May 14, 2014

The Ridiculous Superhero Shirts for Girls and Women at Universal's Islands of Adventure

Ah, Universal's Islands of Adventure. Home of Wizarding World, Jurassic Park, Marvel Super Hero Island, and some really lame t-shirt choices for females. I noticed the disparity on my first visit to the park two years ago. For shirts made for boys and men, the designs prominently featured symbols like Captain America's shield, graphics of various heroes, or the X-Men logo. If there was a shirt with text, it said something along the lines of "Be a Hero." There were no shirts about wanting to date Storm or Spider-Woman or shirts featuring She-Hulk that said, "My girlfriend has super strength." Nope.

But when it came to t-shirts for girls and women, there were few designs - in fact, I can only remember seeing two - like there were for men. I wanted a women's shirt featuring Cap's shield, and I couldn't find it. I wanted a shirt with some of the awesome female heroes in Marvel's universe, and I did spot a t-shirt similar to this:

But, otherwise? Ninety-five percent of the shirts for women and girls were some variation of "My boyfriend is a superhero" or "I only date superheroes."

Now, are those designs horrible? Not necessarily. What makes them icky is that they - they being Mighty Fine specifically and manufacturers at large - don't make similar shirts for boys that say "I only date superheroes" or "My girlfriend is a superhero." Likewise, they don't make "be a heroine" shirts for girls and Islands of Adventure doesn't stock many of the designs on men's tees in women's cuts. If I wanted to buy a Captain America shirt that was made to fit me on my visit to Islands of Adventure, I would have to picked the option that says "My boyfriend is a superhero." I have a crush on Captain America, I admit it - but I want more. I didn't have any options that allowed me to dress like Cap or embody the hero. Only options that said I had feelings for him. This t-shirt doesn't display the message I want.

And what message are these t-shirts sending? They're telling boys, hey, you're awesome - you can aspire to be the hero or dress like the hero. They're telling girls, hey, you need a hero. You should date a superhero and admire his abs and abilities. See the difference? Again, if they spread out the designs and offered spins for girls and boys, there wouldn't be so much of an issue. But they don't. For example, look at two designs released by Mighty Fine at the same time last year:
What the...??

I made a repeat visit to Islands of Adventure a few months ago, and these are some examples of t-shirts for girls and women that I spotted in shops at Marvel's Super Hero Island.

That wasn't all of them and again, 95% of the designs on t-shirts made for girls and women were in this vein. I mostly walked around the store making annoyed sounds every time I saw a different design. I just want more options for ladies and for dudes. Why can't it be equal? Come on, Islands of Adventure. Work with Mighty Fine and step up your game.


  1. Great post on the inequalities fostered on girls from practically the womb. I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking she needs a man to "save" her, "protect" her, etc. Girls should grow up thinking that they can be the hero(ine) and aspire to do anything that boys can do!

  2. I have this problem too. I really want to see more women's Thor stuff along the lines of "I'm Thor". I don't want to date Thor (no, not even a little bit!) I want to BE Thor. Who needs a dude with abs when there's awesome belts and hammers of strength that I could have?!

  3. I see this so much in clothes shops. Primark's got a little better recently, but so many times I've gone in there and found the only female shirts with superheroes on are ones with messages about dating superheroes--never shirts with the heroes themselves on. It's so patronising and annoying.

  4. God, I have this exact same problem. I hate the trend of "I only date superheroes!" for ladies comic book clothes. Luckily, some places have got a little bit better here in the UK, but it's still an annoyingly common trend. I wanna wear a shirt that says I'm a superhero, not just that I kiss them.

  5. As the owner of a superhero e-commerce store, I'd be embarrassed to sell so many of these themed t-shirts for girls or women. It's not surprising that we sell a lot more Girl Power themed superhero products than the ones in this post. I too was at Universal Studios (in February) and saw these t-shirts and share the same sentiment.

  6. It really annoys me too, most of the time I end up buying men's t-shirts because the designs are so much better. At a shop near me we had some ladies Pyjamas and everything was pink, so you had a pink spiderman, pink ironman and pink thor, I want my superhero tops to actually look like the heroes not some pink 'girlified' versions.


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