Fair warning, there's some cursing involved here.
I am the parent to two boys. One bigger, one still wee. My oldest just fell in LOVE with Big Hero 6, and I don't blame him. It features a multi-racial, diverse case of scientists and engineers of both genders. The two female members of the six are crucial cast members and are not just one-dimensional fighty tough-girl "kick ass" heroines--they are well drawn, multi faceted characters and are key to the plot.
Also, Beymax calls the cat a "furry baby". Which, yes, they are. Bitchy furry babies, actually. (Scott Asdit's voice acting as Beymax is killer by the by.)
Now, go read this at Pigtail Pals and Ballcap Buddys, about how a mom went to go make her daughter something out of licensed Big Hero 6 fabric, only to find that the fabric only featured the boy characters from the movie. Then she wrote to the fabric company to register her issues. The company's licensing manager (a woman) wrote back.
Disney’s target audience for Big Hero 6 is boys 5-12 and secondary are girls 5-12 and teens. Since this is geared toward boys, we chose to focus either on the main characters (in this case Baymax and Hiro), or on just the boy characters. We have found boys do not want girl characters on their things (eeeww girls! Yuck! Haha). Should Big Hero 6 continue to resonate in the market place I think you will begin to see more product and even fabric with all the characters including the female characters.
WHAT THE EVERLOVING FUCK. This is RIDICULOUS.
Oh, look, awesome girl characters in a giant hit! Whooo! And ZERO merch for them because, and I quote from the licensing director at the fabric company's letter in the article: "eeew, girls, yuck! Haha."
I mean SERIOUSLY. SHE WROTE THAT. As a joke or not, a grown up professional--a grown up WOMAN--wrote that. In a business letter. A BUSINESS LETTER.
Here I was, so impressed with Big Hero 6 for it's approach to science and gender for kids. Way to fuck it up, licensor! Way to fuck it up.
And it's not just Big Hero 6. Let's look at Paw Patrol, shall we? Oh hey, a token girl character who wears pink. Just one, mind you. Just one. Out of five. Sure, there's a prominent human girl character, and thankfully she's not the human character who is constantly getting into scrapes (that one kid, I can't with that kid. There are only so many times I can turn to mine and be like, "for real, DO NOT DO ANYTHING HE DOES, EVER"). They couldn't have picked any other dog and made it female? I'm not asking you to really mess with your viewership Nick Jr, and make Rubble, the building bulldog a girl (though how awesome would that be?) I'd be cool with the recycling dog, whatever his name is, being a girl. 2 girls, 3 boys. No one can complain about that?
Oh and my oldest little is the one who noticed there was only one girl dog. He's six.
And do not get me started on Disney missing the effing boat--a historically profitable one, no less!--by failing to market the shit out of Princess Leia. COME ON. You, Disney, CREATED the princess business, and yet you fail to exploit the known entity of Princess Leia. And friends, Leia is a real princess. She's not a princess in the fudged "main female character in a cartoon by Disney". What gets me, is that Lucas has ALREADY PROVEN how much bank a corporation can rake in with Leia merch, and yet Disney has still failed to do it. Why are you leaving buckets of money on the table, dummies?
I am so sick of this kind of approach to merch. It is sexist and stupid, and worse, it's bad business. I have money to spend, as do parents of girls. And oh wait, I am a woman.
I have two boys--I WILL BUY THEM ALL THE LEIA MERCH IN THE WORLD. I played with Star Wars figures, nostalgia is powerful. I AM YOUR MARKET, MORONS. Target me, and lo, you will have all the monies from me. Ignore me at your peril. For reals. Because I hold grudges.
And when my oldest came to me on the playground, indignant that a friend of his called him a girl as an insult, I was like, "yeah, so? What's wrong with being a girl?" He was so mad, you guys. But I am not buying into that shit, and I am NOT propagating that shit with my kids. DAMN THE MAN.
A related digression: the dumbass ads on tv for household products that depict dads as morons? My husband is an awesome parent who does the laundry, and we will both RAIN HELLFIRE upon those commercials and brands that depict him and his kind as HURF DURF CLEAN CLOTHES IS FOR THE WIMMIN. And those depicting competent, caring fathers parenting their children and playing cowgirl with them? TAKE MY MONEY, PLEASE. (Unless you're Tide, because I don't like your scent. Sorry, yo. But nice work on the ads!)
(Though don't try to enlist me in your war against Lego Friends. I like them. They can do better on the advert and marketing strategy, but I like the actual product. I like the idea of Legos in colors that may be more appealing to the population of girls who aren't already into Legos. I did not love Legos as a child because I did not like the primary colors or the shape of minifigs.)