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Here's Why There Are No Good Female Superheroes in Children's Shows

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 17, 2013 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | December 17, 2013 |

My kids haven’t really gotten to the stage where they’re watching a lot of superhero shows yet, so I’m not that familiar with most of the current slate of animated series. My eldest’s viewing choices, so far, has been limited to Ninjago, Adventure Time (much to my delight, and my wife’s dismay) and, God bless him, Wordgirl (which features a fantastic voice cast that includes Patton Oswalt, Chris Parnell, Jeffrey Tambor, John C. McGinley, and Maria Bamford). The latter two shows feature either a lead female superhero (Wordgirl) or a female co-lead (Adventure Time, though I believe there are no significant females in the more traditional animated show, Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu.

There’s a reason for that, too, as Comics creator Paul Dini explained to Kevin Smith on his “Fatman and Batman” podcast: It’s because girls don’t buy toys.

From Boing Boing:

DINI: “They’re all for boys ‘we do not want the girls’, I mean, I’ve heard executives say this, you know, not Ryan(?) but at other places, saying like, ‘We do not want girls watching this show.”

SMITH: “WHY? That’s 51% of the population.”

DINI: “They. Do. Not. Buy. Toys. The girls buy different toys. The girls may watch the show — “

SMITH: “So you can sell them T-shirts if they don’t— I disagree, A, I think girls buy toys as well, I mean not as many as f***ing boys do, but, B, sell them something else, man! Don’t be lazy and be like, ‘well I can’t sell a girl a toy.’ Sell ‘em a T-shirt, man, sell them f***ing umbrella with the f***ing character on it, something like that. But if it’s not a toy, there’s something else you could sell ‘em! Like, just because you can’t figure out your job, don’t kill chances of, like, something that’s gonna reach an audi — that’s just so self-defeating, when people go, like… these are the same fuckers who go, like, ‘Oh, girls don’t read comics, girls aren’t into comics.’ It’s all self-fulfilling prophecies. They just make it that way, by going like, ‘I can’t sell ‘em a toy, what’s the point?’

DINI: “That’s the thing, you know I hate being Mr. Sour Grapes here, but I’ll just lay it on the line: that’s the thing that got us cancelled on Tower Prep, honest-to-God was, like, ‘we need boys, but we need girls right there, right one step behind the boys’ — this is the network talking — ‘one step behind the boys, not as smart as the boys, not as interesting as the boys, but right there.’

Dini then went on to explain that the reason why his show Tower Prep was cancelled was because it had developed strong backstories for a couple of female character, and it had begun to attract a significant female audience, which was bad because those girls apparently didn’t buy toys, which is where much of a show’s revenue derives.

The lesson here, I guess, is that if girls want more reflective characters in their superhero shows, they need to buy more cheap crap that will probably fall apart in a week. Therein lies your female problem: They’re too goddamn practical. It’s your own fault, ladies. If only you were more wasteful with your discretionary income!

In related news, Powerpuff Girls is returning to the Cartoon Network in January.

(Source: Boing Boing)

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.