By Jasmine Kazlauskas
A little girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut has penned a heartfelt letter to a department store begging them to make NASA clothing for girls – after claiming she discovered they were only available for boys.
Little Lily Fogels has been in love with all things space ever since she can remember and dreams of becoming an astronaut and living at the international space station when she grows up.
But until then, the bright nine-year-old from Canberra, Australia, has decorated her bedroom with planet posters, a miniature solar system and astronaut cushions – while her head is constantly buried in big books about space.
Lily said she never thought twice about space being a ‘boys thing’ until last year when she claims she noticed that her local department store, Target, only stocked NASA shirts in the boy’s section in boy’s sizes – but not in the girl’s section.
While she still bought the shirt – which was a little off for size – Lily was left wondering why the girl’s section did not have space clothing too.
And then earlier this month [APRIL 6], Lily claims she was left disappointed once again after she spotted a pair of NASA pyjamas in the boy’s clothing area of her local Target – but was unable to find any in the girl’s section.
Feeling upset, brave Lily decided to write Target a heartfelt letter explaining her disappointment and frustration and not being able to find any NASA clothing for girls in the hopes that it would create change.
Lily said: “I don’t know why I started getting interested in space, it was a long time ago. I love that the universe grows and changes and there is always more to learn.
“I would like to be an astronaut and I hope that I can have my own room in the international space station.
“I hope one day I will walk on the moon. My back up job is an astrophysicist and I hope I will find life in space.
“It’s really unfair that Target didn’t have any NASA clothes for girls.
“If a girl who really likes space only shops in the girl’s section, she may not know she can have a NASA shirt if it’s only in the boy’s area.
“I was really upset that they didn’t put NASA clothes in the girl’s section, so my mum told me I could write a letter.
“Girls like space too and I hope there will be more female astronauts in the future.”
Lily’s mother Suzi Fogels, 37, said that she believes males are more encouraged than females to aim for jobs in space – and that Target’s alleged decision to not stock NASA clothes for girls is an example of this.
The mum-of-three added the alleged issue of Target not stocking NASA clothes has been ‘ongoing’ and she hopes that Lily’s letter will help create change.
Social researcher Suzi said: “The message from Target to my daughter is that NASA isn’t for you.
“It may not be what they meant, it may be based on a financial decision, but at the end of the day it is the message they are sending.
“I don’t think being an astronaut is still seen as a ‘man’s job’, but I think men and boys are more encouraged than girls to aim for these jobs, even in subtle ways.
“Target not having NASA clothing in the girl’s section is an example of this.
“If girls aren’t exposed to NASA or other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics related jobs, they won’t know they can aim for them.
“The target issue has been an ongoing thing. Last year we went to our local target looking for clothes for Lily’s brother and there was a NASA shirt.
“Lily was super excited, so she went to the ‘girls’ section to find one but there wasn’t any. So, we bought the one from the boy’s section.
“The sizing was different, but it was fine. Then earlier this month we went looking for sleepwear and again found NASA pyjamas but only in the area that was clearly targeting boys.
“I think Lily was more confused to start with, it makes no sense to her that boys would be provided with NASA clothes that fit and she isn’t.
“I told her, that it was an opportunity to try to create change so tell target that you don’t support their position.
“I think it is time for change. If we aren’t contributing to equality, then we are part of the problem.
“Small decisions by large corporations can make long-lasting changes to our societal structures.
“It is creating mixed messages. At home and school, we don’t tell children that what they can achieve is gender based, but slowly they get exposed to those inequalities.
“I am always so proud of Lily. I think she is amazing.”
Target Australia have been contacted for comment.