This year seems to be milestone in our progress towards making more inclusive toys for young girls.
First, there was Mattel’s dramatic change with Barbie. After 57 years of presenting Barbie with an inaccurate representation of most women’s bodies, Barbie now comes in three new body shapes: curvy, petite, and tall. The move came with the social media hashtag #TheDollEvolves and aside from different body types, the new dolls are available in seven different skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 24 hair styles.
The evolution of dolls continued when Target and DC Comics teamed up for the “DC Super Hero Girls” collection. According to TODAY, the collection of merchandise is based on some of DC Comics’ colorful female characters (both heroes and villains) that include Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Poison Ivy, among others. The exclusive merchandise will be available in Target starting next month.
— Nubia Mejia (@NubiasNonsense) February 22, 2016
The move has been welcomed with open arms, with one blogger calling the move “a major game changer”, according to TODAY.
“We keep our ear to the ground and listen to feedback from our guests,” Target spokesperson Lee Henderson told TODAY. “There is lots of excitement around this new launch, and we can’t wait to share the power of these iconic female super hero characters with fans. We know their stories of epic action and girl power will definitely resonate.”
— SAINT HERON (@SaintHeron) February 25, 2016
The girl-friendly superhero merch isn’t limited to just toys. TODAY‘s report also mentioned that clothes will be added to the collection.
In a statement on the company’s website, Target senior vice president of merchandising said “Target prides itself on keeping a pulse on pop culture, and we have a legacy of getting behind the hottest franchises to bring our guests exclusive merchandise.” He added, “We are thrilled to be working with some of the industry’s leading partners to introduce a new generation to these inspirational characters, and know fans of all ages will embrace these beloved and iconic heroines as they build new memories.”
It’s a move that Marvel Comics through Disney (which has acquired Marvel Entertainment) has yet to follow with the female Marvel characters.
Disney was criticized last year for the lack of female superhero toys after the Avengers: Age of Ultron merchandise range did not include Black Widow, a major female character in an otherwise male-dominated group of superheroes.
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According to an article by The Telegraph, Black Widow was only featured in three of the 60 merchandise for the film.
Target and DC’s is just one step towards a more inclusive market for youth, but it’s a step many can follow.