Sure, it’s right there in the retailer’s name, but still…
After receiving and looking through her copy of the latest Dick’s Sporting Goods catalog, 12-year old McKenna Peterson had a bit of criticism to pass on. Noting the catalog’s distinct lack of female representation, Peterson dashed off an impressive (and appropriately scathing) letter.
“I am writing about the matter that there are no girls in the catalog. I think that girls should be treated as equally as boys are treated. I myself enjoy playing and also watching basketball. WOMEN’S basketball. I had season’s tickets for my state team: The Phoenix Mercury. I don’t know if you are keeping track of the ladies sports world, but they are the Western Conference Champions and the League Champions of 2014.”
Peterson lists a few key female MVPs and stats, then takes the retailer’s advertising to task:
“There are no girls in the catalog. Oh wait, sorry. There IS a girl on Page 6. SITTING IN THE STANDS. Women are only mentioned once in the catalog on Page 5 for some shoes. And there are some cheerleaders on some coupons. It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport, without you guys excluding us from your catalog.”
And then, the money shot:
“Girls buy stuff in your store. In fact, my last two pairs of basketball shoes were purchased at Dick’s, as well as my hoop and practice equipment. 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 to get my next pair of shoes and equipment.”
Shazam! You got that, Dick’s?
Oh yeah, they heard McKenna loud and clear. CEO Dick Stack had the sense to realize this was one letter he needed to respond to himself.
“Dear McKenna, I wanted to respond to your letter about our basketball catalog. You pointed out our obvious mistake — that no female basketball players were featured in our ad. I’m sorry, we clearly messed up and I can personally guarantee that next year’s basketball catalog will prominently feature female athletes as it should have this year…”
While it’s decent that he took the time to personally address Peterson’s criticism, Stack’s response is still kind of lame. Next year’s basketball catalog? Dude, how about ALL the catalogs, and how about kicking your ass into gear right now? If you really want to keep the next generation revenue flowing, it’s time to wake up and smell those crisp dollars before they walk out your front door. As you can see with this bright young girl’s eloquent letter, women are sick of misrepresentation (or none at all), and tired of being sidelined and ignored. The right move — and a true representation of change — would be to put out something better as quickly as possible. Still, the really cool thing to come out of this is that we’re teaching our daughters well, and they’re already effecting change. Way to go, McKenna (and dad/sports journalist Chris Peterson, who brought national attention to his daughter’s letter via Twitter)!
McKenna Peterson’s letter in full:
Dick Stack’s response: