The Other Widow Problem: Toys



Guys, I decided I am mad about how someone is treating Black Widow.

The toy licenses have conspicuously eliminated our wonderful Widow from the toy lines, and that’s pretty lame.

As an experiment, I ran a search on three big toy sellers to see what I could find for Black Widow.  As a control, I also ran a search for secondary lead Captain America, since running a search for Iron Man just isn’t fair.  I picked one big-box store, one specialty toy seller, and then tried the Disney store.

Target: 9 relevant hits.  3 of them are wigs. 1 a pair of costume accessory gloves. 4 are her catsuit in children and adult sizes, and one is a (non-film) action figure.  I suppose I should be grateful the powers that be even offer a Widow costume for children.  To compare, Cap had 225 hits across several departments, offering his comics, various action figures and clothing.  Even discounting the fact that some of those are going to be the films themselves with his name in them, still pretty not cool.

Toys R Us: 30 results for Black Widow, only 25 of which were even remotely Marvel-related.  At least they didn’t fail entirely, offering the Iron Man and Black Widow 2-pack and a Black Widow and Captain America 2-pack, as well as various costumes and non-specific Avengers merchandise. A search for Captain America produced 44 items, none of which were 2-packs.  Apparently, if you want Widow, they have to throw in a male hero to sweeten the deal.  Hawkeye fares even worse than Widow, because for some reason we all hate Hawkeye.

Disney Store: Here’s where crap gets very interesting.  Disney Store provided a princely 39 search results for Widow and a big fancy splash graphic, but only 9 of which were actually Black Widow centric. And none of them were for children.  There were a few t-shirts for adults, a laptop case, a mug, and a mousepad.  The only toy that shows up at all is a $90 Lego Quinjet Playset.  Captain America produces far more results at 81, with eight different action figures.  There is also this already-controversial QuinJet playset, where Black Widow has been removed from one of her best scenes in the film.  The only review of the piece is a mother who is pretty irritated with the situation, pointing out that she’s the one in the scene.  The thing that really irks me though, is this shirt.  The only piece for little girls.  Black Widow is replaced by Spider-Man in the Avengers.  On the only shirt for little girls.

So what does this mean?  It means that little girls who like superheroes- a demographic oh so very near and dear to my little feminist heart- are getting the short end of the stick.  Being at Wizard World Philadelphia this weekend, I can tell you that girls are definitely spending money on fandom related things.  When are Disney and Marvel going to get with the program and realize that not every little girl is solely devoted to princesses?  Some of them like superheroes, too.  Some of them only like superheroes.  Stores like Hot Topic and Her Universe have plenty for adults, but we need to remember our littlest ladynerds.