Despite her huge role in the Marvel Universe, it seems that Scarlett Johansson’s character Black Widow is sadly lacking in merchandise.
Since the release of many new kids’ toys and clothing attached to the Avengers: Age of Ultron film, fans on the hunt for Black Widow products have been noticing a gap in the market where their favourite superhero appears to have been forgotten.
BuzzFeed has gathered a range of social media responses to the issue, with many photos of available merchandise showing a distinct lack of both Black Widow products and Black Widow’s presence in multi-character merchandise. While some fans have argued that Hawkeye too is absent from a lot of merchandise featuring only the ‘big four’ Avengers heroes, it’s clear that when Hawkeye is featured, Black Widow still often isn’t.
And as Mark Ruffalo points out in his tweet addressing the issue, Marvel has a responsibility to promote Black Widow because of her important role as the only woman that is an official Avenger. For children of any gender trying to find women to look up to and for girls looking for superheroes that represent and look like them, their options in the Marvel Universe are disappointingly slim right now.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) April 29, 2015
Representation matters, and Ruffalo makes that clear in his tweet directed to his bosses. It’s a positive action being taken by a cast member amid a press tour that’s had several problematic stops, despite more feminist moments like Cosmopolitan UK‘s interview with Ruffalo and Johansson that flipped the kind of typically sexist questions that Johansson often receives over onto Ruffalo to answer.
If their responsibility to represent and cater to their large, female audience doesn’t matter to them, then Marvel should remember that they’re losing money with every Black Widow merchandise sale they don’t make.