After reading this article in which Paul Dini expresses his feelings about Cartoon Network’s reluctance to garner female audiences, I scrolled down my Facebook newsfeed to the image above. It’s a clever advertisement letting fans know about today’s sale on MattyCollector.com, where fans or spouses/friends/family of fans can pick up essential items like Castle Grayskull.
At first glance, the ad is cute, but then it became not so cute. While tongue in cheek (especially the strikethrough on “dolls”), the pronouns are troublesome. Sure, Masters of the Universe Classics is a line whose main character is He-Man, but the Masters aren’t all men. The forums at He-Man.org are filled with geek girls who, like me, grew up loving He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra, Princess of Power. I was just as excited as Mr. Geeky V about the prospect of a gigantic Castle Grayskull in MOTUC scale.
I’m kinda rolling my eyes at myself at being even a bit miffed by this, but much like Cartoon Network’s stance that they don’t want female superhero fans because they don’t buy toys, it speaks volumes of how far companies need to go to get past the pink aisle syndrome.
Last night, while Mr. Geeky V and I watched TV, we saw a Target ad in which the kids are thanking someone (their grandma, maybe) for the toys they received. The girl thanks her for the Monster High dolls, and the boy for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I think there was a scene where they were playing with said toys as well. What I’d like to see in commercials like this is for the boy and girl to be playing together, even if it’s with their respective gender-specific toys.
Look, I get it. I played with and bought toys from the pink aisles, but I also played with a lot of toys that according to commercials were for boys. That said, though, I remember Star Wars toy commercials with boys and girls, and the 12″ Mego Wonder Woman commercial had a boy and two girls. So it does happen. Just not that often, especially today.
The Castle Grayskull ad is different, I suppose, because it caters to adult collectors, but still. Watching videos from Power-Con and participating in fan forums, I know that female MOTU fans are not in the majority, but they’re not a silent minority either. How easy would it have been to say “How to Make a Geek Love You Forever” and leave it at that? Why even introduce gender into it? Why not say, “How to Make a Geek Love You Forever: put a Castle Grayskull under the tree” or something of that nature? Clearly this is an ad for Christmas, since it mentions 12/25 delivery.
Want to make me love you forever, Matty? Cut the gender-biased bullshit. He-Man would not approve. Here, I edited the ad for you.
Also, Matty? All marketing gender crap aside, that Castle Grayskull is a masterpiece.