An Australian mom is calling out retailer Big W for the ridiculous gender bias present in their too-short clothing for little girls.
It’s that time of year again. The shorts are out in stores and parents are rightfully outraged and dismayed at the teeny, tiny offerings for little girls. An Australian mom decided she’s had enough, and she’s leading a campaign for change after she took to retailer Big W’s Facebook page to complain about the length of the shorts available for her toddler.
Nikita Friedman was out shopping for her daughter when she took a photo comparing a pair of girl’s size one shorts to a pair of boy’s shorts in the same size. In the photo, you can clearly see that the boy shorts are about three inches longer and way more relaxed in their fit, while the shorts for toddler girls look like a restrictive denim diaper.
Outraged at the offerings for her little girl, Friedman posted the now-deleted photo on Big W’s Facebook page and wrote:
“Little girls shorts in a size 1 next to little boys shorts in a size 1. Why on earth does my 1 year old need to have shorts so short that her nappy is hanging out??? Little girls are not sex objects. Gender bias is disgusting.”
Within hours, the post had 23,000 likes and close to 2,000 shares. Thousands of people left comments agreeing with Friedman and even shared their own photos and stories of too-short merchandise they’ve found available at the store for their kids. Of course, hundreds of people also left the usual comments telling Friedman to “get over it” and “don’t buy it if you don’t like it.” She responded to them later by updating her original post, adding that she decided to take her business elsewhere, but felt Big W had a right to know why. She wrote:
If we don’t let retailers know it’s an issue, nothing will ever change. I chose Facebook as the forum to express my dissatisfaction because their in-store signage encourages customers to go online to leave feedback, so that’s what I’ve done. The simple fact is that numbers talk, and maybe seeing 1600 parents (so far!) agree with my post after only 5 hours might make Big W stand up and listen for once to what parents want. If not, that’s their prerogative, but at least I’ve tried. I couldn’t find a single pair of shorts in the girl’s section today with an inseam of more than a couple of cm. Where is the variety and choice for parents looking to teach their children about sun safety and self respect?
Big W responded to Friedman’s post a few hours after it went up, writing that they will “certainly discuss yours and other views posted to this thread with the relevant team.” Whether that leads to actual change or not remains to be seen, but Friedman is right when she points out the importance of parents speaking up.
It seems like every year we go through the same arguments about the shorts and swimsuits, but year after year brands just keep putting out the same styles. The bottom line is, whether you agree with Friedman or not about the length of the shorts, parents should have options. Little girls shouldn’t be forced into tiny, too-short shorts just by nature of identifying as female. In fact, no one should be forced into a particular style of shorts. These are toddlers and babies we’re talking about. Why not just have one big clothing section for everyone with a variety of options for all kids?
Kids want to run, jump, and play. They don’t need to dress like little fashionistas, and it’s certainly not practical to put them in shorts they can’t even button that are so tiny their diapers hang out. If parents want to buy these kinds of shorts for their kids, that’s their choice, but we shouldn’t be forced to choose between Daisy Dukes or shopping in a different section just because retailers can’t get their shit together.