Hear the inspirational story behind the young Star Wars fan that changed Disney forever. Disney will look very different in the future. In a (very) good way!
Meet Izzy Cornthwaite, Izzy is one of Star Wars' youngest most avid fans. Izzy wanted nothing more for her eighth birthday than a genuine Disney, Darth Vader Costume complete with Lightsaber. Izzy had never even considered Darth Vader to be a gender specific hero until her and her mother went online to order her brand new costume.
Izzy and her mother, Rebecca, went direct to Disney's online store for the iconic costume as nothing less than the genuine article would do. Izzy's excitement soon waned when she saw that the Darth Vader costume she wanted was listed under 'Boys Costumes'. Her mother said that 'Her face fell and her eyes filled with tears', she went on to sob, 'I can't have it, it says they're only for boys'.
This innocent situation led Izzy and her mother into long serious talks about gender stereotyping and gender identification. Conversations that we don't want to force on our children nowadays. Gender identification is something you are supposed to figure out yourself it is not something to be dictated by corporations
Undeterred, Izzy took it upon herself ( with a little help from mum) to write to Disney, she wished to communicate her disappointment and overwhelming sadness about how the costumes had been labelled.
To everyone's great surprise Izzy received a letter in the post the following week. The reply reads;
“The description for this costume has now been amended as we understand that all our little Jedis enjoy Star Wars.”
Izzy dashed to the family computer to check if this was indeed true, she was delighted to read that the description for her coveted Darth Vader costume had changed.
Not only had Disney changed the Vader classification but the wording for their entire character range had all been changed to 'For Kids'. Characters ranging from Princess Jasmine to Mike Wazowski have all been reclassified to be available and accessible to anyone who wishes to emulate their heroes.
This is a very positive step in the right direction from Disney, Izzy is certainly not alone in liking a wide variety of toys and characters from film and cartoon, she should not be limited to only being able to play with 'girl' toys. Izzy's mother Rebecca goes on to say that; 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.”
I think we can be sure that Izzy will not be one to take a back seat when it comes to equality when she is older. Good on her I say. This is the beginning of a shift in business and the public perception of corporations. We have a voice in this generation and it is fantastic that children like Izzy and many others around the world are standing up for what they believe in. It is our job as adults to encourage and support the next generation.
Well Done Izzy, you may not know it now but you may have helped a lot of people out there that will in the future struggle with gender or are battling those demons right now, you are an inspiration to many. Standing up for what you believe in at such a young age will hopefully encourage others that may have previously felt helpless.