Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the biggest movie ever within the United States and is on track to become the biggest movie in the world. With that, we’ve seen an unrelenting storm of shirts, lunchboxes, magnets, travel mugs, figures, plushies, hats, beanies, place-mats, plates, silverware, hoodies and anything else one might expect The Force Awakens to show up. You get to see these types of things when you work in the nerd-trenches at a place like SuperHeroStuff.com but there is one glaring blind spot…where the heck is Rey? Did we forget to pick her up on Jakku?
Recently, this oversight started to gain social media attention with the hashtag ‘#WheresRey’ and with an eight-year old girl’s letter to Hasbro after she noticed the new flagship character missing from their new Force Awakens monopoly game. At release, the game pieces were only male characters (Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Kylo Renn, and Finn) and she wrote, “Without her THERE IS NO FORCE AWAKENS! It awakens in her! And without her, the bad guys would have won! Besides, boys and girls need to see that women can be as strong as men! Girls matter!” In response, Hasbro stated “We love your passion for Rey and are happy to share that we are including her in the Monopoly: Star Wars game, available later this year.” Apparently, Hasbro didn’t want to reveal that Rey was a main character of the movie since the game came out months before the movie. Funny how they were okay with putting Finn and Kylo in there though, right?
So there we are, all is well and everything is okay. The world is bright and shiny and everybody is included but truth be told, this issue is endemic. Again referencing how working at a place like SuperHeroStuff.com is, I get to see everything we do and the general, prolific lack of merchandise for female characters is sadly nothing new; it happens with almost everything we get that has a female member of the team. Do you know how many Avengers items we got in that were sorely lacking Black Widow? Sure, I get Avengers shirts with Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America but to then include Hawkeye and not Black Widow seems a little…obvious. What about Guardians of the Galaxy? We got bunch of their stuff in too but lo and behold, Gamora was missing from the vast majority of it. Is it as simple as forgetting to put the characters on there lacking a Y-chromosome? Do ‘they’ believe these items won’t sell as well? I hate to use the ominous ‘they’ but somebody has to be in charge of these sorts of things and it certainly isn’t us!
We always try to expand our selection of items; one of my primary functions here is writing product descriptions so my job relies on us getting new items in. We have an entire department dedicated to finding and working with manufacturers to get the stuff we all want and I sense that the winds may finally be changing. With output from the amorphous beast known as social media we may finally be able to start seeing members of ½ of the species represented properly and when they should be. I’m not saying we should go out of our way, just that it should be natural. Certainly we don’t need Black Widow, Gamora, and Rey on every single thing ever but come on…they definitely deserve to be in with the rest of the cast! Would you have accepted an original Star Wars monopoly without Luke Skywalker? Or one without Star-Lord or Iron Man? Gender shouldn’t matter…it is part of that, you know…superhero thing! And no, putting a girl in a cast shirt will not result in cooties. You could always do that circle-circle dot-dot inoculation if you are concerned about that anyways.