My Annual Rant About What America is Doing to Our Girls

Oh mercy.

I try to stay off my soap box, I mean that really preachy soap box, but about once a year I just can’t take it anymore.

Last year, you may remember my rant from little bit’s completely inappropriate ballet recital outfit.

Most of you probably missed the previous year’s rant about the Family Circle “advice” column that set me off (because I had about 10 readers at the time!).

But this Sunday I lost it.  I was simply trying to outfit little bit with a new pair of shoes.  Becoming frustrated at the Stride Rite prices, I decided to visit a few children’s clothing stores that also offered a limited selection of shoes.  Among my stops were the not-particularly-reputationally-racy Gymboree and Carter’s.  GYMBOREE and CARTER’S!  Wanted to make sure you didn’t miss that these are stores that don’t carry teen clothing.  Or adult clothing.  Or stripper clothing.  Supposedly.

Ahem, I’ll rein it in a little.

Since it is April in Houston (or is supposed to be anyways, tell that to the 50s we’ve had this week), I thought I ought to pick up a pair of shorts.  Little bit picked up an adorable pair of purpled striped knit shorts at Gymboree which I said she could have because they looked about right from a length perspective.  Then I looked at the tag.  They were a SIZE 12!  The shorts that would probably been about the right length for a 4 year old wearing a 5T were a SIZE 12!

I can see you nodding your head because that is exactly what happened when I posted this information to Facebook.

I got an unreal amount of comments to this post: “Is there anywhere that sells preschool shorts that are not micro mini?!?! If not, she may never know what it’s like to wear shorts!”

Here were some of the comments in response:

* We just try to find capri pants – no recommendations here.

* Yes, capris and cut offs.  Not sure who designs shorts that short, but we won’t be buying them.

* I started sewing again for just this problem.  My girls mostly wear skirts with attached shorts because they are longer.

* We shop second hand for older styles but it’s getting harder every year.

* Just wait, mine is 9, I break into hives when we go clothes shopping.

* The shorts for tweens and teens are so short that there is literally no inseam and if they girls do anything other than stand up they show everything.  It’s indecent what’s marketed to young girls.

* We have the same experience.  In a restaurant the other day I was embarrassed and appalled to see a 14 year old wearing shorts with her butt cheeks hanging out.

* We put leggings with sundresses because the dresses are too short on their own too.

* We buy boys shorts.

* Prosti-tot wear.  I cut and hem winter jeans.

EVERY SINGLE MOM HAD THE SAME REACTION!

HOW ARE THESE PLACES STILL IN BUSINESS?

I am stabbing my keyboard viciously as I even type this.  What the hell?  I am sorry, but what the hell?

This is not an issue for one category of people.  This is an issue for you.

Are you a Feminist?  This continued degradation and sexualization of young girls should outrage you!  It defies any progress that has been made and reduces young women to objects.

Are you a Christian?  The slippery slope is ever more steep and dangerous.  When four year olds can’t find clothes to cover up more than their rear then we are in trouble.  Pray all you want, but we also need to be taking some action and finding alternatives.

Are you a father, grandfather, or brother?  You know how men look at women.  You know what it does to see every shred of skin pranced in front of you.  Do you want everyone who passes your daughter, granddaughter, or sister to be thinking those things?

What on Earth?  So here is a very simple recommendation, short of taking up sewing which I know I’m not going to do so I’m not going to recommend it to you:  STOP SHOPPING AT THESE STORES.  Any store that believes micro mini is the appropriate length of short for a four year old or a fourteen year old doesn’t deserve our business.  And maybe if enough places see an impact, and hear an outcry, we can affect change.

Everyone laughs at this idea.  Like one person can’t affect change.  But you know what?  Even if no one else follows this recommendation, I will not personally be supporting them with my hard earned money.

