I was at the grocery store yesterday with my 3½-year old son, and he stopped as we passed a bin of balls. Most of them were solid or mottled, but he immediately picked up the Avengers ball, plastered with the logo and the heroes.
He turned it around for a bit, looking it over, then looked up at me and asked, “Where’s the Black Widow?”
I looked at it myself. Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America…they were the comic book versions of the characters, but the lineup was clearly chosen for movie recognition. (We haven’t shown him the movies, but his mom is an avid Marvel Puzzle Quest player, and he’s learned the characters from watching her.)
And no, there was no sign of Black Widow. (To be fair, I didn’t see Hawkeye either.)
“That’s a good question,” I told him, suggesting maybe we should ask Marvel.
Really, Marvel — and DC too (someone got him a Justice League T-shirt when he was younger that subbed Green Lantern for Wonder Woman in the DC trinity) — you don’t have to be afraid that boys won’t want your merchandise if there’s a girl on it. They aren’t going to be bothered that she’s included, unless you teach them to be.
But even a three year old notices when she’s missing.