After a Disney Store employee had the misfortune of tweeting that there would be “…no plans for Leia products…” lots of people took to the internet to voice their displeasure. Thus a hashtag of trending proportions was created, #WeWantLeia. It was utterly ridiculous that the female fan-base of Star Wars was seemingly considered unimportant to the higher-ups and that the focus was to only be on male-orientated offerings. Thankfully, Disney heard the outcries and has revealed to Time that girl toys are coming. As great as this is…this shouldn’t have even happened in this order in the first place.
Unfortunately, Star Wars/Disney has come under fire several times since Disney bought Lucasfilm: There was the lack of female characters coming for the upcoming Hasbro action figures, an issue with the order Star Wars Rebels‘ main characters were revealed, a shockingly small amount of actresses for the initial Ep. VII cast announcement, and now the lack of Leia (or Padme) themed products offered at Disney Stores.
As with any fanbase, women are extremely important and just as numerous as males. However, marketing always seems to think they aren’t going to help pull in the money and instead focus on the hyper-teen males. But when you alienate the literal other half of your property’s fanbase, you’re going to lose lots of profit from them. If marketing is in the habit of making money, it’d only make sense to include something for everyone. Everyone means more people invested and investing in the property, thus more money. Star Wars is a universal story, as is much of science-fiction, fiction, and fantasy, but gender stereotypes that rightfully need to be retired prevent many from seeing the truth.
So while Disney Store’s promising girl toys is a step in the right direction (as was the recent and stupendous casting announcement), it’s about time we don’t need to ‘step in’ anymore directions, instead just start by being there. There, in this case, means an inclusionary sense of promotion for all materials related to a property, targeting not ‘just males’ but everyone on any spectrum. And though they say girl toys are coming, I know I’d like some Leia-themed merchandise as well. You don’t have to be any certain gender to enjoy female characters, or play with female character actions figures, or wear clothing items with female characters on them. Like Star Wars, female characters are universal. With the recent success of Frozen (Disney-owned nonetheless) and the Hunger Games movies/novels, shouldn’t it be even more apparent women sell just as much as anyone else?
At the end of the Time article the reporter nearly sinks her own battleship and I know it caused more than just me to plant one’s hand firmly on one’s face: “The concern over both the casting decisions and the toys suggests there’s a robust female fan base for the films.” To which Dunc over at ClubJade had the best response: “You think?”
(I was originally going to just include this in the Wednesday Overload post, but it deserves more than just a footnote in a busy news day.)
Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth