Style

Fed up with 'pink and princess' shirts, 5-year-old girl writes letter to Gap

One 5-year-old girl is calling out a major fashion brand for its limited selection of gender-neutral clothing.

Alice Jacob of Washington, D.C., was so unimpressed by the selection of girls' clothing from Gap that, with help from her mother, she decided to write the company a letter.

"I like cool shirts like Superman and Batman shirts and race car shirts, too," she wrote. "All your girl shirts are pink and princess and stuff like that. The boys' shirts are really cool. They have Superman, Batman, rock 'n' roll and sports. What about girls who like those things like me and my friend Olivia?"

Beth Jacob, Alice's mom, told TODAY her daughter has always shunned anything that's "pink and sparkly."

Courtesy of Beth Jacob
Alice Jacob, 5, dictated this note to Gap while her mother typed, but the drawing is all her own.

"Since the time Alice was a toddler... she has had strong opinions about what she wants to wear," Jacob said. "She's a kid who has always loved animals, especially kind of unlovable animals like snakes and spiders and all kinds of bugs. She loves dinosaurs... The challenge I faced as a mom was that every time I went to buy clothes for her, the only ones she liked were in the boys' section."

Jacob doesn't have a problem with buying boys' clothes for her daughter — in fact, she usually does — but as Alice has gotten older, it's become harder to find clothes that fit, even if she sizes down.

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"The boys' (clothes) are cut big and baggy," Jacob said. "The shorts are really long; the shirts are really wide."

It was an unsatisfying online shopping experience that prompted Alice's recent letter, which went viral after her mother shared it with The Washington Post. After school one recent afternoon, Alice and her older brother Charlie sat down with their mom to check out the clothes she had chosen.

"I had picked out a few things for (Alice) from the boys' (section)," Jacob said. "The Gap spring line is awesome — superheroes, race cars. I said, 'Why don't we look at the girls' to see if there is anything you would like?' And it was awful. There wasn't a single shirt that she liked. We started talking about it and we talked about girls' clothes versus boys' clothes, and it's clear that she's frustrated that she is a girl, and that she identifies as a girl, but when she looks at the girls' clothes, it's not her."

Alice dictated the letter while her mom typed. In the note, which they mailed to Gap, Alice suggested that the company introduce "cool" clothes for girls or even nix the separate gender sections altogether, and simply have one section for kids. (Target removed gender-based signage after complaints.)

Gap told TODAY it received Alice's letter and sent a personal response.

"At GapKids, we aim to celebrate all children and try to offer a wide range of styles and choices for girls and boys," the company told TODAY in a statement. "We love hearing directly from our customers and value their feedback. We are looking at how we can offer even more choices that appeal to everyone for future seasons."

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For Jacob, the best part of the whole experience was watching her daughter realize how much power she has to change the world.

"In as much as a 5-year-old can get it, she gets it," she said. "It kind of feels like the best thing ever. For a kid who has always wanted to wear her own thing, and it's not what the other girls are wearing... for her to be able to speak up and say, you need to make room for me, too... you can't ask for something better than that."

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