There comes a day in every woman's life when she finally has control over what she wants to wear. Some of us become real fashion gurus, while others try to pass off leggings as pants until a job demands more professional garb. But, until that day comes, what kids wear is up to their parents.
It doesn't seem like it would be that hard to shop for kids – after all, what do they really need other than something that is clean and comfortable? For parents of girls, however, finding clothes that meet these simple standards can be a challenge. While there are all sorts of fun and dynamic outfits available for boys, girl options are far more limited. Boys get to wear a wide assortment of colors, with designs that feature astronauts, cars, and animals, leaving the girls to frilly princess and teacup prints that are often pink. If you're a girl who wants to be a scientist, but only the boys wear shirts with microscopes and insects, is the profession really for you?
Though it seems like a small thing, gendered clothes are part of a long list that sets up expectations about one's place in the world, and the problems with kid fashion don't stop there. More and more often, we are seeing clothing that is mature, even sexy, marketed to children. From infant bikinis (who needs that?!) to teeny-tiny tube tops, it seems as though the fashion industry just can't wait for kids to grow up.
When Nikita Friedman, a mom from Australia, visited a popular department store to shop for her one-year-old daughter, she was shocked at what she found. Rather than an assortment of loose, comfy outfits, the only kind that make sense for toddlers who are learning how to walk and getting into everything, she found a major discrepancy in the boy and girl shorts selections. Once she took to Facebook to share her discovery, it wasn't long before the post went viral.
Here is Nikita holding up a pair of green “boy” shorts and black “girl” shorts, both size one. Though made for children who are roughly the same size, there is a huge difference in length.
Nikita found the shorts at Big W, but they are by no means an “original” product to the store. Similar clothing can be found at any big-box retailer, and aside from the obvious questions of modesty and sun exposure that they bring up, they don't even look comfortable. Kids need to be able to dance, play, and fall down, and who wants to do any of that in itty-bitty shorts? Frustrated, Nikita decided to vent on Facebook.
As you can see from the edits Nikita made to her post above, not all parents agreed with her view. And that's ok! There's no 100% right way to parent. That said, however, there were many who supported her wholeheartedly, with some even going as far to contact Big W on her behalf.
Big W responded to the comments, telling Mashable Australia that it, “undertakes a rigorous buying process to ensure we stock a wide range of children's apparel to suit a variety of customer needs and tastes … Big W welcomes customer feedback.”
One thing is for sure – if you don't like what you see in your kid's clothing section, you can take your business elsewhere. At buddingSTEM, a company created and owned by moms, you can find all sorts of awesome girl clothes, with prints like “Apatosaurus,” “chess,” and “rockets.” They are a bit on the pricey side, so if it doesn't fit your budget, check Target. While you might have to weed through a few less-than-favorable options, their summer kid's collection includes a lot of shorts that are stylish, modest, and, best of all, super comfortable.
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