#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 Change.org petition to “Include Black Widow in all Avengers-related toy lines, clothing and merchandise.

Sign the Change.org petition
Sign the Change.org 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.

Comments

comments

John Marcotte

John Marcotte

Secret identity of a father raising two super-heroic young girls

16 thoughts on “#WheresNatasha? Age of Ultron Continues Trend of Excluding Female Heroes From the Toy Aisle

  • Avatar
    April 27, 2015 at 4:00 am
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    THANK YOU! I spent this past week scouring everywhere looking for Natasha merch. I was appalled that the Disney Store (masters of marketing) had tons of merchandise and the only thing that had Black Widow on it was a pair of pj pants that I’m pretty sure are from CATWS. I asked a floor attendant, and she assured me they had it, but it was all sold out. Slightly skeptical, I got on my phone, and nope, not a single item.

  • Avatar
    April 27, 2015 at 6:36 am
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    A could of weeks ago, there was an article at The Mary Sue written by someone who claims to be a former Marvel employee. She basically said Disney wants girls to buy princess toys and told Marvel not to market to girls.

    To quote the article:

    “While working at Marvel post-acquisition, I saw a deck circulated by Disney’s Brand Marketing team. I’m prohibited from sharing the slides, but the takeaway is that, unlike the actual demos, the desired demographics had no females in it whatsoever. I asked my supervisor why that was. Ever the pragmatist, he said, ‘That’s not why Disney bought us. They already have the girls’ market on lockdown.'”

    http://www.themarysue.com/invisible-women/

  • Avatar
    April 27, 2015 at 9:20 am
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    There’s a third thing we can do: BUY the Black Widow and Gamora merchandise when it’s offered. It’s not enough to complain about it. They are trying to make money – show them that they WILL make money if they give us the merchandise. .

    • John Marcotte
      April 27, 2015 at 9:41 am
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      You can’t buy what doesn’t exist. There is no Black Widow merchandise at Target period.

      My girls get to the comics shop have other ways of getting some merchandise, but their choices are severely limited. Clothing, action figures and toys are almost impossible to find.

        • John Marcotte
          April 27, 2015 at 6:18 pm
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          Those three things are not available at Target. They are online on the Marvel website. A men’s shirt. A tote bag, and a $90 LEGO set.

          Let’s just throw out the first two. My seven-year-old is not interested. The third is prohibitively expensive — and Black Widow is just one of five heroes in that LEGO set, so I we would have to hope that LEGO assumes you bought the set to get Black Widow, and not say Ultron.

          Your method does not work. There is not enough Black Widow merchandise out there to support in any meaningful way.

      • Avatar
        April 27, 2015 at 1:27 pm
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        This is why I plan to drop some bucks on DC’s new line of female superheroes. Maybe if that line takes off, Marvel/Disney will take notice.

  • Avatar
    April 28, 2015 at 2:29 pm
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    Same with Star Wars Rebels. Little to no female toys. Come on Disney your better than this.

  • Avatar
    April 28, 2015 at 6:12 pm
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    Hey, Heroics! Here in Brazil Natasha’s neem missing from merchandize and posters too. We started our own #wheresnatasha, but in portuguese, #cadeviuvanegra or #wheresblackwidow
    Hope you guys have better luck than we had. 😉

    • Avatar
      April 29, 2015 at 11:22 pm
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      A single action figure that you have to buy Captain America to get and is only available at a single retailer does not negate anything said in the article.

      We said she is consistently left out of toy lines. One example where she is sold exclusively at a single retailer as part of a two pack does not negate the fact that she is left out the rest of the time.

      • Avatar
        April 30, 2015 at 1:32 am
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        Your article states that there are “no Black Widow action figures”. There are. Two pack or not, it still counts. Also, there are Black Widow toys available. I’ll grant you that there isn’t a huge amount in the “Age of Ultron” range, but from the first Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier lines there are. I’m not trying to discredit your intent with this as it’s something you feel strongly about, but why not promote this by saying “there is a Black Widow action figure, go buy it and show Marvel/Disney/Hasbro that there is a demand for this”. This shouldn’t just be exclusive to Black Widow either. There was another female character in that film too, and she features on even LESS merch, but she has her own action figure too.

        http://marveltoynews.com/hasbro-4-scarlet-witch-age-ultron-movie-figure-revealed/

          • Avatar
            April 30, 2015 at 7:44 am
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            Those are great decorations for your office desk, but they are not action figures designed for kids to use to engage in imaginative play.

        • Avatar
          April 30, 2015 at 7:43 am
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          It states that Marvel /Disney released no Black Widow action figures. And they didn’t. Then we talk about their licensing partners. Separate paragraph.

          And they have made Black Widow action figures before. They did for Winter Soldier. She sold out. Captain America and Winter Soldier are still available on the shelves.

          Selling it out did nothing to increase production on Age of Ultron. Quite the opposite. And girls should not have to buy Captain America in order to get Black Widow. That’s annoying.

          Scarlet Witch is also excluded almost everywhere, but she is also not a key member of the team, yet. Quicksilver was also excluded. We chose our battle. Hawkeye is there. Why not Black Widow?

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