Earlier this month, New Jersey mom Lisa Ryder was flipping through her latest Lands' End catalog with her daughter when something fishy jumped out at them. While there were tons of cool science-themed shirts for boys, the selection for girls was suspiciously absent — something her daughter noticed right away, since she happens to have a love of all things astronomy.
But instead of just shrugging it off and perusing the other sparkly tees for girls, Ryder hopped on the Lands' End Facebook page and started writing. Her post, which quickly went viral, read:
Dear Lands' End,
My nine-year-old daughter loves science; she especially enjoys learning about ocean life and outer space. She has read more books on sharks than I ever knew existed, follows NASA news, and hopes to be an astronaut one day.
So you can imagine her reaction when she saw your company's science-themed T-shirt designs for boys featured on page 26 of your latest catalog. The boys' options include realistic images of planets and our solar system, labeled diagrams of sharks and dinosaurs, and a "NASA Crew" tee design that she immediately declared to be "the coolest shirt ever."
We immediately flipped forward in your catalog to find the equivalent shirts in girls' sizes. But when we got to the available T-shirt designs for girls on page 56, instead of science-themed art, we were treated to sparkly tees with rhinestones, non-realistic looking stars, and a design featuring a dog dressed like a princess and wearing a tutu.
My daughter was very confused. Lots of her friends that are girls love science, too. Why were there no cool science shirts for girls?
So, Lands' End corporate, how should I respond to my daughter's question? In 2014, why are you selling "mighty" tees for boys and "adorable" tees for girls? (Descriptions taken straight from your marketing copy.)
My daughter is mighty and she loves science. And until you recognize that it's not only boys that can fit that description, I'm afraid our family will no longer be shopping in your stores.
Needless to say, Ryder's post attracted lots of attention, with supportive responses flooding in from parents everywhere. But finally, this week came the one response that really mattered: Lands' End announced that it had heard all of their feedback loud and clear, and are proud to announce a new line of science-themed tees — for girls.
The post, which went up Wednesday morning, read:
You asked, we listened — take a look at our brand-new girls’ science tees. Our first two tees are live on the site — pre-order now to reserve her size (due to the quick turnaround, the shirts will ship in August). Based on your response to the tees, we will continue to add new styles moving forward.
For the most part, parents were psyched by this news. "Woo-hoo! Getting one for my niece. Paleontology next, please?" one mom wrote.
Another commented that the tees couldn't have come at a better time in her home. "Perfect timing!" wrote Becca Newkirk-Heath. "We homeschool and my daughter will be studying astronomy this year! Better late than never!"