It’s no secret, to anyone who pays attention, that blatant sexism is rampant in the comic/superhero world. There’s always been a huge emphasis on male superheros, like Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Captain America, while female superheros are often pushed to the side because of some antiquated idea that females just aren’t interested.
Well, we all know that’s a load of bullshit, right? I don’t know who makes the decisions at Marvel HQ, but I’m betting that there aren’t very many women on the team.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is hitting theatres on May 1 and, to ramp up promotion, and milk the film for all it’s worth, Marvel is releasing various merchandise. The real kicker is that Black Widow, played in the film by Scarlett Johansson, is basically non-existent as far as merchandise with the character goes.
Why? Well, according to an anonymous and former-Marvel employee who wrote an article for The Mary Sue, it has a lot to do with Disney and not so much to do with Marvel. The author recalled an encounter with her superior where she addressed the fact that “the desired demographics had no females in it whatsoever.” The reply she received was that “That’s not why Disney bought us. They already have the girls’ market on lockdown.”
The superior in question was likely referring to the Disney Princesses that are shoved down the throats of any little girl who will pay attention. To understand how fanatical Disney is about their princess line, just look at the last two years and the influx of Frozen merchandise.
No word of a lie, I saw a small, plastic Frozen golf caddy the other day. They’ll slap their name on anything, won’t they?
So, what’s the incentive for Disney to cater to women with Marvel products and films when they already have females on lockdown with their Disney brand?
Sidenote: I suggest reading The Mary Sue article in its entirety to get a better idea of how licensing and marketing works in the large corporations. It’s really fascinating!
At this point, we understand that Disney doesn’t want to market characters like Black Widow because they already have their desired female demographic with their Disney Princess stuff. But, who was the person in the boardroom that pitched the idea that males wouldn’t want to wear a female character on their t-shirt?
The bottom line is that large companies like Disney thrive on exclusionary tactics that force men to one side and women to another. And because they’re too set in their ways, they refuse to step outside of the box, into the modern world, and embrace diversity.