On March 3rd Jane Trow Tweeted the following to Clarks, the international shoe manufacturer and retailer, “My daughter has written you a letter about your sexist shoes. Not all girls want to be pretty princesses.” She attached a copy of Sophia’s letter, which the 8-year-old English girl penned after a miserable shoe shopping experience that ended with the sales associate informing her that the dinosaur-inspired Clarks Stomp Claw shoes she wanted “were for boys’ feet and not for the ‘female bone structure.'” GASP!?!?

Sophia_LetterJane’s Tweet made its way to the shoe maker and they responded. “Clarks are sorry to hear that Sophia was informed these shoes aren’t suitable for girls. The Stomposaurus range can safely be worn by all children.” Hhmmm… really Clarks? Then why on your UK website do you specifically describe this shoe collection as, “BOYS’ styles featuring our fun Stomposaurus character. Exciting dinosaur inspired designs that are bound to be a monster hit.” The Clarks’ reply continued, “We are also developing a broader range of unisex styles which will be available from Autumn/Winter this year.” Of course they are… what uncanny timing.

Sadly, what their statement did not include was any mention of Clarks putting plans in motion for much needed sales team training… the kind that would teach their adult employees how not to say really imbecilic things to little girls.

But the silver lining of Sophia’s tragic shoe story is that it did not end with Clarks’ obligatory and predictable PR response. As word of her experience and brave letter spread on social media, something incredible happened.

Using the hashtag #InMyShoes, countless women scientists and academics took to Twitter to rally around the science, fossil, and color blue-loving 8-year-old. What emerged was a veritable stampede of geologists, engineers, PhDs, archaeologist, etc., all Tweeting pictures of the shoes they wear to do their very important jobs, many of which revolve around the dinosaurs that Sophia loves so much.

It’s really refreshing to see when social media fuels a positive movement, so check out some of our favorite #InMyShoes Tweets inspired by Sophia.

Lead picture of Sophia credit: NNP