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:
- 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:
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.
Tags: Aya, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Hal Jordan, Kilowog, McDonald's, Patriarchy!, Razer, Red Lanterns, Squinkies, Star Sapphire, Stereotypical Gender Roles