In my list of the Best for DC Women in 2013 I listed the agreement between WB/DC and Target for Justice League Merchandise for putting Wonder Woman merchandise into their product mix. And they have once again for Valentines Day.
First the good. I found two Wonder Woman solo items for the February holiday. First, Wonder Woman lollipop:
Cute! Also they had a variety of water bottles filled with candy with the League logos. I flipped through lots of Bat and Supe logos until I happily found this:
Given the overbundance of purple and pink in the summer offerings I was surprised and please to see some primary colors here.
And then I went and looked at the Valentine cards - the type that grade school kids exchange. For the past few years its been pretty spotty for the ladies of DC Comics when it comes to Valentines. Gone are the days when you saw kids given a set where there was parity between female and male heroe like this:
So the good news is that there is a set with some parity available at Target. But then there’s some … well let’s take a look, shall we?
One of the things I was excited about was that Target was putting superhero merchandise in the girls department. While merchandise with Wonder Woman and Batgirl logos was poppping up in the women’s department. But then the merchandise - mostly t-shirts - began popping up in the girl’s department. Here’s a look a t-shirt I found at Target in May.
But then I noticed they had reworked the female Trinity into the big eyed Lisa Frank type characters complete with loads of eye make-up as seen as these pajamas.
Okay, not my choice but as someone with a daughter I have lived through both Barbie and Bratz and understand the attraction. And if it gets a girl interested in reading a comic? Mission accomplished.
But what I didn’t expect was to see this:
They mixed the “girls” version of the female Trinity with the traditional Justice League marketing versions of the male characters.
Just as reminder - this is how Wonder Woman appears in the Justice League
So it was weird to see the two mashed up. Take for example this card with Wonder Woman and Green Lantern - Hal version:
Or this one with the Supes cousins:
A bit jarring when you see the two together, isn’t it? Well jarring and frankly unattractive. But then I’m not the 5-9 year old kids these are targeted to.
You can see the rest on the back of the box.
As I’ve said I’m okay with “girlified” versions of Supergirl, Batgirl and Wonder Woman to reach out to girls - I wrote a long post about it last year - but part of that is having classic versions of the character, like the t-shirt above, available.
But when you take the traditional comic versions of male characters and combine them with “girlyfied” versions of the female characters I feel it sends a concerning message to both boys and girls by “othering” the female characters. While Superman and Hal Jordan looks “life-like” (as much as a comic rendition can) and stoic. The female characters have cartoon like faces and are smiling. Why the difference?
So on one hand a win for having mixed gender valentines. And on the other? Let’s lose the frankencard approach and just give us female heroes drawn like their male counterparts.