LOL! Nick, you can't throw your opinion around as fact without some data to actually back it up. I don't have any sales data to show how well female figures sell versus other figures - do you? The fact is that no one knows how well a short-packed figure would sell if it was offered more broadly. Do you really believe Hasbro would have sold fewer
Bastilla, Starkiller, and Vizla figures if they had put twice as many of them on the market? I find that pretty hard to believe.
I'm not sure what your point is in listing a number of older short-packed figures. Yes, short packed figures often sell more on the secondary market. That's not called "creating artificial demand," it's simply the principle of supply and demand. Check out an Econ 101 class sometime. When you halve the number of figures normally available, there simply aren't enough to go around and that raises the price. Artificial demand would imply that people are buying up a figure they wouldn't normally have purchased, which we don't have any evidence of outside of scalpers.
Your example actually proves the opposite of your position. If female figures sell so poorly and are less desirable, then short packing them shouldn't cause a demand problem. Bastila, Starkiller, and Vizla are all still commanding higher than retail pricing, and two of those are female figures. And as far as retail sales go, I'm betting Hasbro sold just as many Vizla figures as they did Starkillers. So much for female figures selling in lower quantities.
Hence, they get short-packed. If they didn't, the retailers would give the manufacturers grief regarding case assortments that don't sell through.
Do you really think Target and Walmart would be calling Hasbro to include more female figures in their assortments?! Seriously? How could they even reach that conclusion. From what I've heard, the big retailers ARE upset with the current assortments. That's why you're finding so little at stores, seeing clearance prices on new product, and watching many stores not even willing to carry current Star Wars lines anymore. Guess not everyone likes the current assortments as much as you.
And yeah, if you can let me know where to get a Bespin Leia on the cheap, please unveil the curtain. I still need one.