Bailey Shoemaker Richards

A Year Later, How's LEGO Doing?

Would play with

by Bailey Shoemaker Richards Back in 2011 and early 2012, SPARK and LEGO had a meeting about LEGO’s problems with gender representation. A little over a year later, I thought it was time to revisit the issue, see how LEGO is doing, and whether they were living up to our expectations. It’s especially timely as…


Silence Is Not Consent. Our Collective Silence Is the Problem.


[This post contains testimony from the Steubenville, OH rape trial and may be triggering for some readers.] by Bailey Shoemaker Richards Among the many arguments offered by defense attorney Walter Madison during the Steubenville rape trial–plenty of which are despicable victim blaming, but are unfortunate not uncommon–several have stood out. One in particular hinges on…


Manvertisement and Femmephobia

By Bailey Shoemaker Richards The recent trend in “manvertisement” (candles – only for men! Dr Pepper Ten’s “it’s not for women!” debacle, granola cereals – also only for men! And so on, and on) has been covered extensively already, but it’s something that deserves another look. Recently, “Dudepins” was announced: it’s the man’s alternative to…


Teen Pop and the Culture of Purity

We're not all delicate beautiful white flowers waiting to be picked

By Bailey Shoemaker Richards We’ve all heard these songs – “You don’t know you’re beautiful… and that’s what makes you beautiful,” “She wears short skirts, I wear T-shirts,” – and the dozens of others like them: the songs that emphasize young straight white women being ignorant of their own beauty (or deriding a certain type…


Three-Year-Old Mean Girls? I’m Not Convinced

Little girls are NOT inborn to be mean and catty. Don't buy it!

By Bailey Shoemaker Richards If there’s one thing I was tired of the first time I ever heard it, it’s the tendency of writers with no scientific background to categorize observed behaviors as “inborn,” “genetic,” or “hard-wired into DNA” without any reason to believe that’s the case. More often than not, behaviors are formed by…


"Cinderella Ate My Daughter" Is A Fun Book To Swallow

By Bailey Shoemaker Richards Ask any girl who her favorite Disney princess is, and she’ll likely have an answer, along with a detailed explanation. Disney princesses are a ubiquitous part of childhood for millions of girls, but it wasn’t always that way, and it wasn’t even that way very recently. That’s one of the biggest…


Princess Week? Let’s Try Some Feminist Princesses

Princesses Week is an event for girls to “celebrate their individuality” by purchasing identical manufactured toys and costumes. What?!

By Bailey Shoemaker Richards Move over Mother’s Day – there’s a new holiday in town, and it lasts a whole week. That’s right, yet another manufactured holiday has reared its head, looming over the cultural landscape for 7 straight days of non-stop princess marketing (not that there’s really ever a time without it, now it…


The Meeting: When SPARK Met LEGO

By Bailey Shoemaker Richards After months of writing, campaigning, researching, talking to the press and parents and kids, SPARK finally had the chance to meet with LEGO to talk about the Friends line, and LEGO’s role in shaping kids’ play. LEGO agreed to meet with SPARK representatives after we launched a petition that garnered…


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