McDonald’s Superhero Toys Again Exclude Women Entirely OR The Problem With Green Lantern

In the past I’ve written a couple posts about the Happy Meal toys at McDonald’s and how their superhero lines never have female characters.  My first post was a rundown of several different toy lines, including Young Justice, “Marvel Heroes”, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Spectacular Spider-Man, the Lego Batman video game, and the Legion of Super Heroes cartoon.  The second was a follow-up piece with even more Batman: The Brave and the Bold figures.  NONE of these lines had any women characters at all.

Plus, all of these lines had a more girl-oriented toy counterpart, because McDonald’s LOVES stereotypical gender roles.  There’s always a boy toy and a girl toy, and superheroes are for boys while cutesy pastel coloured animals and dolls are for girls.  While McDonald’s swears up and down that they never refer to the toys as boy or girl toys, they do it ALL the time.  Or just give the kid the toy that matches their gender without asking.  My niece Lois regularly gets indignant with the cashiers when they try to foist a girl toy on her… she’s only 5, but she’s kind of a bad ass.  It’s pretty awesome.

Of course, all of this is terribly insidious.  Infecting children’s minds with dichotomous gender roles limits their choices, first with toys and games and then down the road with work and real life, and you get things like income disparity and few women in positions of power and the patriarchy keeps rolling on because they’re goddamn superheroes and ladies are for making babies.  Thus are all their toys so infantilized.

So now McDonald’s is continuing this ridiculous trend with toys based on Green Lantern: The Animated Series.  Here are the toys:

We’ve got:

  • Three different Hal Jordans.
  • Kilowog (a dude).
  • Razer (also a dude).
  • A power ring.
  • Cool mask glasses that I kind of want but they probably wouldn’t fit my face.
  • The Interceptor (a ship).

No ladies at all.  Now, there aren’t many ladies in the show from what I’ve seen thus far (I’ve only seen a few episodes because the shows airs on a delay in Canada and certain other means of procurement have been slow to show up on the internets).  Hal, Kilowog, and Razer are trapped in some far edge of the galaxy and it’s just the three of them.  However, at the end of the fourth episode, their ship’s sentient computer system, Aya, turns into a sort of android thing who looks like this:

Plus Carol Ferris is set to turn into Star Sapphire in the ninth episode.  There ARE ladies, with cool superpowers and everything, and they could have maybe stuck one in instead of THREE Hal Jordans.  But they didn’t.

Here are the girl toys, in case you were wondering… they’re something called Squinkies that promise, and I quote, a “surprize inside”:

So little baby animals for little girls to love and care for (in preparation for their future children!!).  To be fair, a couple of them are sort of cool sounding.  There’s a dragon and a unicorn and a pegasus.  Still, you really can’t get more stereotypical than pastel baby animals.

But back to Green Lantern.  As terrible as McDonald’s is, and they’re pretty terrible, this does continue a trend of few to no women in DC’s Green Lantern properties.  Next to the Batman family, Green Lantern is their biggest brand right now, and the ladies are rare at best.

In terms of female creators, the Green Lantern comics are terrible.  I’ve been doing women in comics stats for over a year now, and there are rarely any women involved.  Of the four Green Lantern books published now, only one features a female creator, Nei Ruffino colouring Green Lantern: New Guardians.  There are no women on Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, or Red Lanterns.  For March 2012, there were 40 credited creators over those 4 books, and only one was a woman. 

Inside the comics, the Green Lantern book has a few female characters, but it’s the guys who are the stars.  Soranik Natu is the only decent, regularly appearing female character.  There are a few more, but they look like this:

Or this:

Which is just super classy.

McDonald’s systematically excludes women from their superhero toy lines, but in this case women are hardly well served in Green Lantern products anyway.  Girls can be superheroes too.  Girls can LIKE superheroes too.  But not at McDonald’s, or in Green Lantern comics.

Maybe McDonald’s would go for some cutesy Green Lantern babies.  Baby Kilowog would be adorable.


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10 Responses to “McDonald’s Superhero Toys Again Exclude Women Entirely OR The Problem With Green Lantern”

  1. JanArrah Says:

    Hey.. what about Indigo-1, she’s not been shown to be super sexual and she’s the leader of the most enigmatic group of Lanterns, the Indigo Tribe.

    On a side note, I do not see the obsession with Bleez.. she’s boring.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      True… Indigo-1 is pretty great. But is she a regularly appearing character though? I know she pops up sporadically, but I don’t think I’d call her a regular in any of the books. Maybe she is now… I haven’t been following them very closely the past couples months.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Boys love to be boys and girls love to be girls. Granted that’s not always the case, but come on there are real issues out there. That give Timmy a doll and Jane a gun thing is bogus, kids will pick what they want regardless, and if it’s not available a boy will turn a stick into a sword if that’s what he wants to play with. Genetics will out. In terms of comics Carol Ferris and the Star Sapphires are FEMALES only and are seen as one of the positive corps amongst the spectrum (regardless of their ridiculous outfits I DO agree with you on that point that they costumes are what need tweaking not the characters, which is probably why McDonalds stays away from these kinds of characters. Again the Indigo Lanterns are run by a woman, and characters like Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Oracle, all big characters in the DC universe. The Teen Titans is usually half females and the cartoon version was very well balanced. One of the most powerful Marvel mutants ever is Phoenix and she’s not generally played up as sexual.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    so you’re just now noticing that the superhero genre is male dominated? welcome to this world toots.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      Oh, I’m well aware that the genre is male dominated… McDonald’s toys are just EPICLY so. They never have female characters in their superhero toy lines, even when there are plenty of female characters they could pick.

  4. Rachel Says:

    My four-year-old daughter wants an Aya doll. I am pretty peeved to find out that there isn’t one.

    • Tim Hanley Says:

      I want one too… Aya is awesome!! That’s fantastic your daughter wants an Aya doll, and a huge downer that there isn’t one. I don’t think there’s plans for action figures yet (so far there just seems to be a few DC Direct statues) but if they do make some, I would think Aya would be one. She’s the fourth lead, really. That seems like decent action figure qualifications, should there be any.

      • Says:

        Oh, and after I posted here, my 6.5-year-old son said that he thought the “Queen Green Lantern” was great, especially how the ring came to her.

      • Tim Hanley Says:

        Yeah, I liked that episode a lot, and Iolande was really cool. If memory serves, she was in the Green Lantern Corps comic a lot early on, like the first ten issues or so. I hope she’ll be on the show again soon.

  5. Mark Kovach Says:

    I would liked to have see a toy of Aya in the mix as well. She’s a cool A.I. and part of the GL corp.

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