Thursday, October 14, 2004

I'm back. The eagle has landed.

So there's this Pixar movie coming out November 5 called The Incredibles. There's already plenty of merchandise for sale, and being interested, I checked it out. The teenage daughter is voiced by Sarah Vowell, and I'm a fan of hers. However, the merchandise was depressingly one-sided. As it always is.

Here's what they had:

Small plush dolls of:
Mr. Incredible
Flash (the son)
Syndrome (the [male] villain)
Frozone (Mr. I's buddy)

There are also big talking versions of Mr. Incredible and a babbling baby Jack-Jack. (There's also an interactive Edna doll which gives out fashion advice. She's voiced by Brad Bird.) They also had 5-inch action figures, but guess what - the only Elastigirl and Violet figures came packaged with Jack-Jack and Flash, respectively. The only way I could have bought a Violet is by getting her as part of a set. There are two women in the five-member Incredibles family but they are nowhere to be seen on store shelves. Fuck you, you marketing bastards, for deciding that this is a movie "targeted" for boys, and for assuming that boys don't want to play with female characters, even female characters that have awesome superpowers (Elastigirl as a toy is a no-brainer; make her be a Stretch Armstrong-type thing). Keep on perpetuating the stereotype of men=action and women=all about doing nothing but looking pretty, even when the movie itself has the opposite message. Fuck. You. Seriously.


Anonymous said...

Elastigirl is fucking cool as hell.

That's all I got.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, this is Betsy, cutting through in my lazy fashion as I sometimes do, working toward Craftytown. I only stopped to hear about the Incredibles toys, HONEST. We've all been waiting so anxiously for the movie. Anyway, let me just offer you the other side of the coin that is pissing you off. How's about the fact that the "boy" action figures only seem to come w/"girl" action figures? Why is that less of a an annoyance to you than the reverse? To be honest, this would cause MY particular boys no pause, if'n they wanted the toys. Being huge fans of Star Wars, Digimon, Pokemon, LOTR, etc, (all of which come in packages of both "boys" and "girls") they've come to understand that toys (and games/stories, and so on) are not so much about boys vs. girls but just that, toys, games, and stories. Also, plenty of their girl friends purchase and play with the "male" action items just as happily. There is less distinction between the two than you might think in the world of kids these days. They're not needing a "boy" model to make them feel powerful when the play, nor are the girls needing a "girl" model to feel powerful when THEY play. I'd leave it more will be okay. Sometimes the YuGiOh Card or Mage Knight toy they're afer is actually feminine. They don't give it a second thought. It's the karma of the thing, not the gender...Lula won't mind playing with a male action figure one day, just as Dylan and Liam don't now...

Anonymous said...

For those readers of chowflap who aren't actual members of our family, Betsy is D's aunt, Liam and Dylan are Betsy's sons, and Lula is D's 8-month-old niece. Just in case someone out there is keeping score. Oh, and the matriarchs of our family (hi, Mom!) aren't supposed to read chowflap, but they all do anyway, and just (usually) pretend that they don't. It's called plausible deniability, I think. This is how we all stay friends.

And I think the point of the post was that you CAN buy the male character figures separately. You can't buy the female figures separately, even though they have larger roles in the movie than some of the offered-separately male characters.

- S. (the sis)

debl said...

B, if you aren't going to respect my wishes about not reading chowflap, at least do a better job of pretending that you aren't reading it. I'm just saying.

To reiterate and expand on what I said above: You can get Dash and Jack-Jack as 12-inch dolls and as 8-inch plush figures. You can ONLY get Violet and Elastigirl as small plastic figures packaged with other boy figures. You can't compare this situation to LoTR figures, because they seemed to have done a nice job of representing a kick-ass Arwen. If the LoTR figures had been produced like the Incredibles figures, you'd be able to get Legolas and Strider and the Dwarf all separately, but you could only get Arwen in a smaller size, packaged with a couple of hobbits. And that would be very lame.

Disney always segregates their movie merchandise along gender lines. Believe me, they are targeting young boys as their primary market in a very open and conscious way. The marketeers have decided that girls aren't even a secondary market for this film (their secondary market is slightly older boys). That pisses me off, since there are girls in this movie, and they're superhero action stars that anyone would love to play with. Yet since they're female characters, the marketers assume that boys will not play with them, and since girls aren't the target for this movie, they won't produce any merch for them. I think the marketeers are wrong, that boys would love to play with a super-stretchy 10-inch-tall Elastigirl figure. But the marketeers are very closed-minded.

It's sad to me that boys get to play with action figures that are boys, but that girls have to play with action figures that aren't girls. I know the girls don't seem bothered by the discrepancy; that's just "the way it is;" kids will play with stuff that interests them. But you can't tell me that doesn't send a message to young children about gender roles. It most definitely does.

Anonymous said...

maybe they packaged the females dolls with the male dolls so they could move stock. They knew there would be a run on violet and knew that if you wanted it you would buy the set.
And besides, it only being available in a set makes it worth more.
which we all know, girls are.

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