TNI Guest Editorial: Cancel Culture in Action Figure Collector Communities: Necessary Evil or Cyberbullying? By Chip Carroll

by Jay Cochran
March 07, 2021
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by Chip Carroll in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of TNI.

About the author: Chip Carroll holds a master’s degree in American history focused on contemporary pop culture. He has been collecting action figures most of his life. His favorite toy lines are G.I. Joe, Marvel Legends, and Star Wars. Also, loves to read comic books and has a file at two of his local comic book stores. He is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), an educational medieval organization. He likes to spend his weekends with his friends doing full contact medieval fighting. Lastly, a beer connoisseur, his favorite beer is free and cold.

Cancel Culture in Action Figure Collector Communities: Necessary Evil or Cyberbullying? By Chip Carroll



As an action figure collector, I get joy from showing off my collection to friends and fellow collectors. Social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram have given me opportunities to share pictures of my collection with fellow collectors all over the world. Over the past ten years, I have met good people that share the same interest in collecting action figures. For collectors, me included, action figure collections are points of pride.

It is a great feeling when I find that new wave of action figures on the shelf. I get excited and want to share photos with my friends on social media. I grab my phone and snap pictures of the new wave of action figures in my car and post the pictures on the action figure group that I frequent. I love that group because that is where I get news and updates about figures and see other collectors’ action figures collections. As I am driving home from the store, my phone dings with the sound of a notification from someone responding to my photo. As I continue my drive home, I hear several more notifications sound on my phone. I think to myself, “Oh man, people are really liking my new photo.”

I finally get home and I grab my new action figures and head inside. I look down at my phone and I began to check the responses on my photo. I stop right before I open the front door to my home. To my shock, no one is congratulating me on my new action figure purchase. Instead, I see a lot of negative responses about my photo such as, “Scalper!” “He is such a Scalper!” “You could have saved a few for the next collector.” “Greedy collector!” “You bought two of the same figure, so I bet you are a scalper.” Not only are there negative responses and shaming comments (which are hurtful), but also there are a few private messages calling me a scalper, threatening to tell everyone in the action figure community not to trade with me because I am a scalper. A scalper is a negative term used in the toy community for someone that buys high demand actions figures and sells them for a profit. When someone is labeled a “scalper,” the term often “cancels out” that person’s status as a collector. The stigma of that label is then attached to the collector.

By being labeled a “scalper” in the comments and in private messages, I have just become a victim of the cancel culture movement that exists in the toy community. The toy community is not immune to cancel culture. Most of the toy community exists on the internet and the internet is where cancel culture thrives. According to Dictionary.com: “Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.”

Over the past few years within the toy community two types of shaming have become very popular. First is collector shaming. This is where a collector buys one or more of the same items for their private collection. The reason collectors do this is to open one figure, keep one in the box, and to put another away for trading later. This practice has been around for over thirty years. Also, some action figures are made solely to be army builders. An army builder is a generic army figure such as a Stormtrooper from Star Wars, Hand Ninjas from the Marvel Universe, and Cobra Troopers from G.I. Joe. Collectors will buy several of the “army builder” figures and display them on the shelf outnumbering the heroes in a battle scene or just standing in rank.

The next is price shaming. This is the practice of taking a brand-new figure and selling the figure on a social media outlet at fair market value. Even though the collector may have just purchased the figure at their local store for retail price (plus gas and time, of course), if the figure is really popular it can demand a higher price. A good example of this type of popularity is high demand toys that are released during the Christmas holidays. Many collectors have a sense of entitlement and think that fellow collectors should help the community by selling the figures for retail plus shipping. Some collectors feel so entitled that they should also get a discount on shipping because many online outlets offer free or discounted shipping and expect the individual seller offer the same discount. In a few cases some collectors demand that taxes should not be included in the price because that is only something that retailers can collect. Because, “it is good for the good of the community.”

As a result of selling the figure above retail price, the seller will be attacked, bullied, shamed, stigmatized, and labeled as a “Scalper,” even though it is an unfair label. Sometimes the collector will be ostracized from the toy community, and in extreme cases, the collector will be ousted. There is also a practice where many militant collectors will spend hours matching up other collectors’ names on online selling sites with their social media names and out them as scalpers within the toy community. The argument militant collectors give for this behavior is, “It is best for the toy community.” Consequently, the anti-scalper movement affects all the different toy groups.

