FEMINIST FRIDAY: Female Superhero Merch, The Shins’ New Music, & A Transgender Comedian

It’s Fri-yay which means it’s time for another Feminist Friday end-of-week wrap up! It’s our favorite way to kick off the weekend because we get to share some of the videos that have been inspiring us lately.

Our first video focuses on a topic that we have covered a few times on our site – female superhero merchandising. Over the past few years, with the release of some major blockbuster movies, most notably ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, there has been a public outcry over the lack of female toys available alongside male or non-human characters in stores.

This phenomenon, coupled with the fact that Hollywood still seems to be light years behind in terms of the complex protagonist roles given to women, has made for a formidable storm of audiences and consumers recognizing this is simply a part of the greater cultural erasure of women’s autonomy in society.

The following TED Talk, “Bring on the Female Superheroes!” addresses this issue and gives greater insight into why this is a huge problem. It’s more than just not being able to find a Black Widow doll for your daughter at your nearest toy store, it carries a significance that goes beyond what she sees.

“Media studies scholar (and father of a Star Wars-obsessed daughter) Christopher Bell addresses the alarming lack of female superheroes in the toys and products marketed to kids — and what it means for how we teach them about the world,” says the description of the video below which is a must-see for all parents of young girls, and future parents who hope to dismantle harmful and narrow gender stereotypes for their future children:

The second video is actually a short documentary, created by comedian Robin Tran. Robin is also a member of the transgender community and decided to document her journey going through transition, her relationship with her partner Cate Gary, and her career on stage.

“My name is Robin Tran and that is a *coincidence.* (some people think I transitioned for that one pun),” writes Robin in a description of the video.

Over the past year or so we have seen a very disconcerting number of legislative and cultural attacks on the transgender community by right-wing religious conservatives across America. Thankfully we are seeing progressive politicians and social activists fighting back against the dehumanization and marginalization of this group, but what is also going to help break down barriers and strip away fear of the unknown, is stories like Robin’s.

The less we are forced to see transgender individuals as “other”, the more we have the ability to empathize with them as whole human beings.

We’re glad for trans folk like Robin who are so willing to share their story publicly. Watch below:

Our final video comes from alternative/indie rock darlings The Shins, who have taken a decidedly feminist slant in their track ‘Name For You’ off their forthcoming album ‘Heartworm’, set to be released March 10. This is the second song they have released so far, and the familiar Shins sounds that made us fall in love with them are very much present here.

Lead singer and producer James Mercer wrote this song for his daughters, and the lyrics give you a glimpse into what his role as a parent of girls will be in the future. Ah yes, there’s nothing like a man having his own daughters to more fully realize the existence of sexism in the world.

Here is a snippet of some of our favorite lyrics:

Somebody with an antique notion
Come along to tighten the line
They’re just afraid of you speaking your mind

They’ve got a name for you girls
What’s in a name?
They got a name for everything
All of the clothes that you wear
And all of your bits and pieces yeah

You’ve played the mother and wife
But what do you really dream of at night?

Watch the full lyric video below:

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