Here we go again. As we’ve reported before, there is a major lack of Black Widow (and Scarlet Witch, for that matter) featured in Disney’s officially licensed Avengers: Age of Ultron merchandise. Even with Mark Ruffalo asking Marvel for more female superhero toys for his daughter to play with, the companies refuse to take a hint. Further stirring the pot, Disney and Marvel have left Black Widow out of new toy sets featuring one of her most badass moments in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s like they’re doing this on purpose or something — oh wait, they are.

As you’ll recall in Avengers: Age of Ultron, there’s a scene in which Captain America is busy fighting Ultron, distracting the sentient robot from the team’s real mission. Meanwhile, Hawkeye pilots the Quinjet, dropping Black Widow out of the hold on a motorcycle. It’s Black Widow who ultimately accomplishes the goal (with some teamwork, obviously), and it’s Black Widow who gets to ride around on the motorcycle and be a badass.

But not according to these new Avengers play sets (via iO9). According to Disney and Marvel’s revisionist take for their merchandise, it wasn’t Black Widow who dropped out of the Quinjet on a motorcycle — it was Captain America. Apparently, in the highly fictional fantasy world of superheroes, it’s still just a little too unbelievable that a woman could save the day. Based off of these toys, it seems as though Disney and Marvel have very different ideas about who should have been on that motorcycle.

Marvel
Marvel

In the first toy image, you’ll note that Black Widow has not only been replaced by Cap on the bike, but that she’s nowhere to be found on the box art at all. And below that, in the LEGO set, Black Widow is featured as the pilot, while Cap gets to ride the bike. To be fair (I guess, but not really), Hawkeye isn’t featured in either set, but the exclusion of Hawkeye is based on his lack of powers and the general lack of enthusiasm for the character (although, if you’ve seen Age of Ultron, you’re probably a fan of his now). The exclusion and sidelining of Black Widow is based entirely on her gender and outdated stereotypes about gender-exclusive toys and assumptions about a girl’s place among the boys.

Black Widow drives the guys around so they can save the day, while her male peers (and equals, in the actual MCU) get to do all the big heroic stuff. In that first set, Black Widow isn’t allowed to join the party at all. What kind of bulls—t is this?!

I wish Disney and Marvel would think about the messages they’re sending both girls and boys with their willful exclusion of Black Widow from their merchandise — not only are they insisting on the roles women can or should have, but they’re telling kids that it’s not cool for women to save the day, and it’s certainly not cool for girls to play with these toys or for boys to appreciate female superheroes.

Get it together, Disney. This is more than just unacceptable at this point — it’s downright offensive.

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