Friday, June 8, 2012

Starting Lineup: Grrl Jocks

Still working on the Heroines/Villainesses list, thought I'd just set these grrls out of the way so I didn't inadvertently leave them out. I'm really not happy including these with action figures (there's really no "action" to them), but I don't want to exclude them completely, either. Strong women, whether they are physically gifted real people like these women, or if they are from the pages of a comic book, are important role models for all women, not just they little ones.

There's a lot of baggage tied to the word "jock" in the US, particularly if you're more in the "nerd" camp in high school. But the best way to diffuse a negative slur is to adopt it, so yes, I am calling these female athletes "jocks." (And hell no I am not feminizing it by calling them "jockettes." That's demeaning and diminishing.) I'm refraining from hopping on my soapbox here, and railing about different kinds of beauty and worth and what is feminine. You're welcome.

ANYway... Here's a list of the Starting Lineup female figures, made by Kenner* and Hasbro:

Bonnie Blair (US Olympian, speed skating)
Timeless Legends (1998)

Nadia Comaneci (Romanian Olympian, gymnastics)
Timeless Legends (1996)

Florence Griffith-Joyner (US Olympian, track and field)
Timeless Legends (1996)

Jackie Joyner-Kersee (US Olympian, track and field)
Timeless Legends (1996)

Dottie Kamenshek (All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, et al.)
Cooperstown (1997)

Olga Korbut (Soviet Olympian, gymnastics)
Timeless Legends (1996)

The 1996 Timeless Legends assortment was good for the female athletes. Of the 9 individuals in the series, 4 were women!

Not pictured, and not yet in my collection
• Sheryl Swoopes from 1998 and a 2000 NCAA March Madness Starting Lineup series. While still in college, she got two of these figures. (That's kinda BS, because I know there were plenty of worthy athletes out there, why did she get a second one?)
• Pepper Davis from the 1999 Cooperstown Collection.

Unfortunately, it looks like the bias is just as strong with the grrl jocks as it is with the grrl heroes; ladies are underrepresented, period. Alas, Starting Lineup is a defunct line, so any dreams you athletic amazons have of seeing your heroine reproduced (if she's not listed above) are dashed. McFarlane Toys is doing a larger-scale version of sports figures, more like actual action figures, but I haven't seen any women yet. The lines seem to be focusing on US major league sports.

So, if Starting Lineup was an active line again, who would you want included? My first wish would be Shirley Muldowney, the drag car racer (and the first woman to get a license from the NHRA to drive a top fuel dragster).

Here's some links to get you thinking and dreaming. Hey, maybe if enough people asked Hasbro, they'd reactivate this and we'd have our sporting females!

* Kenner's name and licensed properties were purchased by Hasbro in 1991.

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