How A 12 Y/O Girl Helped Dick’s Sporting Goods Tackle An Issue Of Sexism


If you thought tween girls were only good for screaming up a storm at a Katy Perry concert or buying out the pink section in a clothing store, well you thought wrong, and should probably do something about that gender stereotyping issue you may have…

It turns out if you are a young girl, you have the power to get the attention of a CEO from a major store chain and possibly change the world a little bit, simply by raising your voice.

12 year-old McKenna Peterson from from Arizona made viral news when the expressed outrage at what she saw in a Dick’s Sporting Goods catalog. Via her dad’s twitter account, she tweeted a letter to the sports store confronting them about the blatant sexism displayed in their latest catalog. Her issue? There were no female athletes featured in the glossy pages. And when women were present, they were relegated to the sidelines seen clapping and cheering on the men.

Here’s her letter:

This tweet was even shared by the Phoenix Mercury and Brittney Griner, as well as Diana Taurasi proving that perhaps they feel the same as what this young girl is feeling. The Washington Post points out that the gender gap in sports in the US is well-known, which is why brands like Under Armour, traditionally known for its male targeting has now branched out to target women.

“Women account for the vast majority of purchase decisions, Nielsen research shows, and American girls’ participation in sports has been on a growth streak for years. Retailers that have devoted floor space, time and creativity to women’s apparel have profited in return,” writes Drew Harwell.

“Girls, when they are portrayed, their athleticism is secondary. They’re usually sexy, pretty, feminine. The role of the female is secondary to being an athletic female. That’s if they’re portrayed at all,” said Nicole LaVoi, an associate director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota.


If women are grossly underrepresented in the sporting world, if there are less opportunities, and if the media doesn’t give as much coverage to female sports, then how are things ever going to change. A 2011 Neilson report stated that nearly half of all the viewing audience for NFL are women, yet their marketing tactics have been dismal (for use of a better word) and the way the recent domestic violence cases have been handled show they need a huge overhaul in the way they view women and sports.

If clothing stores want to have their share of the female buying-pool, they’re going to have to step things up a notch and do their part to create better representation. And as this bright 12 year old pointed out, it’s not that hard given there are a number of boss female athletes for Dick’s to choose from. But McKenna’s words thankfully did not fall on deaf ears, and CEO Edward Stack replied very thoughtfully to her letter and tweeted it to the masses:  

“We have 30-plus years of sport media research that document exactly what she pointed out. We’ve been sounding this bell for years. It still hasn’t permeated the consciousness of some of these sporting-goods companies,” said Nicole LaVoi. “Why is the voice of one girl so powerful?”

Because it shows that change isn’t that hard to do, all it takes is someone to speak up and people with power to act and use their resources.

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