Lethe, you’re not making a lick of sense.
I have seen no evidence that girls are generically less sensitive to advertising and are less interested in parallel consumption such as buying tie-in toys, comics, clothing, etc. Anecdotal evidence in my personal life suggests this is obviously false and consideration of the relevant psychological and social information I have encountered suggests this anecdote is well supported. Put otherwise: Girls. Buy. Fucking. Toys. They already do. They are already advertised to. There are entire aisles at toy stores loaded with pink and aimed squarely at the stereotypical girl child. Girls. Buy. Fucking. Toys.
Second, to propose that media consumption and merchandise consumption are bad for us like they cause some kind of notable health defect is pretty obtuse. You can talk about environmental waste, you can talk about specifically manipulative companies, you can talk about the evolution of negative body image in toy design … but to act like the consumption of cartoons or the consumption of merchandise related to them is something that, holistically, ought to be avoided paints you in a somewhat bizarre light. You mention balance, but that’s not really what you’re implying. You’re saying that entertainment is a vice and “balance” involves doing as much else as you can manage and conceding to things like cartoons when necessary. Well, that’s nice in a way but it’s not terribly realistic. Are you certain you are making these points earnestly?
In the grand scheme of the average income lifetime, what’s a month to a few month’s income spent on toys? And who even *spends *a grand on Transformers toys? Not anyone but the hardest of hardcore fans and collectors. We’re not talking in numbers that actually have bearing on reality here! Even if we were, again, what are you proposing? That you know better how to spend people’s money than they do? As to the lack of merchandise, try finding Black Widow merchandise in Disney’s Avengers lineup. Heck, try finding Black Widow in the films other than a little bit in Winter Soldier. Decades of material, 100s of characters and that’s what they came up with. There are more female avengers in Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye which is all about what he does when he isn’t being an avenger. But women went to watch The Avengers and Age of Ultron. Women enjoyed it and sought merchandise. Women looked for Halloween costumes. They found Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and The Hulk. The giant inhuman green monster that gets relatively little screen time and almost no dialog in the recent movies and whose previous movies flopped badly. As a side-note, consider that for a moment. When The Hulk flops … it gets rebooted. When Superman struggles … it gets a reboot. Batman flops and then gets a reboot about once a decade. But when executives get asked about female-led superhero adventures they say, much like with the whole toy thing, that such things can’t succeed and they give as evidence things like … well what eactly? Wonderwoman, which was never even really given a proper go? Catwoman which was a terrible movie but no worse than other bad super hero movies that got rebooted?
Executives don’t take in this data and come to conclusions. They come to these conclusions and then fit their reasoning into the picture somehow. It doesn’t matter what the exact demographic splits here are. Women read comics. Women like super heroes. Women like cartoons. Women. Buy. Fucking. Toys. And when executives crush creative projects–punishing show creators and artists for making things they like and/or trying to appeal to women–they send a message to everyone watching who isn’t the perfect Boys-Will-Be-Boys boy: we don’t want your business. You don’t belong here. And that’s a problem. It’s a problem that isn’t just about plastic robots that turn into cars.
These behaviors are not limited to shows that are, like Transformers, about selling stuff to kids first and foremost. These attitudes lead to shows that serve other artistic and entertainment purposes being canceled because they won’t also make enough money selling toys to the right people. They train executives to think in certain ways that cause them to look down one shows targeting roughly half our population. These attitudes don’t just affect toy-delivery shows, they affect anything that can possibly make money through toys. Any time toys are being sold, if it’s not princess dolls, the show needs to cleave as stereotypically to boy demographics as possible. How is that not a problem?
Further, it doesn’t fix the problem you’re trying awkwardly to allude to–how is having Transformers only aimed at boys helping? How is it better, even in your incredibly reductionist view, to attack archetypal boys and like-minded girls mercilessly with such advertising rather than spreading things around a bit more? How is it better to take people who like cars and punching things and make them into obsessive toy collectors than to make everyone want toys some of the time?