Marvel Won’t Make The Female Character Merch We Want So This Mom Did It Instead!


Remember that time Marvel released Black Widow merchandize and the sales were so astronomical that they realized their mistake in ever sidelining female characters on screen and elsewhere? Yeah we know, that clearly hasn’t happened yet and it is a frickin bummer dude!

But one large entertainment and media brand’s ignorance is another woman’s opportunity, as they say. Yeah we know, that’s not a saying, but we’re making it one right now because that is exactly what one awesome woman has been doing.

Rebecca Millar, a mom from Melbourne, Australia and a self-confessed “geek girl” was asked by her daughter if she could buy a Black Widow doll, but was disappointed in her search.

My Avengers obsessed daughter was upset there was no Black Widow merchandise available in the stores here. When I looked online, the few that would ship to Australia were ridiculously expensive ($80 was the cheapest I could find, which was not an amount I was comfortable spending on a doll for a 3 year old),” she describes on her Facebook fan page. 

“So on a whim I purchased a fairy girlz sparkle doll and gave her a superhero makeover. And my Twitter went mildly nuts. Since then I’ve made other superheroes, as well as other strong, intelligent female characters.”


Yep, this badass fangirl decided to find a way to cater to all the other young fangirls out there who can’t easily get their hands on their fave female characters.

And so started the Geek Grrls Dolls project where Rebecca buys used dolls that are already on the market (she doesn’t make her own yet) strips them off their clothes and existing painted on makeup and give them a geek girl make over.

So far she has made a Gamora doll, Black Widow, Wonder Woman, Batwoman, Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, Mystique from ‘X-Men’ and Harley Quinn from the Suicide Squad. But her work isn’t just limited to comic book characters. Rebecca has even given some used Barbie dolls a makeover into TV and film STEM characters like forensic scientist Abby from ‘NCIS’ (played by Pauley Perette) and Captain Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek, and one of our favorites (which we know pretty much no toy store on earth that would make) Aravis, a character from the C.S Lewis book ‘A Horse and His Boy’.

Aravis is a character from one of my favourite childhood books, ‘The Horse and His Boy’ by C.S. Lewis. She’s fierce, loyal, and won’t take crap from anybody. Instead of being forced into an arranged marriage, she escapes, crosses a desert and prevents a war. In other words, she’s total badass,” says the Facebook page caption about Aravis.


Rebecca’s creativity has inspired other moms and geek girls to make their own dolls rather than waiting for big merchandisers and brands to make it for them. On her website, she teaches tutorials on how others can do the same as her, because she and no doubt many other moms know it’s not just about a doll, it’s what it represents.

“It was about the message it sent; that the lead female character in the latest movies/Avengers Assemble Dvd’s/recent books was not worthy of merchandise. She’s female, who would want her? Certainly not the little boys who want boy action figures. Certainly not little girls, because they don’t like Marvel and should stick to Frozen. It’s not profitable to sell Black Widow merchandise because she’s *only* a girl,” writes Rebecca on her website.


“In that moment of frustration, and upon realizing the above, I had a streak of white hot rage shoot through me.  This was bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. How dare these toy companies try to tell my daughter what she can and cannot like? How dare they try and force ridiculous gender stereotypes on not only my daughter, but all the other impressionable little girls out there? Yes, these girls can have the male action figures but they should be at least given the choice to have the female ones too,” she continued.

After the ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ movie was released, there was a huge social media uproar over the lack of Black Widow merchandizing which sparked the #GirlsLikeMarvelToo hastag trending on twitter. While Marvel should most definitely be paying attention to the collection of voices (which essentially make up their audience and also pay their bills) and give fans what they want, consumers should also be thinking outside the box in order to shift the conversation, like what Rebecca has done.


“I could sit there and rant on Facebook about how unfair it was that there was no Black Widow merchandise.  I could Tweet #WheresNatasha till I was blue in the face (or fingers).  I could bitch and whinge about it on my blogs, or start petitions and write in depth articles explaining why it’s an actual issue. Or, I could give [my daughter] a Black Widow, while silently sticking my middle finger up at the toy companies trying to dictate to my daughter what she should like.  A virtual ‘fuck you’, if you will. ” she said.

Now that Rebecca has created and shown so many other parents how to create their own custom-made female action hero dolls for their daughters, it is a good time for manufacturers to take notice, because at the end of the day if they are all about profit, they are missing out on a HUGE audience share by neglecting girls.

Rebecca even did some math on how much money these bigger companies are missing out on.

There’s 209 people in the Geek Grrls Doll Makeover group making their own dolls now. And there’s over 3700 on the page, some of whom are also interested in making dolls. If instore dolls cost, on average, $30, that’s $110,000 manufacturers would’ve made. If just those 209 make six dolls each instead of buying them at $30 a pop, that’s over $36,000 a toy manufacturers could’ve made,” she tweeted to her followers.

Need we say more? It’s about making everyone happy: putting money in the hands of the big companies, and putting the awesome dolls in the hands of the people whose lives and ideas of the world and women will be changed forever because of them.





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