Star Wars Merchandise Sparks Outrage With Exclusion of Lead Female Character Rey

Star Wars Merchandise Sparks Outrage With Exclusion of Lead Female Character Rey
Preston Max Allen

Get ready to throw a Kylo Ren-level tantrum. Despite being the lead character in the new Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, Jakku scavenger/basically flawless character Rey is, well, missing from the merch. This isn't the first time a lead female character has been excluded from "the boys' club" either. Black Widow often finds herself getting the boot from her own Avengers scenes in toy sets, Gamora struggles to be rightfully recognized as a Guardian of the Galaxy, and Princess Leia herself got edited out and replaced in her own iconic moment on a Target T-shirt. For real, if you didn't want a woman on your shirt marketed to little boys that badly choose a different scene, Target! There were a lot of scenes without Princess Leia, trust me. 

This dreadful, sexist trend clearly needs to be put out to pasture (but...what if a boy plays with a female Lego? Will the world end?), and one might think there's no better time to start than with a new wave of Star Wars merchandise that clearly needs to feature its lead. You know, the woman in the center of the movie poster? Because movie-based toy sets usually feature the leading character (or, you know, characters who were cut from the film completely). So as The Force awakens, so will a future of including female characters in toy sets, right? Wrong! Silly us. In November, Jamie Ford's tweet blew up across the internet when he pointed out Rey's exclusion in this Target set:


The father of four girls was of course upset and the #WheresRey quest began. Now, even after the movie was released, Rey is still shockingly hard to find in stores, and not just because she's been laying low on Jakku for years. Here's an update from Jamie Ford about the state of Rey:



And then there's Star Wars monopoly, which decided it would be best if no females were involved, thank you very much. 



To play Vader's advocate, you could point out that about 96% of the Star Wars universe is also missing from Star Wars monopoly, but it actually gets so much worse.

Note: there's a spoiler here. 

In The Force Awakens, one of the many badass things Rey does is pilot the Millennium Falcon awesomely and expertly, and often. In fact, you might call Rey the pilot of the Millennium Falcon. However, this Millennium Falcon toy set calls her nothing, because she is not there. Who's flying the Millennium Falcon then? Um, hold on tight Finn, Chewbacca, and BB-8. It's going to be a bumpy ride.



One of the worst things about all this is that most folks involved with The Force Awakens have been nothing but glowingly proud of having a female lead. J.J. Abrams has spoken directly about how he hopes this film discontinues the thought that Star Wars is "a boy's thing" and that it can be something mothers take their daughters to as well. And of course Rey actress Daisy Ridley often speaks about the positive, inspirational influence she hopes Rey, as a powerful, emotional, and very main character in a major franchise, has on young women. And come on, merchandisers have to know they're doing something wrong when their marketing choice would make Kylo Ren giddy. 

According to The Daily Beast, Target spokesperson Lee Henderson insists Target will go to the light side and that "fans will start to see more of her [Rey] in 2016" as more merchandise rolls out. However, for now it looks like you'll have to tell your kids, "Happy holidays, you can't have a toy set with a girl in it because merchandising is ridiculous."

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Tags: #Women, #Stub

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