Outrage at ‘inappropriate’ gym shorts being sold for young girls

Upon receiving my tween daughter’s Christmas wish list this year, how much she had changed over 12 months was clearly evident, with requests for toys replaced with “slay fashion items.”

Now I get it, times have changed since I was young (a lot of time at that) and many 11-year-olds are no longer really kids but well and truly living their best tween life instead and embracing all the skin care, fashion and accessories that that entails.

Unfortunately, it seems 2023 tween and teen fashion aren’t much. By that, I mean, it isn’t much taste-wise (at least in my opinion), nor in the amount of fabric used to create the garments.

“Less is more in tween fashion”

Whether it’s singlets, T-shirts, shorts, swimwear, skirts, dresses, heck even jumpers and cardigans, it appears less is more in tween fashion. Sorry, should I say, less is more for tween girl-fashion.

Let’s have a look at some highlights, like these Active Basics Kids Hi Rise Short (with invisible scrunch).

Now, this is number one on my list for a reason because WTAF?!

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A scrunch (which I had to Google) is a seam or stitch between the contours of your bum to define and lift it to create the appearance of toned and sculpted buttocks. And why on earth does a tween need to make their buttocks look toned and sculpted? Why?!

Tell me it is for her and her confidence. Or for her lengthy gym sessions? Or for her work in the health and fitness industry? Hmmm, I don’t think that can be said because I don’t think that is the reason.

As a mum of two girls aged 11 and 9 who are both concerned with their appearance in varying degrees (as many of their peers are), having this sort of fashion presented to them as “the vibe” or “aesthetic,” or whatever the lingo is, just seems incredibly inappropriate, impractical and to be honest, uncomfortable too.

I mean who wants to have stitching riding up their bum? Regardless of how (arguably) good it makes it look? Let alone when you are also exercising. It just seems like an express wedgy maker and having your fingers pulling material out of your bum isn’t ever a good look and really just cancels out any sculpted bum appreciation anyway.

The other really big issue with this sort of outfit, and this goes with sports crop tops too, is that as well as being appearance-conscious, many girls this age are also image and body-conscious.

It is also a very common time for them to drop out of sports (which along with puberty, has a lot to do with these factors).

“It isn’t just glute-enhancing bike shorts”

Visa PlayOn youth sport research from 2023 reveals that the peak age females stop playing sports in Australia is 15, with 31 per cent citing body insecurities as the reason why.

So how on earth does wearing outfits that expose so much of their bodies and are uncomfortable to wear, while they are running, jumping, bending, throwing, and trying to be active, actually serve any helpful purpose? Well, simply, it doesn’t.

But it isn’t just glute-enhancing bike shorts, or shorts in general (which let’s be honest seem to be getting shorter or holier every day) but it is also tops.

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I get it, crop tops and midriff-exposing tees, singlets, everything is “in”, but would it hurt fashion designers to create some options that don’t involve half of the girls’ torsos being on display all of the time? Why is this necessary for every outfit option?

And this goes for swimwear. The bikini options for girls seem to get younger and younger each year and even the one pieces now regularly have cutouts. Given we live in the skin cancer capital of the world and this swimwear is advertised for poolside and the beach, exposing our kid’s skin to the sun just seems really irresponsible and again, impractical.

Call me a prude, or the one with the issue but as a mother of two tweens that are the prime market for many of these products, I just don’t see them as being beneficial to kid’s self-esteem, confidence or comfort.

All I can say is that I cherish my 11-year-old days of my mum still picking out my outfits, regardless of how much I cringe looking back at some of the photos now.

At least I was warm and comfortable and didn’t have to worry about picking out wedgies every time I moved.

This article originally appeared on Kidspot and has been reproduced here with permission

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