Young girls that like superheroes – and they do and always have liked superheroes – are still being denied action figures and merchandise with female heroes on them. This undermines the progress made by Marvel’s movies and TV shows, which include action-oriented characters like Black Widow, Maria Hill, Gamora, Sif, Nebula, Melinda May and Peggy Carter. Rendering these characters invisible while heightening the profiles of Star-Lord and Iron Man perpetuates the idea that female heroes and male heroes are intrinsically different – and that one of them somehow isn’t cool enough to be on backpacks.

To people that still roll their eyes about this because it’s more “liberal feminist whiney blah blah blah,” think about how this affects men (probably not that hard to do!). Think about what this lack of female representation does to boys, boys who see women kicking just as much ass on the big screen but then see only merchandise and toy lines where everyone without a Y chromosome has been removed. The classic excuse we always hear, that boys don’t buy female action figures, is a self-fulfilling prophecy rooted in sexism. How are boys supposed to buy female action figures if they don’t exist? And why should they want an action figure of the one character that is absent from every promotional group shot? This exclusion makes them seem secondary and different. On the off chance a female action figure does get made, they’ve traditionally been limited to one figure per case in order to make room for all the Iron Mans. This makes them impossible for anyone that’s not an obsessive eBayer to have.