SACRAMENTO - The father of two young girls has racked up tens of thousands of views on YouTube with a video calling attention to the lack of female action figures in toy aisles.
"It obviously struck a chord with people," said John Marcotte, whose daughters Anya, 9, and Stella, 6, are big superhero fans.
The video shows the girls browsing the boys' toy section at a Target store and walking away disappointed when they discover none of the action figures are girls or women. (Can't see the video below? Check it out at http://youtu.be/A9mskliJKIA)
"I just wanted to show if you have girls that love superheroes -- and my girls really, really love superheroes -- when you take them to a normal, mass market store, there is literally nothing for them," Marcotte said.
Marcotte points out one collection of superheroes from the hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy doesn't include Gamora, the only female guardian.
"They don't want to put the girl figures in there because they tell people they won't sell," Marcotte said. "And when girls show up looking to buy them, there's nothing for them to buy. So it's a self-fulfilling prophecy."
He said the few female action figures available online or in specialty stores are relatively expensive and appear targeted to collectors, not kids.
Comic book dealer Ben Schwartz, owner of the Empires Comics Vault, said he's noticed the lack of female action figures even as a growing number of comic books feature female superheroes.
"Not only have they sold well among all of the readers, but they have brought in quite a few female readers who don't just want to read about Peter Parker and Captain America," Schwartz said.
Marcotte believes toy makers and retailers need to move beyond the assumption that action figures belong in the boys' toy aisle.
"Toys don't always have to be for one gender," he said. "There's no reason we can't have a superhero aisle with a mixture of both."