Geek Girls Rule! #358 – What Does Bad Marketing Look Like?

Why do I say that Marvel doesn’t know how to market diversity? Well, let’s see, of the dozen Marvel superhero shirts I’ve bought at a Target or Old Navy in the past year and a half, not one has been of a female hero. You want to know why? Because they don’t exist.
I do in fact have this shirt. I do not get to wear it to work, sadly.

In fact, with the exception of WeLoveFine , and a couple of shirts bought at Torrid over the last FIVE years, and by couple, I mean two, they don’t exist. (Torrid does have a shit ton of Wonder Woman merchandise, though.)

Also, female action figures are distressingly difficult to find, and frequently the body sculpts are, let’s just leave it at disappointing and call it a day. The other day we bought a X-23 as Wolverine figure, because we found it.
So, yeah, in the last year I have bought: three Winter Soldier shirts, at least four Captain America shirts, one Punisher, one Iron Man, one Deadpool, and one Avengers shirt that had neither Black Widow nor Wasp on it.
I have bought one Captain America sports bra, one pair of Captain America panties, one pair of Avengers panties (minus Black Widow or Wasp), and one pair of Black Widow panties, trimmed in pink because girl.
So, out of all the shit we’ve bought for me and the Geek Husband What Rules to wear (you guess who wears what, ha!), two things have had or featured a female hero, and we found one action figure, oh, and Gamora was included in the Guardians of the Galaxy set we bought.
That’s not a good ratio, guys.
Not once in Target, Old Navy, or Fred Meyer, have I seen a Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, Thor (Jane Foster), SpiderGwen, or Squirrel Girl shirt. I have bought the only two female action figures I’ve seen. It’s a fucking sausage party.
So this is what I mean by lack of marketing and support for their more diverse or, let’s face it, female heroes. Hell, I haven’t even SEEN any Black Panther merchandise, not in the direct aftermath of Civil War, and not now. Not after Black Panther #1 with Ta-Nehisi Coates was one of Marvel’s two titles in the top ten last year.* After the Avengers came out the majority of the merchandise available either had no Black Widow, or it had her so far in the background you could barely make her out. And this isn’t the whole, “Oh, well, they just pulled some old early Avengers stuff out of the warehouse…” shit, this is:
A. on things that have pictures of the actors from the movie in costume.
B. if it’s early Avengers, where the fuck is Wasp?
This is what I mean by Marvel’s persistent bad marketing. They have always failed at marketing their female characters as well as they market the male characters. ALWAYS.
WeLoveFine does an admirable job, and they are getting better about plus sizes, but they can’t do it alone. And one of the reasons there are so many Captain Marvel designs in particular, is that the majority of the products on WeLoveFine are designed by fans. If you want to see who the fans are into, then go check out WeLoveFine.
Yeah, you’ll see a lot of the dudes, but it’s also real rare to go more than a row or two without seeing one of the women, whether it’s Black Widow, SpiderGwen, Ms. Marvel, Scarlet Witch, Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde, Storm, Gamora, Dust, or any of the female characters who EXIST but whom Marvel never seems to find the wherewithal to market effectively.
So, yeah, Marvel and their sexist self-fulfilling prophecies can take a flying leap. I really need you guys to pull your heads out about your female and POC fandom. Because we’re here. We’ve always been here, and we’re getting real sick of your shit.
*The Geek Husband What Rules informs that there was one Black Panther shirt at the ThinkGeek store here in Seattle. One.
Just a reminder that I have Patreon now to help support the full frontal nerdity in which I frequently engage.

3 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #358 – What Does Bad Marketing Look Like?

  1. Yet we keep buying what they DO sell, and wearing it. And accepting that a Captain America bra is fabulous, even if we’d prefer Wasp socks. As long as their shit-poor marketing brings them money, they won’t change.
    Is the solution a nerd boycott? probably not. But why should they change and market what we want, if we are already happy to shell out for whatever gilded piece of garbage they are providing?

  2. I don’t know whether to thank you profoundly or curse you profusely for introducing me to this WeLoveFine site. I’ve already found several hundred dollars worth of Marvel t-shirts I want.

    And I’m leaning towards buying mostly ‘diverse’ characters, in part for support and in part because those *are* mainly what Marvel comics I read these days. (Squirrel Girl is the *best*.) And in part because, like you said, they’re really hard to find elsewhere.

  3. Yeah, and there’s also that double-edged sword, that if they don’t know there’s a market for comics stuff at all, then that cuts the chances for them to market the, as they call them, “edge” characters. However, in another article, someone pointed out that if you go to Amazon, of the best selling graphic novels/collections for Marvel are Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl and GwenPool.

    They know the market’s there, they have to, I think they’re just being assholes about it.

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