Girl shorts on top of boy shorts showing length and pocket differences (l) Target logo (c) Girl shorts over boy shorts again showing differences in quality (r)

amirraizat/Shutterstock @naptown_thrifts/TikTok (Licensed)

‘The pink tax starts so early’: TikToker shows girls’ clothes at Target are shorter, thinner, and costlier than the boys’

'This is a patriarchal issue, not an aesthetic one.' 


Gisselle Hernandez


Posted on Mar 27, 2022   Updated on Apr 11, 2022, 2:00 pm CDT

A TikToker has gone viral after calling out Target for selling girls’ clothes that are less functional and practical than boys’ clothes yet cost more. User Meredith Alston (@naptown_thrifts) shared a series of videos where she shows the stark differences between children’s clothing at Target. 

In the first video posted on March 22, Alston compares two pairs of pants—one made for girls and one for boys—and details the difference in durability and functionality. She says the pair marketed for girls are much thinner and of leggings quality, while the boys’ pair has reinforced knees and much thicker fabric.

Alston ended up buying the boys’ pair for her daughter, but not because she had a choice. She told the Daily Dot via email she thrifts most of her clothing, but when her kids need a particular size or color for their uniform, she turns to Target.

“There are certainly sustainable, gender-neutral children’s clothing brands out there, they’re just not in my price range,” she said. “It’s sad there aren’t more options out there.”

After her initial video went viral, Alston received hundreds of replies from mothers experiencing the same issue when buying clothes for their young daughters. 

“Don’t even get me started on girl shorts,” a viewer commented. 

Alston replied to the comment with a video detailing another comparison between girls’ and boys’ shorts. 

“I don’t have to tell you which pair was made for girls and which pair was designed for boys,” Alston says in the video. She points out the smaller pockets and shorter lengths on the girls’ shorts while the boys have much larger pockets and are longer. “As if girls don’t have shit they want to put in their pockets,” she adds. 

Alston says the differences go further than aesthetics and functionality. “This matters because who’s gonna get dress coded? Who’s going to be told that their shorts are too short?”

Alston also points out the difference in price, showing a girl’s shorts that cost $8 while a pair of boy shorts are priced at $6 despite having more fabric. This prompted one viewer to point out, “the pink tax starts so early.”


Reply to @kristabrewer this is not unique to @target as we all well know. #targethaul #kidsclothes #targetfinds #targetrun #targetstore #shopwithme

♬ Crazy – Patsy Cline

In another video, Alston responds to a viewer suggesting for her to simply shop in the boys’ section if she finds an issue with the girls’ clothing. 

“That’s not what this is about,” Alston says in the video. “The problem is that the clothes that are available for girls that are made and marketed for girls are not as durable, functional or practical as the boys’ clothes are.”

Alston’s videos have garnered more than 1.7 million views altogether. The majority of the thousands of comments were parents expressing their frustration when it comes to shopping for their children. Out of these viewers, a handful were “boy moms” stating they were not without their own set of obstacles when it came to shopping for their sons. 

“Agreed, but have you seen the girl selection vs. the boys’? The girls have a TON more options than boys,” a user commented.

“But at least girls get something other than sharks and dinosaurs on their clothes,” another user wrote. 

Alston told the Daily Dot that she found these types of responses fascinating since they appear to come from mothers who have “surely felt the effect of these discrepancies as well.”

Other users agreed, claiming the two issues were not the same. 

“All the boy moms saying, ‘At least you have CUTE options’ are missing the point entirely,” a commenter wrote. “This is a patriarchal issue, not an aesthetic one.” 

“Boy mom here, the variety we have for our sons may be less but at least they’re not getting sexualized from day one like girls are with clothing,” another said. 

In the end, many agreed all kids’ clothing should be gender-neutral to avoid situations like these.

“Clothing shouldn’t be gendered to begin with,” Alston told the Daily Dot. “But anywhere that I can afford to shop, it is and my hope and expectation is that the clothing that’s available to girls will be the same price and quality as what’s in the boy’s section.”

“‘Shop somewhere else’ ‘buy the boys’ clothes’ yall are still missing the point,” a user replied. “Why are kids’ clothes gendered and made differently?? Kids are kids.” 

Alston said she made this post to highlight this issue because girls and women face discrimination from school dress codes to the wage gap.

“It’s a bigger and more complex issue than dinosaurs vs. unicorns on a t-shirt,” she said.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Target via email for comment on this story.

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*First Published: Mar 27, 2022, 1:10 pm CDT