Thursday, July 5, 2012

Comics are for Boys

How curious. The Motion Picture Association of America rated The Avengers (2012) as PG-13: Parents are strongly cautioned to give special guidance for attendance of children under 13 – Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. I'm not about to get up in arms about bringing impressionable minds to 'violent' or 'inappropriate' movies; I don't really care about that just yet. What strikes me is targeting (pun, yes) young boys as the ultimate consumer for these movies. Perhaps the random adolescent/young man picks up Hulk Hands or a Iron Man voice modulator, but the bulk of these products go to what looks like 5 - 12 year old white males. Don't you love reinforcing stereotypes? Well, the black kid is in the Ironman suit, but he's on screen for a total of three seconds, 10% of the commercial, most of which his face is blurred.

In addition to The Avengers (minus Hawkeye and Black Widow), Spider-Man, Batman, Transformers, Star Wars, and (the original) G.I. Joe themed products line Targets shelves. Maybe people perceive the PG-13 movies as appropriate for 5 year-olds because they originate from colorful comics, campy TV shows, or just plain nostalgia.

Actual Target Product
Where's the Hunger Games version!? Etsy.

However, if we take analogous movies, TV shows, or other products that were aimed at women, we might be a little apprehensive. Imagine a Twilight themed party where the 8 year old birthday girl wore Black Widow costume while her friends wore clothes from Mean Girls. I bet the Jones' would be whispering. Film 'inspired' girl-oriented toys do not come from the PG-13 rated media, but the PG and G: Disney Princesses and Hello Kitty. If they made a Monster High live-action movie, I bet it would be PG-13 though.

It wouldn't be that hard to market PG-13 movies to young girls. Instead of a generic 'princess' outfit, recreate it from Snow White and the Huntsman. How about a horse figurine with a War Horse logo on it? Maybe a Poo-Pie Playset inspired by The Help- I'd definitely buy that for my cousin! And don't we all want Hunger Games swag and costumes. While we're at it let's make some fake fangs and wolf-hair for the boy Twihards.

The Hunger Games (2012)
These are just the 'pretty' costumes!!

Point is, girls aren't feeble and it's weird that companies market to them as if they were. In reality, girls are more mature than boys and probably could handle the Amazing Spider-Man better than their counterparts. What girl wouldn't want a super-hero boyfriend who had a mode of transportation that avoided traffic? Mary Jane, Pepper Pots, and Jane Foster have their shit together and Black Widow and Katniss Everdeen are badass. Why not market mature movies to girls? They've got just as much if not more sway over Mom and Dad's money than their brothers.

So Target please will you actually put "A Superhero in Every Aisle" and not just the boy's aisles?


  1. What about the Hulk? He’s just a chubby Hispanic-looking kid – and he’s on screen for even less time than the black kid. The only two people with their faces showing – even in costume- are the two white kids. I can concede that Thor is scandavian and white; but Captain America doesn’t have to be. If the black kid can be Tony Stark he can just as easily play Captain America. But maybe they were just typecasting him since Lt. Col Rhodes was in a suit too.

    But still, why does the Hispanic-looking kid gets 2 seconds of air time and has to play the uncontrollable monster?

  2. And I love your poo-pie comment - awesome.