It's pretty rare I get excited to see a movie. I'm not crazy about forking over $15 for a film I can watch over and over again on DVD a few months down the road. And it's especially rare that I find a film about black people that seems different from the rest. Most movies about African-Americans are about slavery or the Civil Rights movement. It's like no other stories can be told about black lives. Until Hidden Figures came out. Here's why there should be Hidden Figures action figures.
Hidden Figures is about Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), three real-life African-American scientists at NASA who did the math that sent John Glenn into space in 1962. While John Glenn may have gone down in history, the accomplishments of these women, as well as their names, have been largely forgotten. Their story was finally told in the book Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, which the movie is based upon.
Showcasing real life women whose brains sent the first American to space sets a great example for girls and women, who lag behind boys and men in studying and working in STEM, according to data from the National Girls Collaborative Project.
The movie is especially important to women of color. We've often only gotten to see ourselves on the big screen as slaves, maids, or every so often, love interests. But it's rare to see a movie centered around intelligent black women using their brains and working in STEM.
That's why some people are asking for Hidden Figures dolls and action figures to be made. Romper reached out to Mattel and LEGO for comment, but neither responded in time before publishing.
One woman on Twitter said how great it'd be if Hidden Figures dolls came with a chalkboard and a tiny math book. Another asked where are the Hidden Figures Barbies and Lego sets, a good question considering Lego has been an important part of getting kids interested in STEM but hasn't been especially diverse.
Although there are no petitions (yet), some are encouraging others to ask Mattel to create a Barbie doll line based on the characters in the movie.
On the blog, Thank Her For Surviving, the author hits the nail on the head why having dolls based on the female scientists in the movie is so important:
Can you imagine having tiny little girls that are 5 or 6 years old thinking that want to be a computer genius, engineer, or rocket scientist when they grow up--before they even know what a computer genius, engineer, or rocket scientist really is?
What's interesting is that actress Henson learned that her character Katherine Johnson's father didn't encourage her to play with dolls or do the things other young girls did. But if dolls meant to encourage intelligence in girls and diversity that are becoming more common right now existed back then, he might have.
If Mattel never makes these dolls, we still have the Instagram page adollworldafterall. The page recreates pop culture figures and moments using dolls, and recently posted a picture of the Hidden Figures movie poster, which many have responded positively to.
But even if you think dolls are sexist or having a doll based on Katherine Johnson wouldn't be cool, go see Hidden Figures. Give yourself an opportunity to learn about history from a different angle.