Here’s your Friday sunshine story: a little girl who wants to be Darth Vader — of all things — just changed the Disney Store’s approach to gendering toys.
When you visit the Disney Store online, you’ll immediately be met with the problematic choice: are you looking for “girls’ toys” or “boys’ toys”?
And clicking on the links will give you the following, very limiting, options:
Of course, it’s a tale as old as time: girls play with dolls and boys play with trucks. Girls are princesses, boys are superheroes. Don’t fight the patriarchy, etc.
But that is no longer the case on the British Disney Store website, which now looks like this:
The reason for the (frankly monumental) shift in corporate attitude is one young girl, whose nefarious plans to rule the galaxy suddenly seem a lot more likely.
Eight-year-old Izzy Cornthwaite wanted a Darth Vader costume and light saber for her birthday, The Guardian explains, but was dismayed to find that, according to the Disney Store, Star Wars toys were for boys only.
“Her face fell,” Izzy’s mother Rebecca tells the publication. “She said, ‘I can’t have it, it says they’re only for boys.'”
But, just like her idol Anakin Skywalker, Izzy would not let a bit of resistance put her off.
The girl wrote to Disney Store explaining her distress, and received the following reply: “The description for this costume has now been amended as we understand that all our little Jedis enjoy Star Wars.”
And as you can see from the website, Disney Store U.K. has not only changed the Darth Vader costume description. They’ve changed everything. Way to bring balance to the Force, Disney!
Says Izzy’s mother of this gender equality victory, “Some might argue, ‘What does this matter?’ … We know that women are underrepresented in many work roles and I feel very strongly that I don’t want Izzy to avoid a career later in her life because it is a ‘boy’s job’, when I know she is capable of doing anything she sets her heart on.”
Now we can only hope that the American Disney Store follows suit, so no more kids will be put off by arbitrary gender divisions. We suggest tweeting @DisneyStore and letting them know how you feel!