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Alethea & Athena
Black Widow shopping 
18th-May-2015 06:00 pm
twins
Okay, this is the dangerous part, because I'm going to talk about Black Widow shopping. It all started when I wrote a post about the lack of Black Widow action figures and how it was probably caused by people not buying action figures instead of sexism on the part of the toy companies. Discussion on that post prompted us to call our young mother friend to see if she would buy Black Widow action figures for her sons (she would not, but only because she wouldn't buy them any action figures at all; they're too young). As I was talking to her on the phone, she Googled "black widow toys" and said she found quite a few.

Well, that had me curious. Also, since I have this naive hope that maybe buying the things we want will cause there to be even more of the things that we want (here I will point out that after we bought a gift set of sample-sized hot chocolate mix, the next time we went to the same store, they had big canisters of hot chocolate mix), I agreed to support the Black Widow cause by buying a Black Widow action figure. I was actually pretty sure we would find some when we went shopping, because once the possibility came up that there were a lot of them, the imagination section of my memory filled in the blanks. I seem to remember seeing a toy of Black Widow's wrist thingie, but maybe that was back when the first Avengers came out.

Anyway, people who are following the Black Widow toy controversy a little more closely have probably already laughed at my naivete, and sure enough there were no Black Widow toys. ...Okay, that's not 100% true. There was a Lego set with (I think) four Avenger figures including Black Widow. There was also a set of Marvel figures that had a bunch of characters including Captain Marvel, but I'm not sure if that counts.

At the time, we were shopping with our friend who we'll call Jeremy, and I kind of wanted to talk a little about polarization and how it probably only enforces anti-feminist attitudes and stuff, but I can't really articulate it. The point is, Jeremy isn't a feminist, and he feels attacked by feminism. He, too, was convinced that we'd find Black Widow toys, because he believes that people on the internet like to make up problems (I think there probably are people on the internet who like to make up problems, but it's important to keep an open mind). When he saw the lack of Black Widow toys, he admitted that the people complaining about the dearth had a point...and then had to go on a tirade about how they're still wrong because comic books are made for men who don't want women action figures, she didn't even do anything in the movie anyway, and back when these characters were created women were meant to be eye candy, at least as far as reading comic books was concerned. I kind of wanted to barf on him.

I don't think he necessarily believes everything he was saying, but he did need to have a reason that he (us) was right, while the people who want Black Widow toys (them) were wrong. There was an episode of a TV show called Dinosaurs back in the 90s, and it was about the first prehistoric war. I don't remember any of the details about what started the war or how it was fought, but I do remember that there were people picketing with signs that said We Are Right. Jeremy generally only acts like a disgusting sexist pig when you start talking about feminism (other than that, he treats everybody pretty equally, like Henry Higgins), but when you do start talking about feminism, he'll use everything he can come up with to talk about why it's 100% wrong. ...And that gets me started on how the answer is usually a little of both, but I'm really digressing here.

Anyway, the main reason I wanted to bring up Jeremy's rant was to talk about WAR, but also to add that he talked about how (since Black Widow didn't really do anything) the real star of Age of Ultron was Hawkeye and blah blah blah, but that's just so everyone can have a little more context when I review Age of Ultron in tomorrow's post.

So back to Black Widow. I wasn't able to buy anything to support the cause when we were out shopping (although she was on every t-shirt that had a picture of more than one Avenger; I would much rather buy a t-shirt, personally, but the agreement was to buy a toy), so we came home and checked the internet.

First, we went to disneystore.com. They have a handy category system that lets you shop by character. So we clicked on character, and it brought up some subcategories, including Marvel. There was another list of subcategories under "Marvel", but I only remember the first two items on the list: the Avengers, and Black Widow. What do you know, they do have Black Widow merchandise! I think they might have even made that category as a response to the internet outcry. But the only toy they had cost more money than we wanted to pay, so next we checked toysrus.com. They had a ton of all kinds of action figures. Naturally, there were more male action figures than female, but that's why you just have to buy the female ones (they did have, like, a "women of DC" collection).

So we looked through all of those and then thought, "You know, I don't really want a Black Widow action figure..." Thus making me a traitor to the cause, I guess. I was kind of interested in getting the Scarlet Witch one, though. I might be willing to buy a Black Widow action figure for somebody else, though. I'd buy a t-shirt, too. But not for somebody else. T-shirts are for me. And Athena, but it's her money, too.

But anyway, based on my own personal adventures (anecdotal evidence! boo! hiss!), I think what's happening is this: Disney and Marvel realize that women want Black Widow stuff, but not necessarily Black Widow stuff that would be marketed at young boys. So they make different Black Widow stuff to appeal to women like me, who are happy with buying a t-shirt.

Today I'm thankful for getting to try some Disneyland hot chocolate (chilled) last night, making good progress on work today, getting to watch the end of My Little Monster again last night, having all our impending deadlines worked out, and having more 3D puzzles to work on someday.
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