By Heidi Stevens
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Columnist Heidi Stevens perfectly describes how Steph Curry handled “Shoegate” in such a simple, thoughtful manner.
NBA star Stephen Curry made a basketball-loving girl’s dreams come true when he responded to her plea to offer his signature sneakers in her size.
He also gave the rest of us a reason to talk about some of the strict boy/girl nonsense we inflict on kids’ stuff.
A 9-year-old girl named Riley Morrison wrote a letter to the Golden State Warriors point guard asking why his Curry 5 shoe wasn’t available for girls.
“I asked my dad to buy me the new Curry 5’s, because I’m starting a new basketball season,” she wrote. “My dad and I visited the Under Armour web site and were disappointed to see that there were no Curry 5’s for sale under the girls section. They did have them for sale under the boys section, even to customize. I know you support girl athletes because you have two daughters and you host an all girls basketball camp. I hope you can work with Under Armour to change this because girls want to rock the Curry 5’s too.”
Her dad shared the letter on Twitter and Instagram, hoping Curry’s people would see it.
“Unfortunately we have labeled the smaller sizes as ‘boys’ on the website,” Curry wrote in a letter to Riley, which is posted on his Twitter page. “We are correcting this NOW! I want to make sure you can wear my kicks proudly, so I am going to send you a pair of Curry 5s now AND you’ll be one of the first kids to get the Curry 6. Lastly, we have something special in the works for International Women’s Day on March 8th, and I want you to celebrate with me! More to come on that, but plan to be in Oakland that night!”
Do McDonald’s next, Steph. The one by my kid’s swim lessons, where we sometimes stop for a post-dunk Happy Meal, still asks, “Boy toy or girl toy?” in the drive-through. (I’m always tempted to say, “You have Madonna back there??”)
Next, do stores that label their toy aisles “boys” and “girls,” as though Legos have a gender.
Let’s kick the habit of telling kids what they’re supposed to like based on the body parts they were born with.
Let’s encourage them to develop their own tastes and listen to their own voices to decide what colors they want to wear, what toys they want to play with, what heroes they look up to.
Let’s save our correcting and redirecting for the stuff that actually might harm them. (“I don’t want you to play with steak knives, bud. Too dangerous.” “We can’t do a tank top in December, sweetie. Too cold.”)
Children deserve the space to figure out who they are and who they want to become without our pointless judgment and narrow lanes. We need to help them make wise, safe choices, and we need to celebrate, not discourage, the ones that are a little unconventional.
Like Riley’s dad did. Like Steph Curry did. We don’t all have the reach or the money of an NBA star, but we can follow his lead on dismantling the same ol’, same ol’ way of doing business when it comes to kids’ stuff.
Enjoy those shoes, Riley. And thanks for nudging us to have this conversation.