Kids want to see heroic female protagonists

This article was originally published by Margot Magowan on her blog, Reel Girl.

Yesterday, I posted about A Mighty Girl’s news that kids’ underwear with female superheroes on it sold out. I also posted about a dad shopping with his 5-year-old daughter who complained about the lack of cool female characters on clothing.

He bought his daughter boys’ underwear. A commenter expressed the same frustration: her daughter is fan of Spider-Man and she started a petition to get girls’ underwear designs integrated with boys’ underwear.

I signed this, and I hope you do too, but I want to recognize the deeper issue here and make sure this info isn’t misconstrued: See, girls like boy characters, so let’s just keep making them and let girls go missing.

All kids want cool characters. They want to see exciting narratives where heroes take risks, make choices, and act.

Why is there no Spider-Girl movie and five movies about Spider-Man? Where is Spider-Woman? Why are there seven Batman movies while Batgirl, like Supergirl, is practically invisible?

And why, for God’s sake, are we still waiting for a major release of a Wonder Woman movie in theaters? Not to mention multiple sequels?

I read this on Pigtail Pals Facebook page, Melissa Wardy’s talk with her daughter, the Original Pigtail Pal:

“Mom? Every time I watch that Spider Man movie I can see there are no girls in it. I get really mad! I just don’t get why there can’t be more girls in it.” —7-year-old Original Pigtail Pal Amelia, girl, and Spider-Man fan

“I think it is really important that you noticed that. There should be and easily could be more girls in it. How could we change that?” —Me

“Oh. Oh ho ho. We’ll just show them what girl super heroes look like.” —OPP

“Maybe that could help them have more balance with girls.” —Me

“Yeah, they need more bad-ass girls.” —OPP

“Uh no, I said ‘balance’.” —Me

“I know. I said ‘bad-ass’.”—OPP

Hollywood and Target, are you listening?

Margot Magowan is a writer and commentator. Her articles on politics and culture have been in Salon, Glamour, the San Jose Mercury News, and numerous other newspapers and online sites.

One thought on “Kids want to see heroic female protagonists

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  1. When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Batman. I settled on pretending I was dull, helpless Vicki Vale, and my friend and I argued over who would grow up to look as pretty as she was. I barely even paid attention to April O’Neill; she was even more boring than Vicki.

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