“Toys R Us has dropped gender filters from its UK website following complaints that such signposting puts off girls from playing with trains and construction sets. Shoppers are instead invited to browse depending on the child’s age group, brand, or type of toy they are after.
Campaigners and politicians have warned that stereotyping can deter girls from studying science and engineering. Toys R Us joins a growing group of retailers from Marks & Spencer and Tesco to Boots and Sainsbury’s that are adopting a more unisex approach. The shift has occurred in the three years since the pressure group Let Toys be Toys started campaigning. In 2012, when The Independent on Sunday first covered this issue, M&S was selling toys such as walkie-talkies for boys, and karaoke sets for girls.
Jess Day, at Let Toys be Toys, says the group has a directory of retailers awarded its Toymark “for marketing toys in a way that is inclusive to both boys and girls”. But Christmas shoppers will find that aisles devoted to pink and blue, even if the signage is no longer there, remain the norm.”
I just wanted to tell you that I have a problem with Nick Spenser’s Captain America.
First let me say how much I love Kirby’s character. He’s been a corner stone for the entire Marvel universe and, even though he’s not perfect, his sense of ethic and his fight for freedom have always been constant. Now, I’m not naive nor stupid, I understand the impact in sales that you can get out of a character when you have it turning to “the dark side”. It certainly is an interesting and shocking perspective that gives you a unique point of view and opens the door for a deep and rich arc. But the problem with Steve Rogers is that you can’t ignore the ideological connotations for a character like Captain America. With him you don’t have a “good guy” momentarily (I certainly hope so) turning into a “bad guy”, you have a character created by two Jewish men during WWII, who is a war veteran, literally wearing the American flag on the chest and you’re suddenly turning him into a nazi. In a single issue you turned the shield into a symbol for fascism. That’s the thing about Hydra, you know, Marvel. It’s not just an “evil” organization, it’s an organization that stands up for nazism and, therefore, it’s ideological agenda can not and should not be ignored… but, for the sake of a publicity stunt, you are apparently willing to ignoring it.
The thing that amazes me the most is how good the shock value for Captain America comics had been in the past. Brubaker’s “The Death of Captain America” story arc was unexpected, completely on character, deep and painfully shocking, along side it, Nick Spencer’s first issue is just offensive (and frankly quite illogical). You wanted to get shock value out of this one? Congratulations, Marvel, you got it. I’m shocked for how low you’re willing to go to get noticed.
I said earlier I had a problem with Spencer’s story and the problem is not that I find it uncouth and absurd, the problem is that now I don’t know what to do with my Captain America t-shit because no matter how much I love Kirby’s character, I don’t want to be wearing a nazi symbol across the chest.