Girls Need Female Action Figures!

Revolution

Famous female action figures for our daughters!!! That is what they  need!!!
I woke up today with an idea that I wish I could afford to put into motion. I mentioned it briefly in an earlier post but in my slumber last night it became much clearer to me.

As a mom and grandmother, I have spent a small fortune buying action figures that were theme related for my children and my grandchildren. My oldest son in the 1970’s had every action figure and creature related to Star Wars and every flying machine from each of the Star Wars movies. He also had Superman and Daredevil figures and Wrestlemania guys equipped with an actual ring. Many a battle was held in his bedroom where Andre the Giant fought Roddy Roddy Piper and a plethora of other wrestling stars, all of whom he could name and quote their current wrestling statistics. He loved all those heroes. They were part of his childhood and long after he grew up, he saved portions of his array of collections, some of which became valuable items. Many are now boxed up in his attic or on display in his home office.

Fifteen and a half years after Seth was born, I had my second child, Johnny, (a wonderful 40th birthday surprise,) and he had me searching for Power Rangers and transformers that he enjoyed like his older brother before him. He created universes where his action figures saved the world from destruction and he used to make mini films with them, moving each figure frame by frame to appear like they were doing amazing things. (I believe a few of his childhood films are still on you tube somewhere, including a zombie movie where the three stooges were turned into zombies if memory serves me correctly.)

And both my boys would often surprise me with my own version of super heroes after visiting those comic stores where they bought Daredevil or Superman comics (or other  figures that were trending at the time). They came home once with a Sherlock Holmes action figure and magazine for me, and a Shakespeare figure equipped with a quarto and quill for good old mom! Former students bought me a Xena action figure because they thought I was a true warrior princess!  (I used to be able to do a great imitation of that Xena warrior yell on the playground to round them up – ahyayayayaiiiii-)  And a few years after my second husband passed away, a man I once dated bought me a Joan Jett doll since he was former fan of when I was a rocker chick and played in an all girl’s band in the 1960’s… a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

But, my question is this… WHY HASN’T ANYONE DONE FAMOUS WOMEN IN HISTORY ACTION FIGURES?  Where are Susan B Anthony? Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gloria Steinem or Harriet Tubman? Sure, we can have every princess on the planet at Toys R Us, but why can’t we have REAL women in history as action heroes for girls to play with? Every March when I taught women’s history I would take out my famous females playing cards. (I had 4 boxes of them, two different sets.) There were women who were famous firsts in science/ medicine, civil rights, politics, inventors, women’s health, education, sports, entertainment etc. And each card had the picture of the famous woman on the front and their bio on the back. We would play various games with the cards but mostly they were used for research because in February and March I always had my American Celebration. A way to encompass Black History, Presidents, and Women and actually TEACH children about American history. With state testing looming overhead I found by combining Black History Month and Women’s History Month I could stuff in all the important historical figures they needed to know and testing didn’t push history to the wayside.  It allowed me to make sure students understood the importance of those who paved the way in our country. Perhaps some of those millennials at the DNC who did not understand the political process would have better understood how things worked if they had been a student of mine in 4th or 5th grade and taken a journey into the past in women’s history in my classroom.

I wish I had the capital to make a little Susan B Anthony and a Harriet Tubman doll. Or Sybil Ludington with her horse (She rode further than Paul Revere on that famous night to let people know the British were coming.) Why is it that Legos and Matel and all the toy manufacturers can make thousands of Disney Princess figures and Star Wars figures (But very few Prince Leah’s by the way, I can never find her for my grand daughter) but they totally over look the women who paved the way for this momentous accomplishment that Hillary Clinton just made. If there are any investors out there…. let me know. I have a list of women who deserve to be the heroes (heroines) for all the little girls out there growing up. They don’t need dolls with lots of crazy make-up, or even Barbie with unrealistic measurements when there were and are real honest to goodness women who lived and died so that females today could have the rights that they do now  in our country and in many places around the world.

The next time my grand daughter, Toli has a tea party she can have it with Grandma and the Hillary Clinton action figure  I just ordered. (Part of the cost goes to fund her election.) That should be fun. Included in our party will be my River Song figure (From Doctor Who), My Xena and Joan Jette action figures as well as Rosie the Riveter too. And if she wants to include Ariel and Cinderella they can join us as well. All the girls are welcome. And we can drink our tea and discuss literature, politics, being strong and powerful and how to change the world…. Pass the sugar substitute please…Girl Power!!!!!!

MARLA AND LOLLY 1966

(1966 photo of friend Marla on the left and Moi on the right. Today we are still trying to change the world in our own separate ways.)

Update:  I did find on eBay a few female action figures that were made in the 1980’s. Annie Oakley is one, Rosie the Riveter is another.  And in the 1950’s tiny glass figures of a several American women were made that went into a lovely curio cabinet.  (Now they are priced at about 500 dollars a set.) It appears that we need to go back and give our little girls real honest to goodness heroines to be proud of.  And there are also actual paper doll sets on eBay and amazon of famous women that were created in the 90’s.  I’m not sure how we got so off track, but we need to re-establish our priorities again and instead of Kardashians give our little girls real heroes to look up to. They are out there, we just need to look…..

 

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Author: Lesleykluchin

I am a teacher, writer, mother, and a grandmother. I have spent the last 36 years of my life as a teacher, enriching and motivating students to find the joy in learning and developing a love for the written word. As a newly retired educator I now volunteer my time writing curriculum for an after school spoken word poetry program. In my youth before teaching, I was an actress, played in an all girl's rock band in the late 60's, and protested for equality and peace while in college. I am still very involved in political issues that will help make this planet a better place in which to live, so that my precious grandchildren can stop and smell the roses and know that our world is a thing of beauty and the people in it can be filled with love, creative attributes, and artistic endeavors. I hope my efforts to fight for equality, freedom, truth and justice will survive in this brave new world of ours. We owe it to the children to continue to push forward no matter the hardships and challenges we might face with this new administration. Peace, love, and rock-n- roll!

5 thoughts on “Girls Need Female Action Figures!”

  1. Action figures for girls were never popular because the toy companies could not make money off them as they did with action figures for boys. Now that we have a woman heading to he White House, I believe that will change. It’s cultural and once the culture gets used to strong women as public figures, just maybe, we will have those dolls. Of course, we can’t leave it to the big toy companies because it’s all about profit. The whole princess thing has been pushed for so many years that little girls believe in them. After all, what’s more fun–princesses with unicorns and rainbows or tough women charging through the halls of congress making change happen. When the latter becomes not only fun but important to little girls, then we will have our female action figures.

    1. Truer words were never spoken! You are so right. We gals need to promote remarkable women. All women! The strong ones, the leaders, the ladies who have endured tragedy and survived. If on Saturday mornings or even the Disney channel had cartoon episodes of women in history, little girls (and boys) would not only learn, but want an action figure of their favorite female(s). If Dora the Explorer is an educational hit surely we can make women in Congress marketable . 👍 You never know. I certainly hope so!!!

  2. Perhaps instead of Barbie’s dream house they could make one called Hillary’s Oval Office. And she could stop and have tea with more dolls of Chelsea and her children who come to visit granny before she visits with heads of state. There are lots of possibilities. 🙂

  3. Great idea Leslie to bring history to life in female figures. I have used some terrific you tube videos in my college classes to expand on this topic. I learned more than the students it seemed about the many female contributors in U.S. History that have never been properly recognized.

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