*As you know from my last post, I’m naming my soon to be born daughter Marvel, after my love of Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios. Lately, it’s become clear that Marvel isn’t fond of being all inclusive for their female fanbase, especially little girls and babies(though babies may not exactly count as “fans” just yet). This doesn’t mean there isn’t a market though. At each of my baby showers I received amazing onesies and little outfits that are super hero themed…but they are from DC comics(I’ve received a variety of Batman, Superman, SuperGirl, etc.) And just recently DC/Warner Bros just announced a line of dolls and toys that will be marketed to young elementary school girls featuring popular female characters in DC comics. Exciting? Yes, but Marvel and Disney still refuses to include characters like Gamora and Black Widow in their merchandise. I love Marvel and will continue to support them, but I want my little girl to grow up in a world where she can readily find merchandise that’s geared towards girls as well as not have to search high and low for the strong female characters that Marvel does have. There’s no time like the present to express my concerns, so I’ve decided to pen this open letter to Marvel and Disney in hopes that things will change.
Dear Marvel and Disney,
I’d like to start off by letting you know that I love what you do. You bring to life many of my favorite comic book characters on both film and television. You’ve created a great interweaving storyline that makes me feel as if the Marvel Cinematic Universe could be real. I give you kudos on all that you do in that arena.
Because of my love for all things Marvel, and because my daughter is due the day before Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out, my husband and I chose to name our daughter Marvel.
But unfortunately, there’s an area where you have failed and it’s something that I can’t get off my mind, especially when thinking about my future daugther. I’m not the only one who has noticed it either.
It doesn’t take a lot of searching on Google to see the disappointment that many women, children, and even men have about the lack of female representation in your merchandise. I’d like to take it a step further and express my concern of the lack of merchandise geared for girls. You’re ignoring half of your fan base!
While it’s been great that there’s more merchandise sold for women, it pales in comparison to the amount of merchandise that’s made for men. But when you do a search for girls shirts, both Wal-Mart and your own DisneyStore.com yield no results for girls, but plenty for boys. Target has 8 shirts listed on their site, but for boys it’s 10 times more than that. Recently, my mother in law returned from a trip to Universal Studios Orlando and she was only able to find one shirt representing different female Marvel characters. She bought the shirt and it’s lovely, but my daughter won’t be able to wear it for some time, years even. So not only are there hardly any shirts and merchandise for girls, there’s not anything for infants.
You could argue that there’s no market for female infant clothing. I’d like to beg to differ. I had 4 separate baby showers given by different groups of friends, neighbors, and family, and at each one of them, I received plenty of baby girl onesies and outfits that include DC characters, such as Batman, Superman, Supergirl, and Wonder Woman, and each one was different. These are things that my little girl will be able to wear right away and not have to wait till she is 5 or 6 to wear. For me to be able to have my baby proudly represent her namesake, I have to get crafty and make things on my own.
I love making things, but it would be nice to be able to browse through the baby section at the store and find something cute for my daughter with Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, Storm, or even one one of the many male characters. There is a huge market to include girls of all ages in your merchandising, don’t cross us off because we aren’t what you think is the main demographic!
My hope is that in the future my little girl will be able to easily find toys and clothes geared towards her from her namesake. That she won’t have to go to the boy section of the store to find a shirt that she likes with her favorite super hero, or that she won’t have to search high and low for one toy featuring her favorite super heroine, when there’s plenty of the men characters. I hope that future mothers, excited to bring up her daughter with the characters she loves, don’t have the same struggles I’ve had.
To quote one of my favorite lines from Spider-Man, “With great power, comes great responsibility,” you have awesome power to influence young girls and fans, but it’s your responsibility to use that power. If you continue to ignore the female part of your fan base, then you lose that power and you’ll continue to disappoint us. I guarantee that the demand is there, you just need to supply it.
Sincerely, a women pregnant with a future Marvel fan,