their chromosomes. It’s really not that difficult. All vertebrate embryos are inherently female anyway, they just require an extra hormone given at the right developmental stage to make them male. We simply deny them that.

While admittedly this system ran into some major bugs in the first movie. It appears they have worked the kinks out by Jurassic World, which begins with the park fully open and functional, and a complete lack of surplus dinosaurs feasting on the entrails of wayward tourists.

In particular, the velociraptors made in the movie are female. They are part of a program InGen set up with Chris Pratt’s Navy Seal / “dino whisperer” character Owen. We are told the raptors “imprinted” on Owen in the lab.

Some people online actually joked that the raptors allow the movie to pass the Bechdel Test. After all, the dinosaurs do have a conversation halfway through the movie. (I maintain it fails the test because even though they are talking, I’m pretty sure they are talking about Pratt.)

So the dinos are girl dinosaurs, which in any sane world would mean absolutely nothing — after all, dinosaurs don’t care about gender politics.

Unfortunately, people do.

Jessica Halladay over at The Geekiary ordered a toy version of “Blue,” Pratt’s lead raptor buddy in the movie, from the Hasbro. But while reading the description of the toy, she noticed something strange.

I ordered a Blue figure because I couldn’t resist.  Only, I noticed something strange.  Blue is a girl.  The description done by Hasbro referred to her as a “he.”  I thought, ‘Huh, that’s weird. Maybe they just wrote a bad description.’  But, I checked the descriptions for Charlie, Delta, and Echo as well. All were described as males by Hasbro.  They’re all females.

That’s right, Hasbro is so afraid that boys won’t play with anything girly, that they reassigned the genders of all the dinosaurs in Jurassic World so as not to bruise fragile male egos.

Blue - Jurassic World
Who’s a pretty girl?

It is a bit of a slippery slope, though. If Hasbro admits that kids might actually play with female dinosaurs, the next thing you know they might have to make female superheroes…

…and we know they aren’t going to do that.

via The Geekiary

Interview: John Marcotte talks gender and toys on Kingkade and Breakenridge

Were you aware that on top of Tim Hortons, hockey and free health-care, Canada also has an abundant supply of thoughtful radio talk shows where people don’t yell at one another and accuse opponents of treason? Who knew such a thing was possible?

Heroic Girls founder John Marcotte was interviewed on Calgary’s News 770 AM, on the lack of Black Widow superhero merchandise in the toy aisle. We talked about why this is happening, what the negative effects of this type of gendered marketing might be and potential solutions on the horizon.

It was a pleasant and illuminating conversation, and I encourage people to take a listen.

#WheresNatasha? Age of Ultron Continues Trend of Excluding Female Heroes From the Toy Aisle

Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow, is the world’s deadliest assassin and spy, and essential part of the Avengers movie franchise. But with Avengers: Age of Ultron hitting theaters the Friday, Marvel and Disney continue to treat Natasha as the “invisible woman” when it comes to toys, clothing and other merchandise.

Of the 60 products that Marvel and Disney released for Avengers: Age of Ultron, only three featured Black Widow. That’s five percent. There were no Black Widow action figures, costumes or clothing for girls. The three Black Widow items available from Marvel are a tote bag, a men’s t-shirt, and a figure that is part of a large LEGO set.

Marvel’s licensing partners do not fare much better. Black Widow is consistently left out of toy lines, the fail to even try to market her to girls and she is excluded from team shots on merchandise aimed at boys.

Last summer, we all were asking #WheresGamora? We hoped that the outcry would lead to changes in marketing this time around. It did not.

Fight the Power

There are two ways you can help Marvel and Disney see the error of their way. The first is to find examples of how Black Widow is excluded from merchandise, take a photo and then share it on Twitter with the hashtag #WheresNatasha.

The second is to sign and share our petition to “Include Black Widow in all Avengers-related toy lines, clothing and merchandise.

Sign the petition
Sign the petition

We’ve partnered with our friends over at Legion of Leia to get the word out, but we need your help, too. Every hashtag, signature and share puts more pressure on the decision-makers who have decided that girls don’t need heroic toys and that boys can never look up to a woman as a hero.

After women bought record numbers of tickets to see Guardians of the Galaxy last summer, and complained mightily that they were shortchanged by the lack of Gamora merchandise, we expected that Marvel had learned its lesson, and that things would be better with Age of Ultron.

The fact that there was no improvement means we need to keep fighting to let Marvel know that they are doing a disservice to fans that they claim to care about very much.

Maybe we’ll finally get some female merchandise when Captain Marvel comes out.