A collector can be a great asset within the toy community because of their early access to new figures in their local stores, offering these figures at a retail price plus shipping and helping many collectors get new figures for their collections. However, due to the cancel culture present in the toy community, all it takes for the community to turn on that collector is one high price or a picture with a large army of figures. All the good deeds the collector did are instantly wiped away with comments and personal messages that unfairly label the collector as a “scalper” and ostracize them from the community.

Both collector shaming and price shaming are clear examples of what is called cancel culture, and this affects the toy community in a negative way. These two examples can cause collectors to be forced out of collecting action figures because they have been ostracized by the community. Many collectors can become reluctant to share pictures of their collections or even attempt to sell an item in the toy groups because of the fear of being ostracized from the toy community. Price shaming and collector shaming are two ways to perpetuate the cycle of cancel culture in the toy community. Is cancel culture in the toy community truly a necessary evil or is it a sad form of cyberbullying?



Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
JayC - 2021-03-15 @ 1:37 am
1 hour ago, SpiderS said:

and thats why media always picks divisive and controversial topics that are guaranteedto generate discussion and traffic/sales. I guess next topic should be why we don't need double jointed elbows

Thats true. And if someone was willing to take the time to write a decently written article on why they feel double jointed elbows are not need or more specifically why lots of articulation isnt always needed in an action figure then I would be more than happy to consider it for a future guest editorial segment.

SpiderS - 2021-03-14 @ 11:50 pm
3 hours ago, JayC said:

Here is another interesting tid bit which isn't anything specifically related to this editorial, but something interesting I've noticed. This article has been read by over 30k people since it was posted last weekend. Generated a thread of 4 pages of of people commenting here on the forums.

Then take the guest editorial I posted this weekend. Arguably better written, more fun with a lighter tone. Its had 3 people comment on the thread here on the forums and yet to break 1k views, and I am not sure it will break 1k.

Like I said from the get go, the point of an editorial like this is to create debate and discussion. If your trying to find any kind of motive for me posting it which I was pretty clear about, that is it.

and thats why media always picks divisive and controversial topics that are guaranteedto generate discussion and traffic/sales. I guess next topic should be why we don't need double jointed elbows

JayC - 2021-03-14 @ 8:48 pm

Here is another interesting tid bit which isn't anything specifically related to this editorial, but something interesting I've noticed. This article has been read by over 30k people since it was posted last weekend. Generated a thread of 4 pages of of people commenting here on the forums.

Then take the guest editorial I posted this weekend. Arguably better written, more fun with a lighter tone. Its had 3 people comment on the thread here on the forums and yet to break 1k views, and I am not sure it will break 1k.

Like I said from the get go, the point of an editorial like this is to create debate and discussion. If your trying to find any kind of motive for me posting it which I was pretty clear about, that is it.

FLife - 2021-03-14 @ 8:43 pm
30 minutes ago, JayC said:

LOL, he sold me a couple of figs at cost, which in my view doesnt make him a scalper. But I like how you tried to frame that.

hey, I feel the same way about my friend who steals from dept stores, but never from me. In my view he isnt a thief. And I honestly feel that way, no bull. When he comes over I dont hide my valuables, I dont watch his every move. Weve been friends for 20+ years, I trust him. I truly dont think of him as a thief, until that one day he decides to steal from me.

JayC - 2021-03-14 @ 8:33 pm
37 minutes ago, FLife said:

I commend JayC for being a ride or die type friend. Hes never gonna join the rest of us & pick up a pitchfork. I mean, do the rest of usreally expectthe guy who gave his friend the soapboxto bash him when hes supplying him with figs? I do think its sad that Chip hasnt shown up in here to at least take some of the heat off of JayC.

LOL, he sold me a couple of figs at cost, which in my view doesnt make him a scalper. I know him from Facebook but its not like we are close personal friends. But I like how you tried to frame that.

