My baby is turning five this week, a joyous occasion for her, a bittersweet one for me. Invitations have been passed out, a bouncy house reserved, cupcakes have been made. New toys have been purchased.
Surprisingly, it was ticking this last item off the list that caused the most frustration.
When I was a kid I had action figures. GI Joe, Star Wars, or superhero. I had action figures and that was about it. Not because I was deprived in any way, but because that is what I liked playing with. I had a Death Star play set that served as home base, a handful of vehicles that were modified to resemble the cars from The Road Warrior, and dozens of action figures to inhabit it all. Shopping for me was easy.
It’s a little different with my daughter. Not only does she have more varied interests, she also has a large number of toys that used to belong to her sister. Combine that with a grammy that likes to go tag saleing and a daddy that buys toys that he wants to play with, and you end up with a little of everything in your toy chest. No matter what she feels like playing, chances are good that I can oblige.
She certainly doesn’t need any more Barbies. We have a whole box of Barbies, almost all of them naked, a disturbing number headless. We also have quite a few superheroes. We’ve got Spider Man of course, because he’s the coolest, multiple Batmans in different armors, and the majority of The Avengers team in one form or another.
It’s the missing Avengers that are the problem. I don’t mind that Hawkeye is hard to find, nobody wants to be Hawkeye. Even kids that are actually archers prefer The Green Arrow. Black Widow and The Scarlet Witch, however, are toys that my daughter wants. She wants them, and I can’t find them. This display would lead you to believe that Black Widow is somewhere on these shelves, but you would be wrong.
It’s not the first time that Disney has let me down in this way. A year and a half after watching The Force Awakens, I still haven’t seen a Rey action figure. I applaud them for having a female lead, but it seems odd that it’s easier to find Luke Skywalker on the toy shelves. *SPOILER ALERT* He’s on screen for about three minutes, with no dialogue.
It was a surprising heroine that saved the day. The same Supergirl that I had such a hard time finding during Christmastime. I’ve always been a much bigger fan of the Marvel characters, but DC is way ahead in their efforts to get young girls interested in their properties. Wonder Woman has a prominent role in their new cinematic universe and will become the first female superhero with her own movie in 2017. The Super Hero High cartoon series on You Tube is great, as is the one hour special aired on Boomerang. Just as important, the merchandising partnership with Target proved that there is a strong market for these products. We now have a whole team of girls ready to go out and fight the bad guys.
Marvel has been on the forefront of diversity among their superheros for years. The Black Panther just celebrated fifty years in comics and will be getting his own movie in 2017. The X Men books have long been allegory for gay rights and the current Ms Marvel is the first Muslim hero to have her own series.
It’s time for them to catch up on their toy selection.