Toy Brand Goldieblox Asks “What If All The World’s Famous Action Heroes Were Girls?”

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When you think of all the biggest, and most iconic superheroes in the world and throughout history, what names come to mind? And while you are thinking of them, what gender are they? There’s a good chance they are mostly male. And when we look specifically in the world of entertainment and see the landscape of superheroes projected onto screens and burned into our subconscious as to what someone “heroic” looks like, we start to see the bias emerge.

Popular toy company Goldieblox, which was created by Stanford Engineer Debbie Sterling with the intent to encourage young girls with the basic skills for an engineering career at a young age, wants to change this. Note: they don’t want to get rid of male superheroes, let’s not mix up the message here. What Goldieblox wants to do is equip an entire generation of young girls with representations of female heroes in order for them to feel confident in pursuing interests that previous have been synonymous with male achievements.

They have created a brilliant campaign to promote their latest doll, Ruby Rails, who is a tech-loving superhero and sidekick to the brand’s first stereotype-smashing doll hero Goldie. The video below shows Ruby taking the place of a number of popular male superheroes, asking the question “What if all the action heroes were girls?”

We see her as Neo in ‘The Matrix’, as William Wallace from ‘Braveheart’, as the lead character in ‘Rocky’, as Indiana Jones, as James Bond, and even as E.T.

The question is a valid one, as it is interesting to think what would happen if more girls grew up watching an equal number of men and women as heroes on screen. Sadly, we are yet to see 50/50 equality in character representations.

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“Hollywood has a representation problem…In the hundreds of action movies that hit theaters every year, we see the same type of person saving the day: a big, buff, scowling man. Okay, maybe he isn’t always scowling, but more often than not, he’s a he,” writes Jayme Brown on Goldieblox.com.

Only 12% of protagonists in major Hollywood films are female. In movies across the board – G-rated, family films included – male speaking characters outnumber female speaking characters three to one. And although we want to think this is getting better, it’s not: the ratio of male-to-female characters in film has been virtually the same for 60 years.”

The statistics about women in film in general do not exactly scream of equal representation, which is why it is important that brands like Goldieblox set themselves apart by choosing to offer girls something different than just the status quo. With entertainment being such a powerful vehicle of communication in the world today, it’s hard to deny that the inequalities shown throughout the industry would have a far-reaching impact on its audience.

“On a list of the top 500 films of all time, ranked by box office success, only 1% of films star women of color. That’s six in 500, and the only live action movie of the six, Sister Act, was released in 1992. In 2014, 15% of films had female directors, 20% had female writers, and a mere 8% had female cinematographers.”

However, with all the talk of numbers and how far we have to go, it is important to acknowledge the great strides we are seeing in terms of female heroic characters. Katniss Everdeen from ‘The Hunger Games’, Tris Prior in the ‘Divergent’ series, Black Widow in ‘The Avengers’, the forthcoming ‘Wonder Woman’ film, ‘Supergirl’ TV series and Netflix’s ‘Jessica Jones’ series are just a few prominent names in the new trend toward female-driven superhero flicks.

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It has been a long time coming, especially when we learn that it has been over 40 years since a female superhero-drive series has made it to prime time TV in the United States.

Over the last 2 years, both ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Catching Fire’ were the biggest selling films at the US box office in 2013 and 2014 respectively, which means the audiences WANT to see these female heroes kick butt, just as much as we want to see James Bond.

Of course, these are just fictional, film heroes. What Goldieblox wants girls to know is that the more they are allowed to see themselves as heroic in the media they consume, they should be encouraged to go out and become their own heroes in the world, especially in the science, tech, engineering and math fields, where women are woefully underrepresented. A new Google study that in­cludes sur­veys of par­ents and stu­dents con­duc­ted by Gal­lup sug­gests that ste­reo­types per­petu­ated by TV and movies foster mis­lead­ing per­cep­tions about who is cap­able of pur­su­ing com­puter sci­ence.

More than 60% of male middle- and high-school stu­dents sur­veyed say they are “very con­fid­ent” they could learn com­puter sci­ence, while just 46 per­cent of girls say the same. While 35% of male stu­dents say they are “very likely” to learn com­puter sci­ence at some point, just 18% of fe­male stu­dents feel that way. And more than 40% of boys think they are likely to have a job where they need to know com­puter sci­ence com­pared with 33% of girls.

With the data overwhelmingly showing there needs to be a balancing out of the scales, we just hope the trend of female-driven superhero characters on screen continues in order to change these statistics for girls. You can watch the Goldieblox Ruby Rails video below:

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: 'Little Ms. Crate' Monthly Subscription Box For Girls Introduces Them To STEM Careers - GirlTalkHQ

  2. Pingback: Goldieblox Founder Debbie Sterling On Her Mission To Encourage A Generation Of Girls In STEM - GirlTalkHQ

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