During Thanksgiving break, I went down to Tampa Florida with my parents to spend the holiday with family we have down there. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, my cousins and I took a trip to Orlando and went to Universal Studios. After you exit each ride, you end up in a souvenir/gift shop and they are usually themed according to the ride. The one gift shop that surprised me was the Spiderman one. While I was waiting in line for this ride, I noticed boys and girls of different ages waiting in line as well. When the ride ended and we all poured into the gift shop, I came across a tower of glass mugs each with names across the bottom. What shocked me was the fact that only BOYS names were written on the mugs and there were no girls’ names to be found. This held true throughout the whole Spiderman gift shop. Key chains as well also only had male names on them. When I walked out of the shop, I looked at my cousins and said “What if I wanted a mug? I wouldn’t even be able to get one. Assholes”. They laughed and carried on but I was still baffled over what I had seen. I thought back to some readings we had discussed throughout the semester and related it to three that we have done.
In the article Media and Ideology, Croteau discusses how Media influences society and how it sets the “ideals” and “standards”. Media portrays a message to young boys about being tough, brave and strong. Superheros are meant to attract the young male population and influence the way they think or act. Never do I see a female superhero, and if there are some out there, they aren’t nearly as hyped up as Batman, Spiderman or Superman. Clearly the Spiderman gift shop at Universal was targeting young boys and completely left out the girls and I thought that was interesting since young girls were also going on the ride and walking into the gift shop when it was over. So is the gift shop suggesting girls don’t like Spiderman or “aren’t supposed” to like Spiderman? What if a girl wanted a key chain or mug with her name on it? One quote that I took from this article that I thought fit well was "Media sells both products and ideas, both personalities and worldviews; the notion that mass media products and cultural views are fundamentally intertwined has gained broad public acceptance”. I wish I could go back in time and approach one of the workers in the gift shop and ask why there weren’t any girl’s names anywhere in the store. By walking out not acknowledging what I had seen, it relayed the message that I accepted what the shop had inside of it and was okay by it. By every person walking out of that gift shop without saying anything, it shows they accepted it as well.
In Kimmel’s “What Are Little Boys Made Of?” article, he talks about how boys are taught to be tough, daring and adventurous from a young age. Isn’t this exactly what Superhero’s are portrayed as? Why aren’t girls taught the same thing? This leads me to the” Cinderella Ate my Daughter” article by Orenstein. Instead of liking superhero’s, they are taught to like princesses and want to live a princess lifestyle. I also noticed there was a gift shop aimed at young girls and it was pink and sparkly and pretty. I’m sure if I were to have walked in there, I wouldn’t have seen one thing meant for a boy. All of these articles went hand in hand since they all have an underlying message of how society sets the standards for girls and boys at such a young age.
I searched Spiderman commercials and came across this one. Notice how there are only two little boys and no girls playing with the toy. Also the voice over is quite “manly”.