After seeing Guardians of the Galaxy, my four-year-old daughter wanted a Gamora action figurine and my son wanted Star-Lord, so we went to the store. Star-Lord is everywhere but there was not a single Gamora to be seen. Even on the Guardians of the Galaxy t-shirts, no Gamora. Hey Marvel! She is one fifth of the team, what they heck! Even my six-year-old son noticed and passed up a t-shirt because he wanted her on it too. I asked the store if they were out, they said they do not carry her and suggested a Rocket raccoon instead. Not The Same.
Other people say “Well, just order her one online.” Okay, wait, so I get to say to my son “Hey here is your Star-Lord action figurine, we will buy him.” and to my other child “Oh wait, no Gamora, well we can order her online and you will get her in 5 to 6 business days.”
Something is very wrong here. Marvel, 44% of the opening audience of Guardians of the Galaxy were women! I know! I have seen it three times. And this is not just a problem with Gamora. We had this problem with Black Widow. We encounter this problem with her DC favorite, Wonder Woman. (I found her Wonder Woman t-shirt in a thrift store. And my daughter made the crown and bracers herself because she loves Wonder Woman so much.) I understand the politics of it, but a four-year-old does not.
So Marvel, do you know what my daughter thought after not finding yet another superheroine she loves in stores? Do you know what she said to me with her sad green eyes?
“Maybe superheroes aren’t for girls Mom.”
That is a problem. And it matters Marvel (and DC, you aren’t off the hook either, you cause the same worry in my little girl.) I am so disappointed in you.
I cosplay as my DC favorite, a Green Lantern. When my daughter sees me suit up she gets so excited to have a superhero mom, she even brags to people “my mom is actually a Green Lantern”. I remember when I first cosplayed as my self-titled “Lantern Jovian” I was so incredibly nervous. Because I am fat.* Because of the idea that comics are “for guys”. Because a lot of people see adults dressing up as silly. Because of a million little reasons that have wormed their way into my social programming over the years.
I was SO empowered by my childrens’ reaction the first time I suited up, “Mom you are the most bravest most beautiful Green Lantern ever!” It is not too much to say that I couldn’t have done it without them. It is amazing how your children can inspire you to be a superhero for them.
Thank goodness for every women we meet who cosplays as a superhero or villain! They help to teach my daughter (and my son!) that the fandom is not limited by gender and that female superheroes DO exist. They counteract the message that lack of mass market availability means superheros are “just for boys”.
* Edit: Okay the fat remark is getting almost as much attention as the rest of the article, causing people to miss the point I was trying to make. Fat is not an insult to me. I discuss it further in a more recent post.