Women can bust ghosts, but apparently girls can't play with 'Ghostbusters' toys
This summer, Ghostbusters brings a whole new generation face-to-face with how cool it is to strap a proton pack to your back and take down the undead with style. But because we live in a world where men go into fits of hysteria over the gender of things like fictional busters of ghosts, we just can’t be excited to see Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon use MacGyver technology to save New York City. Instead, we see the Ghostbusters trailer taking home the dubious honor of Most Downvoted Trailer on YouTube. We see trolls going after the cast for visiting sick kids. But not all the sexism is overt. Sometimes — like with toys — it just subtlety reminds girls that they aren’t the target demographic even when the four main characters are women.
With the release date drawing closer, Ghostbusters toys are trickling into stores. Author Chuck Wendig happened to be in a store this morning — a Target based on those price stickers — and found something discouraging.
GHOSTBUSTERS has a cast of four women. The toy proton pack? No girls allowed, I guess. pic.twitter.com/2Ygn6qK373— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) May 13, 2016
But hey, that’s just one toy, right? And maybe there’s a girl on the back of the box? Time for a little digging! A quick perusal of Target’s website confirmed the worst: marketing people still don’t realize that girls like laser guns too. (It also proved toys are spoiler minefields! So many ghosts that aren’t in the trailers!) Yes, each of the new Ghostbusters has an action figure. But when it comes to the artillery? Not a girl in sight. That proton pack sure looks like fun.
Remember Kate McKinnon’s side arm she so lovingly(?) licked in the trailer? They made a version of it into a toy! But no girls allowed I guess.
Now I’m not saying this is a malicious attempt on the toy manufacturer’s part to keep girls away from Ghostbusters toys. It’s just part of that old Boy Toy vs. Girl Toy mentality that is harder to shake than a bad habit. It comes up time and time again. With the lack of Black Widow toys. With the Jurassic World dinosaurs being misgendered as male. With producing more Kylo Ren action figures than Rey. Most of the time, it gets better once the archaic thinking is pointed out. Let’s just hope one day we won’t HAVE to point it out; it’ll just be second nature.