If you bought the latest “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Monopoly game, you would discover that two critical male characters are featured as game pieces – Kylo Ren and Finn – but the central figure, Rey, the female heroine, is missing.
Rey, the most compelling of the new characters in the Star Wars series, also is missing from store shelves among action figures and other toys.
Disney is scrambling to get Rey merchandise out there because of the firestorm of criticism the company is receiving. The company contends it did not include Rey on the game board because it didn’t want to give away the fact that she is a central figure.
Hmm. So that wasn’t apparent in the movie trailers that began emerging weeks before the movie’s December release?
As the father of a 13-year-old daughter, who has always preferred swinging a sword than a magic wand, none of this is surprising. Female figures, whether they’re animals or steam shovels, are rarely the heroes in children’s movies as well as books. In fact, according to a 2011 study by researchers at Florida State, out of nearly 6,000 children’s picture books published between 1900 and 2000, only 7.5 percent offered female animal protagonists.
Why is that?
For more on the subject, check out this column in the Washington Post by New York author Jennie Yabroff. It’s a must read.
– Paul Gullixson