Articles have stated that the children were not sure if she was a boy or a girl.
Frankly, I think an 8-year old is too young to set her own course and make decisions about the “image” that she wants to project to others. I think that she could use some guidance from caring adults.
Most parents have no problem guiding their child in social norms in various settings (e.g., telling your child that they will dress up for a wedding and not wear jeans, etc.). I don’t understand why the little girls’ caregivers don’t help her find a hairstyle that is short and sassy, but obviously a girl’s haircut, and clothing that encourages an active lifestyle, but is obviously girls’ clothing.
Looking like a girl doesn’t mean having long hair down to her waist, and “frilly dresses.” There are plenty of haircuts and clothing choices that are easy-care and “athletic,” but still make it clear that she’s a girl. I personally think jeans can look very feminine depending on what top is paired with the jeans.
I suspect that it’s easier for the caregivers to just allow the little girl to have her own way. That’s sad for the little girl.