If you couldn’t find a Star Wars: The Force Awakens action figure Rey, Maz Kanata or any other female characters at your local Toys R U, Target and Walmart store, you might be upset to know that neither those stores nor Disney believed that they would be popular.
So, because they didn’t make enough, they sold out quickly.
The head of Disney’s Star Wars licensing arm, Paul Southern, even admitted it.
“We’re working really hard to get into a healthy stock position,”Southern said. “All of a sudden a very broad group of consumers began to buy product a lot quicker than we expected.”
All Male Characters Action Figures at my Local Target – Photo JJ Ghatt
There goes the answer to the internet hashtag campaign by parents and fans of the movie who were upset by the void.
#WheresRey, they asked.
When a Toys “R” US spokeswoman was asked to explain why her stores didn’t not have Rey or any of the other female Star Wars characters, she fessed up that they carried them but they too didn’t think they’d need that much.
Not only is this a reflection of out-of-date perceptions that girls aren’t into Sci-Fi or Science Fiction, it also underlines the wrong notion that boys too wouldn’t be interested in collecting a female action figure.
Gender fights with toy manufacturers and retailers are ongoing. There was a petition in the UK recently demanding gender neutral toy categorization in toy stores.
In America, Target eliminated the boy and girl categories on store signage last summer and many conservatives went ballistic and threatened to boycott the retail giant.
Then we, as a society, are surprised that there are not enough women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field. Girls are socialized from birth, right down to the toys offering, to not think, build, create and explore. All those traits are crucial building blocks to STEM courses in college and careers.
And then came GoldieBlox which aims to make Odyssey of the Mind like games appealing to girls, but it too was criticized for having too much pink in its packaging and materials. Then when GoldieBlox came out with a video and a zipline doll that the company characterized as the anti-Barbie, many Feminists and other were upset she was so thin and blonde.
There is a way to make toys that encourage logical thinking without coloring them pink. This Lauri Tall Stacker Pegs Building Set for toddlers features a girl and boy on its box. And there are other toys out there doing the same.
But not all. Things are slow changing. Last year, I noticed that a lot of Science toys at my local Target had boys on their packaging and only Boys. I took a snap of one:
I wish we could be more advanced like overseas. Check out the way these same stores market in Scandinavia: