A little girl who wanted a Darth Vader costume for her eighth birthday was upset to discover that her costume request landed under the "boys" category of the UK Disney website.
Izzy Cornthwaite, the would-be Vader, wrote a pointed letter to the company explaining that toys shouldn't be based on gender. Not only did Cornthwaite get her Darth Vader merchandise unlisted as just for boys — both the boys and girls categories under the Disney UK website disappeared completely.
According to Cornthwaite's mother, the little girl was initially in tears over the Darth Vader costume that was displayed on the site as exclusive for boys. But instead of simply consoling her daughter, she encouraged Izzy to write the company about her displeasure over the site's separation of toys by gender.
Izzy received a personal letter back from Disney: "The description for this costume has now been amended as we understand that all our little Jedis enjoy Star Wars," the letter read.
Even better, when Cornthwaite and her mother checked the website, they noticed that the site had changed its categorization for all toys from "boys" and "girls" to simply "kids." The company had also changed all descriptions on their toys – from princess costumes to Hulk apparel – so that they weren't specified as being just for one gender.
By showing that little girls like Darth Vader, too, Cornthwaite made a huge first step in getting rid of the pink toy aisle forever and encouraging kids to play with whatever they want to play with — whether that be Barbies or lightsabers.
Disney hasn't made the same changes on the U.S. website, which still shows categories for boys and girls and even lists the Darth Vader costume as "Darth Vader costume for boys."
The company is furthermore still under fire for its lack of merchandising for Avengers character Black Widow, who was snubbed by the company with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
However, Cornthwaite's victory is however still substantial and perhaps a small step toward changing the way toys are marketed to kids.