The GeeksverseRaising Geek: Finding Women!

Raising Geek: Finding Women!
Published on Saturday, April 27, 2013 by

I came late to ImagiNext. After the birth of my daughter I started pondering how to raise her geeky and confident in her own passions. I needed, amoung other things, a starter action figure line. ImagiNext fit the bill. Unfortunately, looking at the ImagiNext and similar Playskool Adventure Heroes I found male heavy lines. DC SuperFriends’ line introduced Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Wonder Woman which is more women than any other ImagiNext or Playskool Adventure Heroes line, but it is just a start.

Mighty men of ImagiNext

Dude heavy lineup

I’m not the only one who has noticed the distinct lack of Females in these lines. A Facebook page has been created to lament and persuade. As well as requests on the Fisher-Price FB page. And the blogs. And the blogsphere twinkles.

ImagiNext is a great toy line even if it is dude heavy. To be completely accurate as an ImagiNext historian we have to acknowledge the Fisher-Price Precious Places princesses.

Blogs have criticized the Precious Places princess line for capturing the stereotypical gender roles inherent in most old fairy tales. Thinking highlighted by Brave or Shrek styled princesses.

One set, Rosemarie The Forest Princess:

Princess rosemaries loves to visit with her animal friends in the forest. She’ll put on her cape, take a basket of flowers and spend a sunny day at play!

The story line and set seem inspired by Perualt’s Little Red Cap or Grimm’s Little Red Riding Hood. The set includes a few forest friends, a cape, and a princess. Precious Places sets, like ImagiNext, helps children collect toward discovering a world of magical surprises. Princesses were sold in small packs, playsets, and vehicles which is a formula kept by ImagiNext’s packaging. The multi-cultural princesses came with friends, pets, and add on accessories like masquarade masks, party hats, and ofcourse Rosemarie’s red slip on hood.

Conversely blogs have praised Precious Places princesses for including both women and men. Part of the argument against the now glaringly absent women is that Fisher Price put both men and women in Precious Places. Surely, now a few princess could pop up again packaged with the newer castle lines.

2009 was not that long ago in toy time, especially given the still popular G.I. Joe, He-Man, and Transformers lines.

2009 was a long time ago in toy aisle time.

Precious Places can be near impossible to find at retail anymore. Sure, online retailers can still dig them up new and used when you can find them, but sadly the line is not as popular as ImagiNext on the secondary market.

Imagine my surprise when I found two pink Fisher Price princess sets on the back of the pegs at Ollies recently. New for $3.99!

I was able to pick up both Rosemarie and Sirina sets. Sirina is packaged with the nameless generic Prince. The prince reveals how well these Fisher Price people fit in with modern ImagiNext. The Prince has the size and articulation found in the Dino Riding, Robot Policing, and contemporary figures.

The best part of these princesses is that they add a touch of variety to the play.

Raising a geek requires my daughter to be able to find herself in her action figures completely. Roland Barthes essay on Toys discusses the importance of having a world of possibilities scaled down, but the punchline is that playtime is more fun when you can picture yourself in the game.

I don’t want my daughter to only be able to picture herself in the ImagiNext world as a princess anymore than I only want her to find herself only in the hero or the villain. Variety is what my young geek needs. Now that I’ve added the dress wearing princesses alongside Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Harley Quinn, I still think the lineup needs Robot Police women, Dino Riding women, and women scattered throughout the other ImagiNext lines. Meanwhile, Playskool needs to catch up by adding in some Marvel women heroes.

I like the reversal of roles wherein the princesses have names and personalities and the prince is generic. The accessories in this line are fun. Baskets, pets, masquerade masks, etc. They will liven up our ImagiNext play.
Generic prince has the hip and connected legs joint, shoulder, wrist, and neck of the modern figures. The princesses have shoulder neck, and hip articulation. Their legs are fixed but connected by the skirt. The arms are thinner than the male counterparts.
Still for ages 3+ The plastic seems softer than our other ImagiNext figures.

ImagiNext is a great toy line. They could be a great gateway into comics for a new generation. Having the superheroes in this scale is great. Having heroes in scale with dinosaurs, playsets, and fantasy characters is great. Raising a geek will need a good gateway into comic reading and general fandom. Under proper supervision, my thirteen month old daughter is already enjoying putting the Precious Places princesses in the Penguin sub.

Monsters University Inc. will have a Sorority set featuring some irregular gals for the lineup. The figure three pack will feature three variously shaped gals. Atleast one is pinked enough to be instantly recognizable as a gal despite the hoofed feet. The other two are eye lashed females that may not be immediately recognizable. Fans of the film will know. This three pack is priced comperably to the other figure two packs or single figure with a motorcycle sets from ImagiNext. These will debut May 10th just after Free Comic Book Day 2014.

Catwoman, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and now three Monsters Inc gals may mean a shift in merchandising from Fisher-Price to add women to the lines. I hope so.

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