Talking about the new wave of feminism and representation in media (including advertising), 12-year old McKenna Peterson takes Dick’s Sporting Goods to task over their recent catalogue lacking, almost, any photos of young women. McKenna writes them a letter outlining her response in a pithy, smart, and fantastic way.
Originally published by Jezebel on October 9, 2014. Written by Jia Tolentino.
Arizona tween McKenna Peterson is today’s most perfectly dauntless embodiment of Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose a Single Opportunity to Stunt on Fool Idiots Who Seem to Be Forgetting that Ladies Can Ball.
After receiving the Basketball 2014 catalog from Dick’s Sporting Goods via snail mail, young McKenna, herself a basketball player, took a little dip inside only to find that there were no female athletes pictured in Dick’s Hip and Fabulous B-Ball Gazette: none at all! Because life is short and sexists are plentiful, 12-year-old McKenna decided to write a little letter, which her father, sports journalist Chris Peterson, subsequently posted to Twitter:
— ChrisPetersonTCS (@TheCheapSeatsTV) October 9, 2014
“I think,” she writes—the “I don’t know about you, idiot” merely implied—”that girls should be treated as equally as boys are treated.”
McKenna is a fan of basketball—more precisely, “WOMENS basketball”—and has the Phoenix Mercury season tickets to back it up. “I don’t know if you are keeping track of the ladies sports world,” she says, ice-cold in the junior high hallway, “but they are the Western Conference Champions AND the League Champions of 2014. They have at least two of the best players in the WORLD.”
Scholar as well as athlete, McKenna proceeds to lay out evidence that women continue to kill it: Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore. “So, back to the point,” she writes. “There are NO girls in the catalog! Oh, wait, sorry. There IS a girl in the catalog.”
Where’s that girl, McKenna?
“SITTING in the STANDS.”
She notes that women are only mentioned once, on a page about shoes, and then later on a coupon with a picture of cheerleaders. “It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog.” Firmly yet politely, she reminds Dick’s Sporting Goods that she is already a patron of their fine athletic gear, but has reached what could be the end of her steely tween rope. “Maybe my dad will 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,” she writes.
“If you actually read this far,” she adds, “thank you for your time and I look forward to seeing girls in the next basketball catalog you send out. I really DO enjoy going to your store and getting new shoes. The staff are very friendly and kind.”
Closing out her master class in dismissing lame Dick’s when she sees them, our hero signs the letter “Sincerely, McKenna Peterson, The Fabulous Basketball Player.”
Slow clap for McKenna starts now, ends never.
Image via Mike Mozart/Flickr