A Space for People of Color, By People of Color. Be Cool.
A Space for People of Color, By People of Color. Be Cool.
Illustration for article titled Marvels Woman Problem Goes Way Beyond Merchandise

Thor. Iron Man. Hulk. Captain America. What do these characters have in common? They're all superheroes. They are all interesting, multi-faceted characters. They all star in their own movies. Oh, and they're all white dudes.

io9 recently had a great article on the lack of women in Marvel's toys and merchandise. A valid concern! But their thesis - that the lack of merchandising is despite a strong roster of female characters - seems like, well, bullshit. As far as I recall, there has yet to be a single female superhero across the MCU. Black Widow? Gamora? Peggy Carter? All cool characters, and all secondary roles. Back ups. None have helmed a film, none have an iconic costume, none have one single power. They're all basic love interests, and frankly, they suck. People see superhero movies for the superheroes, not the normal-people-vaguely-adjacent-to-superheroes. Every single hero in the MCU has been a white male. Yes, that is slowly, painfully, changing - but let's be real here, we're seven years into the MCU, and we've yet to get a single hero who's a woman, racial majority, or from anywhere that's not America. That's fucking pathetic.


Old-fashioned ideas of markets and marketability? The legacy of characters designed in the dark ages of post-war America? The fact that Disney's senior leadership is 100% white and 75% male? Plain old bigotry? Yeah, probably some of all of those, and it's a mix that's too dense to unpack here. But the Marvel movies are huge international sensations, with appeal across demographics. White men only make up 8% of the world's population, yet make up 100% of the the superpowered heroes in the MCU. Every. Single. One. As a member of the other 6,362,720,000 human beings on the planet, I think that toys are the least of the problem.

Aside: anyone know how you get posting privileges on oDeck? I'm mainly an io9 lurker, but I'd love to see what the community there thought.

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