an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

Women of Marvel: More Pin-Up Girls than Heroes

Posted by Rosepixie on April 24, 2010

Being female around Halloween can be challenging.  Having a female child around Halloween is even more challenging.  The problem is that nearly all Halloween costumes sold commercially for women and girls are either SEXY or so over-the-top girly that they may as well be SEXY.  So if you don’t want your four-year-old dressing as either a pink puffy princess or a sexed up version of a pop star, you’re probably out of luck.  Even when we get the option to be something cool, it’s clear that the creators of the costume sort of missed the point.

Take the Women of Marvel line from Disguise, for example.  This line consists of 23 different costumes representing only four different characters (which in itself is sad – Marvel actually does have quite a few great female characters and this line does not represent them well).  The line has costumes designed for different ages, ranging from little girls up through adults.

*sigh*  Pink?  Really?  Really?  Black Cat seems a slightly odd choice for poster girl, as well.  She’s not one of Marvel’s biggest drawing female characters for female fans.  Why not use one of the amazing women from the X-Men, a book extremely popular among female comic fans?  Or Invisible Woman or Spider-Girl, the two biggest female characters really familiar to younger fans?  Or maybe Ms. Marvel who has the company name as part of her name?

But I think I’m missing the point here.  I’m expecting “Women of Marvel” to be a line of costumes representing superheroes.  Maybe I’m mistaken about that impression.

And here we see the real problem.  This isn’t a line of superheroine costumes – it’s a line of pin-up girl costumes.  If they were heroes, the ads would show them, you know, as heroes.  Instead we see them as snapshots being pulled out of Spider-Man’s wallet.  So they aren’t even people – they’re pictures owned by a guy.  Great.  Now there’s something I want to be!  “Mommy, Mommy!  I want to be a pin-up girl for Halloween!  How about that pink Spider-Girl dress?” (Seriously, there are two pink Spider-Girl costumes in the line.)

The marketing sort of explains why the line consists of two characters from an alternate future timeline and two relatively minor characters and none of the actual costumes worn by… any of them (although Emma Frost’s is close, but she’s already SEXY).  And why every single costume is a dress.  The message here is that girls aren’t superheroes, they’re girly sex objects.  Boys can be superheroes, though, with fake muscles and everything!

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