We saw Sabine’s official reveal this morning, and although we’re still waiting for Hera’s, Hasbro confirmed with Newsarama’s Lucas Siegel that action figures of both Rebels ladies are coming, and will be unveiled at SDCC.
There’s been some blowback to the concerns over the lack of women showed in the first wave of Hasbro Rebels toys. But together with the ‘for boys’ nature of Disney XD and the apparent ‘ladies last’ spacing of the character reveals, it’s really felt like the female characters – and thus female fans – are there as an afterthought. (Is it really still not a given that women and girls like action?)
Yes, we know ‘this is how it is.’ Yes, we know that ‘it’s all here to sell toys.’ Yes, we know that’s ‘what advertisers want.’ And that’s exactly why we’re fighting so hard over this. This is our first major rollout since Disney took the wheel, and this is an uphill battle.
Let’s not forget, Disney is the company that renamed Rapunzel to Tangled and The Snow Queen to Frozen – with a deceptive advertising campaign to match – so as not to alienate boys. The company that bought Marvel and Lucasfilm to round out their “boy” offerings.
It’s much, much bigger than Rebels, and it isn’t really about the show or even Star Wars at all all – it’s about marketing and culture. Want an example? Look no further Greg Weisman’s Young Justice, a show which was canceled because “we’ve got too many girls. We need more boys.” Because “girls buy different toys.” Toys like My Little Pony? Barbie? Pastel toys that are marketed to them as pointedly as action figures are to boys? So thus make less women action figures, or make awful-looking figures and then act surprised when they don’t sell…<
Take a look at the Black Series, where the only 6″ female is a Slave Leia and there’s only a slightly better ratio in the smaller figures. How many Leia or Padme figures, in the whole of Kenner/Hasbro’s history, have there been in comparison to Hans or Lukes or Anakins or Obi-Wans? And how many of those Padmes and Leias have been the ‘slave’ or ‘arena’ variety? How many Ahsoka figures?
And while Hasbro at least has made Padme, Leia and Ahsoka figures, it’s not unknown to have a line with no women – even when a show has several such characters. In 2005 and 2006, the action figure line for Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender included not a single figure of any of the show’s major female characters – not even Katara, Toph and Azula, all of whom play major parts in the series. (In Star Wars, this would be the equivalent of leaving out characters like Han, Lando and Darth Vader.) That toy line fizzled, but fans didn’t see a Katara figure until 2010′s live-action adaption.
No, we weren’t sure that the Hera and Sabine figures “were coming.” It’s not a given.
Women – characters or fans – are not an afterthought. If you give us the products, we’ll buy them. We’re not your bonus dollars or your gravy; it’s time to think beyond the gender lines. Sell toys to kids, not to “girls” or boys.” Step it up, already.