Target Backlash: Moms Speak Out Against Tween Fashion
I have a bone to pick with children’s clothing manufacturers. Walk past the window displays of any children’s clothier and you may catch a glimpse of mini-mannequins, sporting über short dresses, and super low-cut tops. And if it wasn’t for their size, you might expect these fashions to have come straight from the runway.
Last week a disgruntled mother posted a comment on Target Australia’s Facebook page. Ana Laura Amini expressed her disappointment with the store’s clothing offerings for girls between the ages of seven and 14, stating that because their designs lacked modesty, she would no longer be shopping at their stores. Her post received more than 70,000 “likes” and nearly 4,000 responses – many expressing shared sentiments.
Target has since responded, explaining their product design selection process, and assuring Facebookers that they are indeed reading customer feedback. However, this does not directly solve the dilemma many parents have when shopping for age-appropriate clothing: Where can average parents (meaning us non-celeb mommies) get affordable, quality, modest clothing?
Target isn’t the only store to offer questionable kid’s garment designs. And it’s a source of frustration for many parents who seek to dress their children in more modest fashions. As a mother of a tween and teen, it’s become more than just a frustration. I spend far too much time going from shop-to-shop, sorting through racks, for clothes that don’t make my 11-year-old look like her 17-year-old sister.
I have always allowed my children to embrace their uniqueness, and this includes their style. I didn’t bat an eye when my eldest went from wearing nothing but camouflage in Grade 6 to wanting blue hair in Grade 8 (much to the dismay of her principal). And it doesn’t faze me one bit that my youngest refuses to wear dresses, or the colour pink. But whether their style goes against the gender-grain, or is more flamboyant than the norm, they both have one thing in common – their desire for modesty. My girls like to stay covered up. And so the struggle continues.
So who’s to blame? It’s not the manufacturer’s responsibility to guide public taste. They make their money from the demands of their consumers. And since many parents these days want little replicas of themselves, the selection of kids clothing we are left with is just a shrunken down version of adult clothing.
So tell retailers what you want to see in their stores. Nay, demand it! Write letters, sign petitions, employ social media as Ana did. But you mustn’t stop there. What we need the most is to accept that our children are children and not living dolls. Teach them it’s OK to love themselves as they are. Let’s build strong children who don’t bend to the pressure of media images.
We get it. There will always be moms who think it’s cute to have a miniature clone of themselves. And there will always be kids who want to grow up too quickly. But we must be responsible and draw the line and encourage our own children’s age-appropriate modesty. The change starts at home.