Hey... Where's Rey?

reyImage via starwars.com

If you've seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you know that the main character is Rey - a young, independent scavenger who is also a great pilot with a mysterious past. Rey is also - gasp - A GIRL!
And because Rey is - gasp - A GIRL, there were no Rey action figures on toy shelves as toy execs have determined that boys would not relate to her.

Being a child of the 70s, I can get behind the logic. As a die-hard Star Wars fanatic, Princess Leia wasn't very interesting to me until maybe Return of the Jedi (and I am not talking about the gold bikini). She was always dissing Chewbacca, rude to Han Solo and didn't really seem to do very much except need rescuing. When my friends and I played Star Wars, Princess Leia was either written out of our adventures or would be a token role for my tag-along cousin Jill.

So when I took my 6 and 9 year-old daughters to see The Force Awakens I was pleasantly surprised by how great Rey is. She was complex, cool, captivating and kicked extreme butt. She had a lot in common with Luke Skywalker down to her desert outfit but, unlike the farm boy-turned-Jedi, she was not whiny or annoying. Imagining my 8 year-old self watching this movie, I would totally see myself wanting to be Rey or at the very least owning her action figure.

But there were no Rey action figure on the toy shelves. Many reasons were given but the big reason (as with Marvel superheroes Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, Nebula and Gamora) was simple: boys don't want to play with girl action figures.

The fact that there were no concrete plans to get behind Rey (instead the push was on emo Kylo Ren) is incredibly perplexing. Hasbro has seen the error in their ways and are now rushing to get Rey action figures into stores. This is a good thing I suppose but I do fear that if the toys are introduced 2 months after the busy holiday shopping season that was December they will not sell well and the original intent to not give Rey an action figure will be justified.

I have little power over whether or not the Rey action figures will sell. I might buy one for my daughters to play with for an upcoming birthday if they truly want to play with her. Personally, I don't really care.

As a dad, I'm just happy to see a character that both my daughters and I can root for. Whether or not a miniaturized version of her can be bought at Walmart is really beside the point.



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Author: Mark Medland

Mark Medland is a 40 something father of five who lives in Mississauga, Ontario. When he is not working at one of the big Canadian banks or raising his kids, he likes to cheer for the Habs and eat amazing food with his wife Vanessa.

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