I have now seen STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS — and the film’s female protagonist Rey, who actually wields a lightsaber in a fight, is very impressive. Yet, as has been reported in various media, the representation of Rey in official movie merchandise is minimal compared to the film’s male and imaginary characters. (The hashtag #WheresRey on Twitter refers to this issue.)
As a feminist who has been fighting against this merchandise imbalance for many years (don’t get me started on Lego), I am saddened that, as we enter 2016, the representation of strong female characters has not yet become equal.
What is especially irritating is the perpetration of stereotypes. If you only put boys on the outside of a toy box, you’re sending a strong message that the toy isn’t meant for girls too. Why not put both on the box?
And while retailers are correcting this misrepresentation, why not also try for diversity in toy ads? One particular Target merchandise ad for STAR WARS (that I’ve seen multiple times) shows three white, light-haired children. Would it have been so difficult to hire three child actors each with a different ethnic coloring?
(I wrote the fantasy adventure short story ROAD TO ZANZICA after I got tired of reading in fantasy book after fantasy book the depiction of only males who can fight. Leeze am Holden, the protagonist of ROAD TO ZANZICA, can hold her own in a sword fight.)
One can only hope that, by the release of the next STAR WARS installment, the retailers creating STAR WARS merchandise will have given female characters equal exposure, including on the merchandise packaging.
If you like strong female fictional characters:
© 2015 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller) has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE and the romantic suspense spy thriller CIA FALL GUY. All of her Kindle ebooks can be read for free via Amazon’s monthly subscription program Kindle Unlimited. Phyllis can be reached at email@example.com