FLife - 2021-03-14 @ 8:14 pm

I commend JayC for being a ride or die type friend. Hes never gonna join the rest of us & pick up a pitchfork. I mean, do the rest of usreally expectthe guy who gave his friend the soapboxto bash him when hes supplying him with figs? I do think its sad that Chip hasnt shown up in here to at least take some of the heat off of JayC.

robhood - 2021-03-14 @ 6:29 pm

What if, and hear me out, we just limited ourselves to what most stores limit us to, 2. This yr marks my 1st yr collecting figs since I was a shorty and I must say, most of the ppl in the collector community has REALLY turned me off on the hobby as a whole. All the greed and showing off is just?. To the guy who wrote the editorial, u dont need anyones approval anymore than u need 13 of the same fig! (U cant take em all with u when u die.) All u need is 2 luv urself.?Wat makes a man so empty that it takes the likes of others and not his own to fill him up? It reminds me of the ppl who hav 2 hav BIG, EXTRAVAGANT houses and cars 2 make up 4 their deep seated pain and insecurities. Ive been ignored all my life but, THEYLL ALL HAV 2 C ME NOW! HAHA!! I know I still struggle with thinking this way. They made us hate ourself and love they wealth. There r ppl who r sick and dying who just want 2 own their favorite characters fig before its all over but, no one considers that. Disabled ppl physically cant hunt from store to store but toy companies dont consider that or else theyd all hav more made to order, open pre-orders online. Were so deep in capitalism here in America that its sickening and as with all sicknesses, I hope I live 2 c it cured or at the very least, get better soon.

phalecbaldwin - 2021-03-12 @ 9:03 am

I hate scalpers. He knows he shouldn't be scalping, he knows it's #$## and selfish and cries because he thought he'd get away with it. Someone should throw some cold cuts in his vents. Like, push them past the corners so he has to either pay someone to remove them or live with the smell. God I hate scalpers.

Asterix - 2021-03-12 @ 1:40 am

This piece is physically revolting to me. To me, this entire article REEKS of begging for attention and wanting validation for what he KNOWS is shitty behavior.

So, no, he deserves no sympathy, whatever he got he deserves, and the fact he's trying to paint himself as a victim is fundamentally abhorrent. But you know what? Let's just say he's right. Let's say this is an instance of "cancel culture". If EVER there was a group of people that DESERVED to be cancelled, it is @##@@ scalpers. And make no mistake, he is one of them

MysterioMaximus84 - 2021-03-10 @ 8:19 pm

I mean, what it boils down to...for me anyway...is I don't think anyone is necessarily saying he's some horrible person. That's overexaggerating. I'm sure he's a fine dude in real life. We may not be his biggest fan at moment, true, but is that REALLY a big deal? I'm sure there's plenty of people who dislike me in this world. In fact, I sure can think of a few choice women who'd love to monologue on that subject. Hah! But he's behaving like we're going to burn him at the stake. Equating this to Cancel Culture is just ridiculous. People can accidentally come off bad, I get it. We're human. All we're saying is...man...(again I'll repeat)...just have some accountability for your actions instead of blame-shifting. I don't think the outcry would nearly have been as large had THIS not been written. Be mature and I'm sure forgiveness will follow and it'll get swept under the rug and be forgotten in less than a week.

Let me use a metaphor: If you're caught with your hand in the cookie jar, you don't play pathetically innocentand call the one who called you out a bully.You did the questionable deed. You got the appropriate response. Now live in it. Instead he's denying that responsibility and swapping blame on US for something he executed poorly.

Post Your Comment Now! (membership required)




FIGURES SHOPPING ONLINE

Search Online Stores for Hasbro GI Joe

Found Hasbro GI Joe on Ebay
Search Ebay for Hasbro GI Joe Now


MORE Editorial




Advertise on ToyNewsi.com
This site uses cookies for site configuration, advertising, and analysis. By using this site you accept our policies - Read Full Site Policy OK
Sign Up For The TNI Newsletter And Have The News Delivered To You!


Entertainment News International (ENI) is the #1 popular culture network for adult fans all around the world.
Get the scoop on all the popular comics, games, movies, toys, and more every day!

Contact and Support

Advertising | Submit News | Contact ENI | Privacy Policy

©Entertainment News International - All images, trademarks, logos, video, brands and images used on this website are registered trademarks of their respective companies and owners. All Rights Reserved. Data has been shared for news reporting purposes only. All content sourced by fans, online websites, and or other fan community sources. Entertainment News International is not responsible for reporting errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and or other liablities related to news shared here. We do our best to keep tabs on infringements. If some of your content was shared by accident. Contact us about any infringements right away - CLICK HERE