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Thoughts on 'modesty' shorts please

(155 Posts)
getoffthesofa Tue 06-Jun-17 12:56:23

A few girls at my DD2's primary school seem to be wearing these She has asked if she can have some too as she really likes to wear her school summer dresses and is also quite active, running and climbing and leaping and cartwheels etc (also I suspect there may be some karate style kicks going on!).

I strongly object to schools (or anyone) suggesting, or insisting that girls wear these shorts under their dresses, as I do not believe that the knickers of small girls should be funny/sexy/rude/offensive etc (it is essentially victim blaming and the conversation always seems to revert to the excuse that men and boys are able to help themselves being aroused). But she has asked, and if it makes her feel more confident, able to move around as freely and vigorously as she likes, then that can't be a bad thing? My DD1 (yr 8) has also requested them - she wears her skirts short as many of the girls do and now we are out of the tights season I think she too feels exposed (she wears black shortie-knickers anyway).

Yes I know she could just wear, culottes, trousers or shorts, but she refuses too. She loves her summer dresses and I think they are comfortable (the modesty shorts seem rather to defeat the point of feeling cool and breezy round your legs, but there we are)

I hate that they are called "modesty" shorts - what decade are we living in? I hate that small girls can't just dress as they like without feeling looked at and sexualised (though they may not it express it that way). I hate that there is a product cashing on this and I hate that the intention is that girls should cover up instead of men wearing these bloody things on their heads if they can't manage not to objectify or be "offended". And I hate that there is never a suggestion that in a gender neutral uniform boys could wear the dresses too and then everybody's pants would be waving around. But also I want my girls to feel safe and happy.

Do I buy them or do I help my girls blaze a trail for short-free pant freedom? (also do these things go over your usual knickers or do they replace your knickers??)

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Cantseethewoods Tue 06-Jun-17 13:04:23

I hate the name but at the same time nor do I want to flash my underwear ( or see anyone else's- male or female) so if I don't want to wear trousers/ leggings/ shorts for exercise I wear a skirt with built in shorts. Therefore while I think the term is awful, they're pretty practical.

MotherPeresA Tue 06-Jun-17 13:04:35

Why the hell are they called modesty shorts and not just pants? It does imply that there's something to protect or keep hidden. I'm more used to hearing them called 'boy pants' as opposed to the thongs that are more prevalent these days.

But, ultimately, I think they're a good thing if they encourage robust play and activities.

Cantseethewoods Tue 06-Jun-17 13:04:48

Oh, and I wear them over underwear usually

NapQueen Tue 06-Jun-17 13:06:18

I think a "no underwear on show" rule is good whatever the sex. So nothing wrong with shorts imo.

squoosh Tue 06-Jun-17 13:09:06

Next thing there'll be modesty-modesty shorts, to cover the modesty shorts, that cover the knickers, that cover the genitals.

getoffthesofa Tue 06-Jun-17 13:13:07

These are different from boy-pants (or pants as we could call them as they do not have the pouchy bit that actually makes the boy bit). I looked at them again and they do go over your real pants. I think the little shortie pants (boy pants) are probably the compromise for the younger one.

Personally the easiest thing would be if she would just ditch the frocks, but they are increasingly made to be prettier and more appealing in a normative feminine way - with bows and heart buttons and frills and sashes.

Thinking about it I can't believe that I am buying one set of highly feminised and gendered clothing and then having to buy another product because they are impractical. And while society want girls to be pretty, they can't be immodest. ARGH.

I do wish school uniform was just a soft polo shirt or t-shirt and some comfy shorts - for all the kids. Practical, comfortable and non-gender specific.

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getoffthesofa Tue 06-Jun-17 13:15:38

My other thought is - ew, sweaty.

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hazeydays14 Tue 06-Jun-17 13:18:10

Modesty shorts is a shite name, there's no denying that.
I agree with your sentiments regarding women covering up because it is presumed men can't control their behaviour.
However, we are teaching kids that what is under clothes is private to protect them. This will make some kids conscious that they don't want to show their underwear when playing.

getoffthesofa Tue 06-Jun-17 13:23:24

hazey - yes you are right, I know that is where we have got to (the NSPCC guidance for kids was called PANTS or something wasn't it?).

I guess I need to work on the dresses then and I still think that men should wear modesty pants on their heads as they are the ones with the problem.

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mrsBeverleygoldberg Tue 06-Jun-17 13:23:41

I've never heard of them, I have boys. I've just googled them and you can get gingham ones too. What a good idea. I would have liked them when I was little. The name is crap though. Reminds me of religious fundamentalists.

VestalVirgin Tue 06-Jun-17 13:26:29

Buy them.
I don't wear short skirts, ever, but if I did, I would replace my white, legless cotton undies with something that is a) black or dark blue and b) less likely to accidentally reveal my genitals, i.e. fits tight around the legs.

I agree that "modesty shorts" is a shit name.

