Dear Target,

You know I love you . . . but we need to talk about tween girls for a minute.

More specifically, we need to talk about what you’re offering them in the athletic wear department these days.

It’s ridiculous.

I have an almost-10-year-old daughter who, next week, is going to basketball camp. As they do, my tween is growing like a weed—which means she’s outgrown her old pairs of more “little kid” feeling shorts. Her changing body means she’s developing curves where she used to be stick-straight. All part of growing up, to be sure, but I wasn’t prepared for the challenge those changes would create when it came to shopping for her. 

So, I headed out for a Target run naively thinking no problem, I’ll grab my daughter a new pair of athletic shorts while I’m picking up the eleventy billion other things this family needs to function.

You know what I found instead?

Teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy, way-too-short shorts.

That’s it.


I get that shorts are, by definition, short. But where are the mid-length shorts? The shorts she can crouch down and play defense in? The shorts that don’t require built-in underwear she’d undoubtedly find uncomfortable while she’s running around the basketball court? The options for girls seem to be limited to just that, or skin-tight leggings (which my daughter cannot stand and definitely doesn’t want to wear while playing sports).

I don’t fancy myself a prude, but neither do I take the responsibility to teach my daughters about modesty and appropriate dress lightly. We live in a culture sexualized enough as it is; I wish I could go shopping for my tween and not have to worry about her backside or her underwear showing in a pair of athletic shorts.

(And before you suggest going to the women’s department, let me just say that I did—and the options there weren’t any better . . . but that’s a gripe for another day.)

I’m raising three daughters, so I feel well-qualified in saying this about girls: they are fierce and strong and 100 percent deserving of athletic wear that underscores exactly that.

But until I can find that on the racks of your girl’s department, I’ll be shopping for shorts for my disappointed tween daughter in the boy’s section.

In the meantime, consider the challenge officially issued: it’s time to do better for our girls.

A mom of daughters

Originally published on Assignment: Mom

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom