Fourth-grader Sarina Lee likes shopping for cool clothes. What the suburban New Yorker doesn’t like is being told by retailers that some of the styles she craves are “boys’” clothes. For instance, recently she ordered a pair of sneakers. “They came to us way too large because the measurement was for ‘boy sizes,’” says her mom, Glenna. After discovering she had male friends who’d also been put off by gendered items and activities, Sarina decided to set her frustration to work.
“Sarina approached her principals about starting a club at school called ‘The Gender Acceptance Project,’ giving children the space to be who they are and not who they’re expected to be,” Lee says. Next up: Sarina plans to launch a supportive community for students to learn about gender stereotypes as well as start a letter-writing campaign to ask corporations to rethink gendered advertising.
This kind of passion for a cause is a hopeful sign of things to come, especially after a year like 2020 that brought everything from the pandemic to climate change to racial justice into children’s lives.