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As the Daily Dot summarizes,

  • In 2013, Marvel produced a line of Avengers T-shirts for boys that read “Be A Hero,” while the equivalent item for girls stated, “I Need A Hero.”
  • In the same product line, all of the male Avengers team members got their own shirts, except for Natasha.
  • Last year the Disney Store excluded Princess Leia from its line of Star Wars action figures, although they did think to include a nameless, faceless Stormtrooper.
  • Disney also omitted all the female characters from its Star Wars: Rebels merchandise while churning out products dedicated to their male counterparts.
  • Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise also prominently left out Gamora. All the other members of the ensemble—even the talking raccoon and the talking tree—got their own products.
  • Hasbro recently had to reassure outraged fans that Princess Leia had not been excluded from an upcoming lineup of new Star Wars action figures; however, Leia’s appearance has since been delayed until the summer, and there is no ETA for when she will appear.

Women appear to be systematically erased from marketing and merchandising, even when they play a prominent role in the action. If you were wondering how extreme this could get, wonder no more.

There’s a set of six action figures from The Force Awakensbeing sold at Target, and you’ll never guess who’s missing. I’m mostly kidding, you already know who’s missing: Rey.

Included in the set are Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, Finn, Poe Dameron, a First Order Stormtrooper, and a First Order TIE Fighter pilot. Yeah. They decided to go with two generic troopers instead of putting Rey–one of the main characters–into the set.

This is even more outrageous now that the movie’s out. We now know she’s a linchpin character, someone even more important to the current story and future arc than Finn, Poe, or Chewbacca. Given how much screen time she gets, it’s even fair to call her the major character.

Yet Hasbro passed her up, in favour of two rando First Order troops. Jesus Crepes. And yes, this is worse than just a single box set of figures.

On shelves devoted to Star Wars merchandise, the film’s presumed hero, Rey (actress Daisy Ridley), peers from back of the cardboard marquee housing the scores of toys for display. Rows and rows of storm troopers, aliens of all stripes and menacing helmeted figures fill the shelves. A few Rey figures dangle from hooks, but the film’s other female characters aren’t as lucky. General Leia, Captain Phasma and Maz Kanata have yet to make an appearance here.

Some Star War bloggers have been joking that BB8 – a seemingly asexual robot – has been made a “girl” to help the cause of gender equality.