Check out these awesome female action figures

My daughter, Rose, with her new Christmas friends: Catwoman, Buffy, Serafina Pekkala, Hawkgirl, Lyra Silvertongue, and Coraline.


My favorite is Coraline. She belongs to Rose’s older sister, Alice, who loved the book.

These characters are so much better than the ones photographed above for Reel Girl’s header just after Christmas, three years ago, when I started this blog. I took that photo because, as the mother of three young daughters, I was so freaked out and disgusted by the grinning plastic strewn around our living room.

I’m going to post a photo of the whole new crew soon. There are about 15, and I think, seriously, if this group doesn’t comprise all of the non-sexualized female action figures out there, it’s most of them.

Thank you to A Mighty Girl and Toward the Stars. It is on these new sites that I found all of my daughters’s Christmas presents this year. Let’s just say the figures above are not aggressively marketed or found in my neighborhood Walgreens along side the Barbies, stacks of princess coloring books, or Monster High dolls. Cool, inspiring female figures do exist and can be found in targeted searches. But for the most part, they are not mainstream. Coraline costs $100.

We need more figures to be more accessible to more people. Before we can have more female action figures made or mass marketed– featured in games or embossed on clothing sold at Target– we need more movies, TV programs, and books with strong female protagonists. Since the beginning of time, stories have always been the best marketing tool.

When heroic females go missing from stories, they go missing everywhere.

14 thoughts on “Check out these awesome female action figures

  1. I’m not sure you can really call Catwoman non-sexualized especially given her backstory and plotlines in the majority of her appearances in different forms of media but what I appreciate from this crowd is the variety. As long as there’s nothing blatantly offensive about what’s on offer, I think what’s important is to not say this fictional female identity is better than this other fictional female identity, but that you should be able to have a world where they can all coexist and support one another. Let’s not reinforce the dynamic of competition between women (the pretty girl vs the smart girl) in toys because at the end of the day it still feels like a competition for resources that stems from a desire for male attention.

    • Hi Ann,

      Yes, all skinny and white, too. But where I go with kids media and the race and body types factors is that so much of fantasy narrative entails magical creatures, robots, cars, animals, all of which are always gendered. The sexism– that is the lack of females and the stereotyping of females that do exist– is blatant yet accepted. With this group, they are all human and pretty homogenous, I agree.


  2. I collect female action figures, and a few hundred. Back in the 90s, female figures were short-packed, but at least they existed. (Major props to Playmates who made the Star Trek figs that were both good likenesses of the actresses and thorough in the inclusion of the characters.) Now, it’s rare to find any females at all in the figure aisle. As someone who loves the imagery and inspiration of strong women, as a collector of the toys, it’s so frustrating! I wish the media moguls and toy manufacturers were paying attention. There are women and girls out here who love heroines, and want to pretend to BE heroines. I grew up wanting to be Leia, not Barbie, and I’m not the only one.

    For those of you who want them for your daughters, ebay is your friend; you’ll pay through the nose for She-Ra, though. However, the DC Direct figures that are expensive and found in comic shops are *not* play-friendly at all. I don’t recommend them for serious play. They are articulated (more or less) plastic statues, not toys.

    In the meantime, I’ll continue to search for them, continue to be on the lookout for media that supports positive and strong female protagonists. They may not listen to my voice, but they will see me voting with my wallet.

    • Hi Wendy,

      WOW how cool…those ones you collected in the 90s, do they still exist? Here is my issue: these are figures for my kids to play with, not to stay in boxes, not too expensive to be touched. Paying $100 for Coraline is not something I want or can make a habit of. Already, I wanted to tell my daughter ow much she cost and t “be careful” which is not the point of the her for me. I bought her to inspire my children’s imagination b/c I hate how their imaginary play often repeats these recycled bullshit stories.

      So, please tell me more. And can you take a photo of some and post?


      • Hi Wendy,

        I am checking out your blog. Very cool. When you say a few hundred, are you counting doubles, like different versions of Wonder Woman etc. I got different versions for my kids– a Fisher Price WW and a LEGO WW– but can you give me a count of different characters? Or do you have a post on this I can like to? I will check your blog too.


        • Hi Margot,

          There’s a post I did about the collection here: — there’s some missing from the SciFi wall (not with the main collection) but you can see most of what’s displayed.

          According to my online inventory db at Dash, there’s 343 in the collection, and there are a few duplications. I have regular and deluxe versions of Kaitlin from VR Troopers, two versions of 7 of 9, a few 10″ versions of figures, etc., but I haven’t been crazy for getting every single variant. I do have a weakness for Wonder Woman, though. Since I already have Storm, I don’t need to get the Marvel Select version out now (even though she’s pretty cool). I’ll be conservative and say that there are easily 300 different characters represented.

          Unfortunately, many of those ARE hypersexualized. That’s nearly impossible to avoid – if they are accurate representations of the comic book characters, they’re going to be a little sexier (or a LOT) than they need to be. Even the no-skin Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranger figures have prominent chests. (And Rita Repulsa has gigantic cones – part of her costume on the show, however.) The lines with the least amount of boobage have generally been the ones marketed to young girls – Sailor Moon (that’s making a comeback in 2013, hopefully there will be toys!), She-Ra Princess of Power, Golden Girl and the Guardians of the Gemstone, Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders, and Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic are some of the better lines. She-Ra and Golden Girl are both wildly collectible, and can sell for insane amounts on ebay. Sailor Moon has a strong cult following, and can be expensive to collect (and most would call them dolls, not action figures – rooted hair, removable clothing). Tenko and Gwenevere can be had without breaking the bank if you’re watchful.

          The list I made of the various characters (each letter with its own blog post) is far from complete. Not only have I not listed all the characters, but I haven’t been able to list every single figure made, and it’s not 100% up to date – works in progress rarely are. However, it’s a decent place to start if you’re looking for someone in particular.

          Hope this helps! I didn’t mean to hijack your comments, but feel free to give me a shout at Plastic Heroines. People like you and your girls are one of the reasons why I started that insanity. (MY daughter may be oblivious, but other peoples’ daughters aren’t.)


          • Wendy,

            I tweeted out your collection and shared it on Reel Girl’s FB page. Its really incredible. I wish these figures were not so niche, were less sexualized, and that young kids could really play with them. But I have never seen so many female action heroes all in one place. WOW

            Can you tell me why the work “geek” ? I just asked geekmomblog this too. Are male action hero fans geeks as well? From my association with geek, and maybe I’m dated, its nerdy, to action hero. Unless girls that like action heroes are supposed to be nerdy? And isnt that an oxymoron? Are boys that like action heroes nerdy? Please enlighten me!


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