VestalVirgin Tue 06-Jun-17 13:34:12

I think a "no underwear on show" rule is good whatever the sex. So nothing wrong with shorts imo

There is no underwear on show in girls who wear skirts. They wear the skirts over their underwear.

When people go swimming, it is generally accepted that one layer of clothing over the genitals is enough if that layer safely and completely covers the genitals.

I don't see why other rules should apply to ordinary clothes. If you wear one pair of black shorts as underwear, and above that wear a skirt, is there really a need to wear another pair of black shorts to cover the first one?

museumum Tue 06-Jun-17 13:39:15

Those "modesty shorts" (crap name) look a lot like gym knickers or the pants tennis players wear under skirts. I wouldn't have a problem with them but I'd want them to be worn instead of pants and be appropriate material to do so - if those particular ones don't work then maybe athletics shorts?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 06-Jun-17 13:44:44

Personally the easiest thing would be if she would just ditch the frocks, but they are increasingly made to be prettier and more appealing in a normative feminine way - with bows and heart buttons and frills and sashes

Yes, let's ridicule and trash anything which isn't "unisex" or "gender neutral" or more accurately any article of clothing that a boy would wear without comment. Let's sneer at any women or girl who doesn't want to wear the approved unisex uniform.

The name is ridiculous - but are they any different from good, thick, substantial knickers?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Tue 06-Jun-17 13:45:58

I don't wear short skirts, ever, but if I did, I would replace my white, legless cotton undies with something that is a) black or dark blue and b) less likely to accidentally reveal my genitals, i.e. fits tight around the legs

Good point.

hownowbrowngoat Tue 06-Jun-17 13:46:38

I agree with you completely OP but I bought some for 9yo dd (from peacocks - cheaper)

Actually they're cycling shorts. So I sidestepped that grim term!

It was her request, and I agree with PP nobody should be showing underwear in public. My dd is a keen gymnast but prefers dresses to trousers etc. It's just part of her daily uniform now.

savagehk Tue 06-Jun-17 13:50:16

We used to wear something similar when we began getting periods, to help avoid leaks. Didn't help our uniform was a light yellow colour. At secondary school our skirts were cut so that a gust of wind could flip them upside down. So wore them then too.

Cantseethewoods Tue 06-Jun-17 13:50:44

I was once doing a partner stretch at the gym which involved sitting legs wide facing your partner, and suddenly my partner looked horrified and said 'don't look down!!' I was like 'why????' She said 'because by labia just escaped from my shorts'

Some gym shorts are too short grin

500internalerror Tue 06-Jun-17 13:52:11

The name, I take as just an indicator of purpose, to help you identify what you're buying - the same as a modesty panel. It doesn't mean you're obliged to be modest, just that they are intended as supplemental cover-ups, iyswim.

I don't really know much about girls underwear, but when I was primary age I had big substantial knickers. Maybe these days th manufacturers trend towards more flimsy ones, that have attendance to gape at the sides if you're doing a cartwheel? I think mine would now, if I could actually do one!

getoffthesofa Tue 06-Jun-17 13:53:51

I guess the compromise is dark boy-short knickers and I will have to check if there are ones with slightly longer legs.

Just remembered I had both compulsory uniform grey knickers for school (enormous and nylon) AND for sports we had these industrial sized "baggies" which seemed to be made of grey canvas with elasticated legs like a nappy cover to go over the grey nylon ones. blush

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Isadora2007 Tue 06-Jun-17 13:56:07

They're cycling shorts surely. I can't believe they're rebranding as modesty shorts.
Dd is a gymnast and spends half her playtimes upside down so has worn small black/navy shorts like these for the last 3 years she has been at school.
I don't want to see anyone's undies thanks, and I'd like children to also know underwear is private.

getoffthesofa Tue 06-Jun-17 14:01:02

Language is important - if they want to indicate a product it would be best to use words that clearly describe purpose surely - so these would be overpants-pants or cover-your-pants-pants. Modesty is a loaded value judgement aimed at women and girls, so that if that is the purpose of these (and it is), it is really problematic and what is the male equivalent? But yes to the flimsy little cotton pants - I do buy the bigger, neatly fitting bum-coverers though for my girls, but they are pretty and noticeable if flashed I guess.

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getoffthesofa Tue 06-Jun-17 14:01:56

Isadora - does she wear them over her knickers though?

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VestalVirgin Tue 06-Jun-17 14:06:52

We used to wear something similar when we began getting periods, to help avoid leaks. Didn't help our uniform was a light yellow colour. At secondary school our skirts were cut so that a gust of wind could flip them upside down. So wore them then too.

British school uniforms are a human rights violation, really.

It requires a quite sadistic brand of misogyny to demand that girls be "modest" while forcing them to wear garments with which this is next to impossible.

(Also, I suspect a conspiracy of dirty, pervy old men who want young girls to be forced to show their legs)

And what kind of sadistic asshole makes teen girls wear light yellow uniforms?

I just can't get over how accepted this still is.

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