We do exist: Ashley Eckstein launches Her Universe, a Star Wars merchandise line for female fans

The voice of Ahsoka Tano has teamed up with The Araca Group to make Star Wars stuff geared towards women. This seems to be a bit more than just a simple line of t-shirts – according to the press release, Eckstein and company have entered into a multi-year agreement with Lucas Licensing for “apparel and accessories.” Intriguing, no?

Pretty exciting – and LONG overdue. Not seeped in pink, either!

For more, stay tuned, follow HerUniverse on Twitter and Facebook, or head over to tomorrow night’s Forcecast, where Eckstein will take live calls.

Math is hard? Not anymore: Barbie takes on engineering

Computer Engineer BarbieThere are bound to be tons of announcements out of Toy Fair this week (people seem awfully excited about Hasbro’s new AT-AT.) But what I personally find most interesting is a computer engineer Barbie. On the one hand, I was surprised that Mattel hasn’t gone there already, and that it took a “popular vote” to get her there. (The “girls vote” went to ‘news anchor.’) On the other hand… I’m not surprised at all. Not even that her laptop is pink. But a step is a step, right?

Wait a minute:

“Girls who discover their futures through Barbie will learn that they – just like engineers – are free to explore infinite possibilities, and that their dreams can go as far as their imaginations take them,” said Nora Lin, President, Society of Women Engineers. “As a computer engineer, Barbie will show girls that women can design products that have an important and positive impact on people’s everyday lives, such as inventing a technology to conserve home energy or programming a newborn monitoring device.”

Baby monitors. Not that there’s something wrong with baby monitors, but how does that even make the top ten of exciting things to do with computers? Aim for the stars, girls!

Like abs? Like laundry? You’ll love Comic Con!

Yes, the reasons ladies enjoy San Deigo Comic Con all come down to there being hot guys (and vampires!) there. What more could a woman ask for than this:

Women will be rushing the stage, offering to do star Jake Gyllenhaal’s laundry on those washboard abs that he acquired for the film, since he spends much of it fighting, shirtless or both. Jake, we don’t want to know how to quit you.

Mmm, laundry. We love laundry. But does the Gyllenhaal come in a front-loading model?

UPDATE: An Open Letter to the L.A. Times from a Geek Girl.

Marvel misses the point yet again

Did Marvel took that one guy’s rant on woman and comics– Remember, the one that unleashed a furious response from the female comicsphere – a little too much to heart? Check out an upcoming mini-series, Marvel Divas, as announced by Dude-in-Chief Joe Quesada:

“The idea behind the series was to have some sudsy fun and lift the curtain a bit and take a peep at some of our most fabulous super heroines. In the series, they’re an unlikely foursome of friends–Black Cat, Hell Cat, Firestar, and Photon–with TWO things in common: They’re all leading double-lives and they’re all having romantic trouble. The pitch started as “Sex and the City” in the Marvel Universe, and there’s definitely that “naughty” element to it, but I also think the series is doing to a deeper place, asking question about what it means…truly means…to be a woman in an industry dominated by testosterone and guns. (And I mean both the super hero industry and the comic book industry.) But mostly it’s just a lot of hot fun.

There’s some hope that the execution could turn out better than it sounds – the writer, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, is on the staff of HBO’s Big Love, a show that has sympathetic portrayals of women in a society that pays even less lip-service to equality than comics. But with an introduction that uses words like ‘naughty’ and ‘hot fun,’ the backlash is likely to be very loud.

Marvel tries for ‘female product,’ kinda fails

Yes. They're in a band, apparently.This would actually be kind of hilarious if it wasn’t rather sad… Marvel has apparently decided that the trick to getting girls to buy their merchandise are… Chibis and cosmetics. And yes, they actually use the term ‘female product.’ Seriously!

“Since our core customer has always been guys, we need to be very careful when we introduce female product so that we don’t alienate our core,” said Paul Gitter, president of consumer products, North America, for Marvel Entertainment Inc. “What we have found through testing is that we haven’t alienated them, which gives us the OK to move forward with female product.”

Yes, god forbid they alienate the menfolk.

Points for trying, I guess, but isn’t there some kind of middle road here? Do they really have to go over to the hearts-and-pink-things side – or define ‘female’ as ‘preteen’ – to get women to buy merchandise? (Via Maggiesox, who has her rant on.)

Woman don’t need superheros? Oh, it’s on now, bub

CinemaBlend’s Josh Tyler says we don’t need any more female superheroes, because women would rather have Julia Roberts and Sex and the City. Of course we do, darling. Of course we do. That’s why Buffy the Vampire Slayer never made it past being a mid-season replacement. To quoth Jezebel’s Dodai:

There’s nothing sexist about wanting a female superhero; there is something sexist in assuming that all women only want to see Sex And The City-type movies, that women are a monolithic block who all act the same way and want the same things.

Yes, we do need more films aimed towards us. And while it was great to see a ‘woman’s movie’ like Sex and the City become a genuine box office hit this summer, that’s not all there is. Diversify, already. Stop blaming Catwoman and Elektra – their sin was being bad movies, not about the ladies. Put as much care into a Wonder Woman as you put into an Iron Man or Batman Begins and you might get a good movie – or at least one that makes money.

The only thing wrong with female superhero movies is that they’re making damsel-in-distress crap like Twilight instead. Leia would not approve.

“Women don’t like science fiction,” again

A New York Times article on the Sci-Fi Channel – well, a passage about how the network attracted more women – sent io9’s Annalee Newitz on one mother of a rant:

If there’s something keeping women away from enjoying science fiction, it’s not spaceships. It’s not “aliens on some far-off planet.” It’s the fact that people on our very own planet keep telling us that women aren’t supposed to like science fiction. It’s a self-confirming prophesy, because the more that scifi creators are told this, the more they imagine that their audience is all boys. So they write rich, believable male characters and boring, cookie-cutter lady characters. They organize conventions with panels devoted to shit like “the hottest women of science fiction” and nothing devoted to female heroes — or the kinds of hotties that straight women might want to see (i.e., men).

Can I get an amen, ladies?