12-Year-Old Girl Writes Open Letter To Sexist Sports Company, Becomes Our Hero In The Process – PHOTO
Sports journalist Chris Peterson is raising one hell of a daughter. Twelve-year-old McKenna Peterson was beyond dismayed that Dick's Sporting Goods store didn't bother to feature any women in its catalog. Being the little ray of junior brilliance she is, she took matters in her own hands, writing the company a stern letter, which her proud poppa tweeted (as parents do, naturally). The letter is angry, but mostly restrained; there's just the right amount of snark in there. (And it's impressive snark for a 12-year-old. From an older snarky lady to a younger one, I tip my surly hat to you, baby madam.) Peterson blasts the store for its female-unfriendly catalog, while providing some basketball statistics on her favorite players and team (the Phoenix Mercury), and it's all wonderfully stated from her surprisingly mature point of view. The full letter is below, but here are the seven most awesome parts of this badass letter that we should all applaud:
"I am writing about the matter that there are no girls in your catalog. I think girls should be treated as equally as boys are treated."
And there you go, the easiest, breeziest definition of feminism, right there, provided by a 12-year-old. Why is it still so hard for so many adults to understand?
"There are NO girls in the catalog! Oh, wait, sorry. There IS a girl in the catalog on page 6. SITTING in the STANDS."
Loving the pointed sarcasm. And the fiery indignation, that the girl (in the catalog) is nothing but a cheerleader. Which brings me to...
"Women are only mentioned once in the catalog on page 5 for some shoes. And there are cheerleaders on some coupons."
Doesn't that just sum everything up: "There are cheerleaders on some coupons"? Not that cheerleading can't be a serious sport; it takes a lot of strength and practice, and have you seen some of the injuries cheerleaders have sustained? It's definitely a hardcore sport, albeit admittedly still a highly sexualized one, and one that fits in with a male gaze view of women's place in the sports world — this catalog suggests that the only place for women in sports is in cheerleading, and that's just not correct. Cheerleading and shoes.
"It's hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog."
Slow clap. Sadly, sometimes it seems like it's hard for girls to break through in anything. And once we do, it seems like we're always trying to keep up with the boys, and it's never quite fair or balanced. Like when we're told not to ask for raises.
"Maybe my dad will now take me to some other store that supports girls to actually PLAY basketball and follow their dreams and not sit on the sidelines and watch the game to get my next pair of shoes and equipment."
Driving it on home, girl, work it where it hurts — the money angle. Although she's sure to say...
"I really DO enjoy going to your store and getting new shoes. The staff are very friendly and kind."
This part kind of made my heart melt — that she's sure to commend the staff on their good work. And finally, the best part is how she signs her letter.
"Sincerely, McKenna Peterson The Fabulous Basketball Player."
BOOM! Mic drop.
She makes such good points, though: Omitting women from this catalog says so much about how we really feel about women in sports, and how society views female athletes in general, and it's not good. We're either totally ignored, we're treated as a joke, or we're objectified once again. You know what happens when I google "female athletes"? The top result is a Forbes article on the highest-paid female athletes (fine), but the second result is "The Sexiest Female Athletes of 2014," followed by "Top 10 Sexiest Female Athletes of 2013," and rounded out by "The 100 Hottest Female Athletes of All Time." *flips table*
Clearly Dick's (I mean, could it be a more appropriately named store for this story?) thinks that women have absolutely no interest in sports beyond being fans for male athletes, the "real" athletes. The absence of women in their catalog speaks volumes to someone like McKenna Peterson, and I'm so grateful that she took a stand. Here's the full letter:
And since she didn't say it, I will: Suck it, Dicks.
Image: Getty Images; ChrisPetersonTCS/Twitter