Major supermarket chains Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have been accused of “sexualising girls” and “behaving irresponsibly” by selling school skirts and shorts that are considerably shorter than uniforms available for boys.
Earlier this year it was revealed Asda was selling girls’ school uniforms that were a staggering 8cm shorter than similar garments for boys.
YorkshireLive purchased school shorts for children aged seven to eight and 11-12- a pair for boys and a pair for girls.
A pair of boys’ regular fit shorts size 11-12 had an outside leg measurement of 44cm. Whereas pair of girls’ comfort stretch waistband shorts came in at just 36cm; a difference of 8cm.
Dad James O’Flynn, from Huddersfield, commented: “Girls and boys at age seven to eight [are] pretty much the same height, so what possible reason could there be for girls’ shorts to have less leg length other than shoehorning girls into sexist social norm?”
A spokesperson for Asda responded to criticism saying: “At George we offer more choice and variety than any other schoolwear retailer in the market and none of these products are labelled by gender meaning customers can choose what is right for their children.
“Our schoolwear range has 11 different types of shorts including several types of short and longer leg styles to suit children of different heights.”
They added that 98 percent of parents who purchased the girls’ shorts said they would recommend them to a friend.
Similar discrepancies were present in Tesco.
The retailer did not have any girls’ school shorts available, but YorkshireLive found that an F&F pleated skirt had an outside leg measurement 4cm shorter compared to boys’ school shorts aged 5-6.
Sainsbury’s TU girls’ school skirts aged seven have an outside leg measurement of 38cm, which is actually 1cm longer than boys’ shorts in the same age.
However, the supermarket has still been criticised for selling school trousers for boys with more resilient knees, and no similar option for girls.
Tesco also sold more resilient school trousers for boys, but again no similar option for girls.
This has sparked fierce criticism from Let Clothes Be Clothes. Ms Mallen said: “At the very least it is not practical. At its very worst it sexualizes girls. We are not talking about modesty here. We are talking about values of performance in dress.
“In our culture, we have these images of women that are very highly sexualized and objectified. When you take that culture and you apply it to girls, you have got a big problem. Supermarkets have a duty to behave responsibly, and they are absolutely not doing that at the moment.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “While we sometimes use signposting to help customers navigate clothing sections in store and online, our school shop items are split by age and are not labelled ‘boys’ or ‘girls’.”
After it was pointed out that some Sainsbury’s stores do still advertise children’s clothing in boys’ and girls’ sections, the spokesperson added: “We are looking into a line of pyjamas and old signage which has been identified in store which does not reflect this policy.”
Express.co.uk has contacted Tesco for comment.