Jason Labowitz, president and co-founder of Entertainment Earth, met with fans on Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. He was one of the panelists on the “Beyond Fashion: Creating Kickass Action Figures for Girls” panel. The panel featured Andrea Fernandez of GoldieBlox, Julie Kerwin of IAmElemental, Batgirl artist Babs Tarr, and was moderated by Ashley Esqueda of CNET.
Much of the panel raised the issue of, “why are there not that many action figures for girls?” It’s sort of an unspoken rule that toys are for boys. Boys want to swing lightsabers. Boys want to shoot things with laser pistols. Boys want to play in the mud with their G.I. Joe. Actually, it was G.I. Joe that coined the term “action figure.”
Now I am aware that, yes, girls do play with action figures. But again, I am saying that the toy industry seems to be a very boy centric field and enterprise. The boy isle of Target is dark and has hints of blue. The girl isle is decked out in pink with Barbie in her playhouse. There’s gotta be a way to build a bridge from the boys toy section to the girls, right?
So why are there no kickass toys for girls? There are. You just have to know where to look. GoldieBlox are designed to help young girls and teach them at a young age what engineering and invention are. IAmElemental makes toys for girls that are designed on elemental powers themselves – courage, energy, bravery, and honesty to name a few.
Entertainment Earth recently began selling Bif Bang Pow!’s Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Tina Fey & Amy Poehler 3 1/2-Inch Action Figures Set of 2 – Convention Exclusive figures featuring Tina and Amy as their Weekend Update selves.
Labowitz said at the panel, in regards to why EE has started selling these figures:
“We market towards adults, and that’s what we’ve always done since 1996 when we launched our company. So, from that point of view, it’s always been a collector market. And the collectors, as probably a lot of you already know, want a balanced array of merchandise. And characters. So it never occurred to us that there’s not enough female representation in action figures. All our collectors, they [buy] everything. And they want every character. There’s no, ‘Oh, we have to have [just] Batman.'”
When asked what kind of female characters are missing or need more representation in any industry, Labowitz answered:
“I love non-fiction. I think that it’s an easy sell. We’re a business to sell merchandise and this right here represents real people. And there’s no story here. They’re not actors. They’re not actresses. That’s their profession, but they are real people. So we are strongly supporting this kind of a product line going forward and that’s what I think is missing.”
What did you think of the panel? What do you think about the toy industry in regards to boys and girls?