In this month’s Fangirls Going Rogue, Teresa and I mentioned some awesome emails from fans who support the show. Our biggest feedback month happened after our March episode that covered the Star Wars Rebels Toy Fair rollout. Collecting site YakFace.com’s Twitter pointed out that Star Wars Insider #151 addresses the #WeWantLeia campaign.[tweet_embed id=484664707576365056]
While fangirls were speaking up alongside mothers and fathers of fankids, many fanboys expressed their enthusiasm for more gender diversity in Star Wars toys. Yakface spearheaded the petition, and after our coverage of the New York Toy Fair on Fangirls Going Rogue, the responses to the show via email and voicemail were pretty evenly split down gender lines. The responders all expressed their desire to see more diversity in Star Wars and its merchandise. The #WeWantLeia campaign even had coverage on Syfy’s The Wil Wheaton Project. Listener Andrew Nowicki agreed to allow us to reprint his email to the show.
Hey Tricia and Teresa,
First let me say that while initially I was overwhelmed by the slew of new shows on Rebel Force Radio I think you are finding your niche and every show I’m enjoying more and more. I wanted to say that as a collector I have always been frustrated with the idea that female figures don’t sell. I remember when Star Wars figures came back in ’97 that Leia was short packed. Collectors went insane trying to find the figure and the aftermarket price was astronomical. Sadly the next figure to go through the same phenomenon was Lando and I can’t help but think that being a minority played into that a bit. These were major characters that were not given a fair shake because an outdated statistic. Over and over I have heard the line “Female characters don’t sell well”. Being an older fan (turning 40 this year) I know that when I was growing up there was a hard divide between boy’s toys and girl’s toys. When I was young I didn’t know any girls that liked action figures, Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, video games, or most of the thing I liked growing up. So this line of thinking wasn’t something I questioned a whole lot. Even as an adult collector I found myself in a male dominated group. The other side of the equation is that during the 70’s and 80’s most female characters were pretty pathetic. There were exceptions like Princess Leia but most of the female characters were just there to be rescued or be a love interest for the hero. They rarely had more going on for them. I’m glad things are changing. I definitely see where female characters are being written with all of the importance of their male counterparts. While it still isn’t everywhere it is definitely not the rarity it once was. However I don’t think that the marketing machines that are behind the merchandising see the change or know how to adapt to what is happening. I still see the mentality of short packing all the female characters. The latest Marvel Legends line for the Captain America movie has 3 Captain America, 2 Winter Soldiers, and 1 Black Widow. The Amazing Spiderman Wave has 2 Amazing Spiderman, 2 Superior Spiderman, and 1 Black Cat which is swapped out in the second shipment for Spider Girl. On ebay they are fetching Black Cat $28 Spider girl $30, and Black Widow $60 so the demand is there. And then there are issues like the cancelation of Injustice not because of poor ratings but poor merchandising/advertising.
While I never watched the show, because I’m a diehard Marvel fan, I heard it was a good show and the fact that you would kill a good program because you don’t know how to sell commercials during the show just because the demographics are not what you are used to seeing gets my blood boiling. I’m going to bet that if you are into traditional boy’s shows you will be into traditional boy’s toys regardless of whether you are a boy or not. So please keep letting them know you are out there and that these are the things you want to see. The irony of all of this is I can remember a time where I would get teased for playing with “dolls” and now we apparently won’t let girls play with them.
Keep up the good work,
Thanks, Andrew, for listening to Fangirls Going Rogue. The show notes are a few days late for this month’s episode. Expect them in a day or two. Here’s the link to the show, which includes an interview with Ashley Eckstein and Consetta Parker. Until next time, “Yub! Yub!”
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Until next month – Yub Yub!
Tricia Barr's novel, Wynde, won the 2014 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Ebook. She was also part of Silence in the Library's successful all-female creator science fiction and fantasy anthology Athena's Daughters, which is available now. For excerpts and tales of her adventures in creating a fictional universe, hop over to TriciaBarr.com.
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