Mouse Smash

JC Lau's blog about geekery, gender and other rants

So I was reading A-Force #1 when I noticed this…

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I have to say that I LOVE A-Force. It’s cleverly written and compelling and has TONS of women in it. I’m so stoked to see how the rest of the story pans out when it continues later this year.

But anyway, I was rereading A-Force #1 today when I noticed this:

FullSizeRenderI guess it makes sense. It’s an ad for some toy based on the Avengers: Age of Ultron, and I’m reading a Marvel comic, so it stands to reason that there’d be advertising for products that might appeal to people who read comics.

EXCEPT THAT A-FORCE IS A STORY ABOUT THE EMPOWERMENT AND REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN AND WHERE THE FUCK IS BLACK WIDOW IN THE AVENGERS HQ TOY ON THIS AD REALLY.

Ugh. I know that Hasbro has a pretty sad track record of representing Black Widow in toys, and this is just another prime example of this. So maybe it’s just Hasbro being insensitive and trying to cater to their traditional “boys who read comics” demographic.

However, that can’t be right. Considering that comics with greater representations of minorities (such as A-Force, the new Thor series, Captain America and so on) actually make the comic universe more diverse and relatable to a broader range of readers, and that this is A-Force, whose selling point is that they are female, you’d think the advertising would be aware of that, too.

And then I turned the page and saw this:

IMG_2357

SUNSCREEN IS BETTER WITH FRIENDS UNLESS YOUR FRIEND IS A FEMALE AND CAN’T BE ON THE PACKAGING. BECAUSE REASONS.

To be fair, Hawkeye is also missing from both of these ads. But Hawkeye does not occupy the same sort of role where he is representative of a historically underrepresented minority group (because well… he’s a white dude). So while it’s true that he’s not in the Hasbro Avengers HQ toy thing nor on the sunscreen, there is less harm that is being done there with his absence than when Widow is missing. Widow’s absence from the advertising is symbolic of the underrepresentation and erasure of women from comics–and what’s worse, is that this is in a comic about women, for crying out loud.

I have so much headdesk right now.

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