Shop somewhere you see encouraging appropriate attire.  Some of the recommendations by commenters I personally went and checked out and agree that several of them have solid options:

1.  The Children’s Place - they are incredibly reasonable, and the girl on their cover page as I was typing this was in shorts that nearly hit her knees!  (They do have shorter shorts, but they have a lot of “skimmer” shorts.)

2.  Land’s End - again, they have shorter shorts available, but they also have Bermuda shorts and cute skorts that are longer.  (Y’all they also have some really cute, but modest, swimsuits and shorts for women!)

3. Hanna Andersson – pricier, but a pretty broad selection of longer shorts and summer skirts that are age appropriate.

And one last thing.  I said age appropriate in that last little blurb, but y’all, the length I am seeing is inappropriate at any age.  Women have got to set an example for our girls by dressing with some dignity and self-confidence and realize we have more to offer the world than our chest or rear.  It’s gone too far.

Comments

  1. Amen Gindi! I couldn’t agree with you more! My daughter is 13, but it’s not a new problem. We’ve been dealing with it forever – or at least since she started having an opinion (at a young age) of what she wanted to wear. These clothes options create situations where moms (and dads) have to be the bad guys when they say “no way!” And, because some styles are so tight, girls start to think they are fat, when the most certainly are not. It took a lot of work (and being the bad guy) to teach my daughter certain clothes rules – 1) appropriate length, 2) nothing with words on the rear-end, 3) if you lean over you should not be able to see into the shirt, 4) and under garments should not show through clothes. I probably have more, but those are the ones I can think of right now. Fortunately, my daughter learned these rules and usually checks herself before it gets to me. But, peer pressure to wear what’s “in style” is another thing. My motto/rule: Just because you CAN wear something doesn’t mean you SHOULD wear it.

    • Oh Laura yes, “Skinny fit” everything. Yikes. I love your rules – and yes, words on the rear OR the chest! I’m so glad your daughter is taking it to heart.

  2. I am right there with you and Laura!! My daughter is only 7 and I can’t believe some of the clothes that are made for her – No way! I do sew and enjoy making things for her, but we do most of our shopping for her at Children’s Place. Laura – love those rules – I will be using those. And you are right – the only way we can make them change is for us to stop shopping at those stores that sell inappropriate clothing. There are several places that I won’t go into anymore. I am the same way about my clothes.

  3. Ugh…I’m here with you on this one. I know they’re not exactly known for amazing quality, but we’ve had good luck with Target shorts…at least we did last year. Mae is about a size 4, but I went ahead and bought the 4T and the 5T as well so we’d have some for the future. Some of the Circo brand shorts are usually a bit longer (read: closer to her knee than not) and the prices are appealing…$6-8 for a pair, and sometimes you can catch a good sale/deal if you buy a few. We are also big fans of leggings under skirts and dresses. Sometimes I push the leggings up a little, give her flip flops, and call it cute. (It is.) ;) (Oh, and I love Children’s Place…we shop there, too.) :)

    • Yes, I need to look at Target on line – I never have size success in store but that’s a good reminder!

  4. We have had some luck at Kohl’s in those sizes…some too short, but others more modest. Their Jumping Beans line goes til about size 7.

    I will say that I am doing my part, wink, wink. My husband said that my shorts aren’t shorts, they are half a pair of pants. Just fine by me

  5. Loved this post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this! I saw this link the other day and I thought of you:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/girlswillbe/girls-will-be-shorts-designed-to-let-girls-be-kids

  6. I was going to post the Girls Will Be line, also. If these start ups are popular enough then the retailers might start paying attention.

    Sylvia and Rafa currently share shorts and often shirts. It probably won’t last forever, but for now it’s great to avoid all those issues. It is quite the challenge to just buy fun play clothes that isn’t designed to make our kids look like 20 something’s out to party. I don’t want to use my children as dolls. I want them to be comfortable to be kids…

    • That is the trick Claudia – finding something they can play and be kids in and still have them be kids! So tough….

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