By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — From “Star Wars,” to Marvel, to the new “Ghostbusters” — controversies are hitting the toy aisle.

Female action figures have been left off the shelves, in some cases, for fear they would not sell as well.

Whether you were into “He-Man,” “Barbie” or the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” action figures likely had a lot to do with your action-filled childhood.

“Star Wars” has the light speed to jump generations and maintain its popularity.

The main character in the latest movie, Rey, is a woman. But Hasbro and others came under fire for not making enough Rey merchandise.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The director of “Iron Man 3” says one of that film’s villains was originally a woman, but was changed to a man because the studio worried a female action figure would not sell.

“I think it starts with the marketers,” said Sara Kerr with Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul.

She says parents introduce their kids to things they think they will like. And like children, they are influenced by what they see on TV, as well as their friends.

“There’s a lot of gender advertising,” Kerr said. “Advertising in the 70s was not really gender specific. And now we’re back to 1950s levels of gender-specific advertising.”

But a study done at Texas A&M University suggests at least some of this may be biological. Male monkeys selected traditionally-masculine toys, like police cars, when given several items to choose from, and females chose dolls.

The new “Ghostbusters” movie has a cast of four women. There are action figures, but some shoppers say they are having a hard time finding the comedians on toy packaging.

John Lauritsen