Apr 27, 2015


In case you missed it, Marvel fans everywhere (or rather on the Internet and especially Twitter) are in an uproar over the noticeable absence of Black Widow from The Avengers merchandise.

Avengers shirt

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Unfortunately this isn’t the first instance of female action heroes missing from merchandise (Where’d you go Gamora?) and recently on The Mary Sue blog, a former Marvel employee anonymously explained why Disney chose to focus on male superheroes in the merchandise.

The number one reason: “That’s not why Disney bought us. They already have the girls’ market on lockdown.”

It’s not surprising that Disney prefers to focus on princess related items and entertainment for girls. With the popularity of hit-movies like Frozen and Cinderella, it makes economical sense for Disney to focus on princesses and less-edgy heroines. Maybe Anna from Frozen is a little girl’s version of a hero?

But, it still brings up the “separate, but equal” argument. Do we really need to see girls and boys merchandise separated to such extremes? Especially when The Avengers features a female superhero on the big screen? It seems only right that the whole team would be represented on merchandise as they are on film.

Personally, I would prefer to have an edgy, kick-ass heroine on my shirt, rather than a doe-eyed princess. Disney might also want to consider what the negative effect would be if they included Black Widow on shirts targeted towards boys. The answer: none. It’s a shirt with multiple other characters on it.

Nonetheless, I’ll be in my local theater on May 1st, watching The Avengers: Age of Ultron and looking for a few of my favorite super heroes and heroines. And yes, I am a girl. Sorry you weren’t targeting me, Disney!

Written: Courtney Sulzberger