Thursday, October 16, 2014

Desperately Seeking Leia


Do you recall the outrage back around May of this year when the Disney Store unveiled their Star Wars line and Leia was no where to be found? How could there not be an abundance of merchandise for the most badass Disney princess? Then, the new hope in June when they announced that our concerns had been heard, and that Leia toys would be coming soon (I first heard about it on The Mary Sue). Ever wonder what happened next?

Yesterday, I visited my local Disney Store and took a look around. Here we are, in October, just a couple of months from the biggest gift giving and toy buying holiday of the year, and I couldn't find anything with Princess Leia on it. I asked a helpful employee. She pointed to a toy above the clearance rack in the back. It was a slave Leia figurine. After a quick query to the stock powers that be, she informed me that there was nothing else, "nothing for girls."

Seriously? They are pulling this?.
What the hell? Slave Leia? That's it? That's the "toys" we were promised? I'm not buying my not even a tween yet daughter a freaking slave Leia. I don't want one. (Laurie wrote a post a few years ago that pretty much covers my reasons why.) It wouldn't be so bad if there were other figurines or a t-shirt or a New Hope costume for the kids, but no, we get one Leia-in-a-metal-bikini toy.

Also, the "nothing for girls" bit. I'm going to be pissed off about that one for a while.

It turns out that if you go to the Star Wars page of the Disney Store online, you can get a Leia costume, Leia figurines in a couple of sets (New Hope and Jedi), and you can make your own shirts, bags, and iPhone covers with a small selection of Leia images.

That's it, though, and you will never convince me that this is "enough." I still remember my daughter's face when we visited the Disney Store back in early June. We saw the Vader and Stormtrooper costumes, as well as the R2 and Chewbacca toys. She then announced that she was going to look for the Leia stuff and I had to tell her that there wasn't any, but that they said they would have some "soon." She's starting to notice the huge disparity in "boy" vs "girl" SFF merchandise and representation. The industry is missing out on a huge market. They could be helping to create lifelong fans. They could, if they manage to pull their heads out of their asses before they alienate future buyers.

I know, my jaded self should have realized that this would always be the outcome (like after what happened recently with Gamora and DC's shirts at Walmart), but I'm not going to stop wanting things to be better.

I sent an e-mail inquiring into our promised Leia merch. We'll see if I get a response.

What happened? Did they think we would just go away? I think it'll be a very long time before we head back to the Disney Store, so in a sense, yes, we will be going away. Usually I do a decent amount of shopping at the Disney Store around the holidays, but I don't feel like doing that right now.

As the very nice Disney Store employee mentioned, "I think they really dropped the ball on that one."

Yes, yes they did.

Update: I got a boilerplate response to my e-mail that never mentions anything about my request other than to say "I'd like to invite you to visit our Store as we may have other Disney items that may interest you." Somehow I don't see myself visiting their store.
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