The world needs more female superheroes. Don’t at me with this. Despite things getting better, there’s still a lack of representation for us humans that aren’t big, burly men. So, imagine my excitement when I saw there was a new female superhero figurine hitting stores (I collect way too many things, OK), only to find out there was one caveat: she’s invisible. Ho-boy there’s a lot to unpack here.
We get a new female superhero figurine and she’s…invisible? (Ofc she is).
Enter Invisible Jen.
Invisible Jen is the um, character that Australian design company Elsewhere Trading Co. has launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Invisible Jim.
Invisible Jim is the original invisible action figure whose mission is “to save the world from crap dolls”.
The idea behind Invisible Jim, and now Invisible Jen, is to poke fun at the commercialism of the toy industry. The figurines come in packaging (despite there being nothing inside) and the idea is to encourage kids to use their imagination and step away from screens. Hmm.
But on the website selling Invisible Jen, we have this blurb (before you read, please be aware this is severely tongue-in-cheek, at least I hope it is):
“At last, a figurine is available of the incredible woman that has stood alongside Invisible Jim all these years unnoticed. The accomplished superhero has stepped out into the spotlight. We think.”
Invisible women standing beside men. Oooft.
For literally a thing that doesn’t exist, Elsewhere Trading Co has gone HAM with its social commentary.
“Equally good at invisible, Jen has the advantage of not having to wear the overtly sexual costumes most lady superheroes are forced to wear. Invisible Jen can be any race, body shape or size you choose. But as her look is ultimately dictated by your imagination, management reserves the right to not sell Jen to creepy boys.”
Elsewhere Trading Co.’s founder, Graham Johnson says Invisible Jen “breaks away from classic female superhero stereotypes and eliminates pervy cosplay costumes”. (While yes, superhero costumes are often overly sexualised, let’s make sure we don’t slut shame.)
“No other action figure comes with such varied costumes and physical features because you invent them all. That’s what makes them customisable and unique,” he says.
Meanwhile, Invisible Jim is pushing (a little too far IMO, at least for someone who loves technology as much as I do) the message of kids having an over-reliance on digital screens. The company goes the “why not force the kids to use their imagination with an action figure that doesn’t exist” route for Invisible Jim.
“Take him on adventures in the jungle. The desert. Outer space. His adventures are not just limited by your imagination, it is a pre-requisite. He can have three arms with in-built lasers for all we care, it’s up to you. (No extra charge for the third arm.),” they say.
Anyway. They’re $15 each if you want ’em. I need to go outside for some fresh air.