Now that Marvel is drawing millions of dollars at theaters around the world, you’re probably going to be (or you certainly already have been) flooded with a lot of merchandise for the franchise everywhere you look.
The relative absence of female characters in superhero merchandise like women’s superhero shirts isn’t new, of course – stereotypically, comic books and science fiction have primarily been marketed towards men and boys, with women who enjoy superheroes getting left out in the cold. But in recent years, these same women in geek culture have spoken out against this discrimination they see in their superhero community, not just from their fellow nerds but from the people who create and market these fictional worlds to us.
Take, for example, the huge backlash against The Children’s Place last year when a woman buying “Guardians of the Galaxy” t-shirts for her daughter complained that Gamora was not included. A representative from the company dismissed her concerns saying it was a “boy’s shirt,” which caused all hell to break loose on the Internet.
Or just look at the current controversy surrounding Black Widow’s relative exclusion from the “Age of Ultron” line-up, which has spawned several Twitter hashtags, #WheresNatasha and #WhereIsBlackWidow among them. Hell, even stars of the actual movie are getting involved in the fan-led campaign.
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“Black Widow is a staple in the Marvel Universe with a robust consumer products program,” Disney told MTV News in a statement when the latest round of criticism first began a few weeks ago. “Tied to the release of ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron,’ Marvel has over 60 Black Widow SKUS across diverse categories such as Hot Wheels, action figures, video games, t-shirts, costumes, and collectibles, with even more products available for back to school and Halloween.”
They do have one point — while many online critics noted that the amount of Black Widow merchandise on the official Marvel website is seriously dire, there are more opportunities than that to profess your love for Natasha Romanoff if you know where to look for women’s superhero shirts. But it’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the sheer number of designs with Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk — to say nothing of how difficult it can be to find clothing with an Avenger on it if you’re a girl who isn’t interested in wearing baggy t-shirts designed for dudes. You might get lucky and score some feminine from a comic book subscription box, but it should be guaranteed.
One of the best places to find nerd shirts for women? Superior Hero Shirts, believe it or not.