Shut up and take our money for this dancing Groot toy
If you’ve seen Guardians of the Galaxy (and let’s face it, at this point it feels like everyone has), then you may be shocked to discover that Disney and Marvel are not selling a ton of dancing Groot toys.
With no official version in sight, GotG fans are taking matters into their own hands.
My completely pull-out-of-my-butt theory about why Disney is leaving Dancing Groot money on the table:
Disney, as everyone knows, *owns* the girls-toy market. A big reason Disney bought Marvel was to move into the boys market.
Disney, like other toy hegemons, is taking a general toy-marketing strategy of stressing, emphasizing, and dare I say *creating* gender differences. Gender differentiation is what they are selling kids (and their parents): toys aren’t just for fun, they also work to reassure children & parents that the kids are gender-conforming.
Dancing Groot is too gender-neutral. Groot is referred to as “he” and is voiced/acted by Vin Diesel, but doesn’t really come across as necessarily masculine — and since few plants have separate sexes, the appropriate pronoun is probably “they” or “ze”, anyway.
More important for toy marketing, Dancing Groot doesn’t follow current color-coding for toy genders: ze is neither pink/purple (“for girls”) nor black with silver/red/blue accents (“for boys”). Dancing Groot is adorably cute (=”for girls”), but references Vin Diesel (=”for boys”).
TLDR: Dancing Groot cares nothing for you gender norms, so Disney/Marvel literally have no way to market it. I even think they’re *afraid* to.
Marvel, including GotG, is *supposed* to be For Boys — and in the hyper-conformist world of toy marketing, that means No Girls Allowed. If girls buy the toys, then boys (and their parents) won’t feel reassured about their masculine role-playing. That’s why there’s no kid-friendly Gamora merch — because if girls buy GotG merch, or even show up in the boy’s aisles (instead of the Pink Aisles where they belong), then obviously GotG merch is not a sign of boyhood, it would be just a toy. Dancing Groot would *also* be just a toy — and that’s not as profitable, or at least not as easy to market, as something that’s a toy and also a reinforcer of gender norms. Even having Dancing Groot (or Gamora) next to the other GotG merch would contaminate it, it would give the whole line the air of Not Necessarily Just For Boys.
Cooties, we used to call it.