— Karen Cole (@karlou) November 22, 2014
With a frown that rivals Grumpy Cat's, one little girl set out to express her dismay at the idea that superheroes are just for boys. Her name is Maggie, and her perfectly angry glare went viral when her mom, Karen Cole, posted this tweet with a photo from Tesco, a UK-based retailer. Maggie was clearly not impressed with Tesco's marketing of Marvel superhero merchandise to boys — and her frustrated, furrowed eyebrows said it all. After 10,000 retweets, Tesco removed the sign from stores.
In a blog post, Karen gave the Internet some context about her daughter's look of disgust:
Last year she started coming home from school saying some of her friends were suggesting some toys were for girls and some for boys. I explained that they were wrong, if the toy looks fun to play with then anybody should be able to play with it.
Preach, Karen! Sexism in toy marketing is an ongoing problem, as we saw most recently with Mattel's Barbie Computer Engineering Book, which insisted that girls needed boys' help to code. Another offender was DC Comics, which suggested that girls are only destined to become a superhero's wife (not a superhero) with a licensed tee sold in the juniors section at retailers.
Karen continued to explain how this type of message affects young girls:
Small children on the other hand often believe what they're told and if they're constantly seeing signs telling them something is "for boys" or "for girls" they may start to believe it, particularly when their peers are also seeing these labels and parroting them at school.
If only all toys came with the kind of sweet message, like this one from Lego, reminding parents that toys are gender neutral. Looking for some actually enriching playthings for your little ones? Look no further than this guide to the best toys promoting STEM (science, tech, engineering, and math).