Uniqlo China’s children’s clothing section has a surprise new customer base: teenage girls.
Girls are posing for selfies in their dressing rooms while wearing kids’ T-shirts from a Japanese fashion giant in the latest viral crisis to sweep Chinese social media. Debate on whether or not it promotes body-shaming has erupted, with experts raising concerns that it supports the nation’s unhealthy standards of beauty.
Researchers at the City University of Hong Kong’s Institute for Gender and Health Policy said, “This can be a negative development, not only by way of a drive for thinness and the stress this places on girls and women but also by the overt sexualization of girls.” Tina Rochelle says this. She said that the smaller clothing tends to be more form-fitting and flattering on a woman’s body.
One side of the debate over the hashtag “Grownup tries on Uniqlo kids’ clothes” has garnered more than 680 million views on the microblogging platform Weibo, while the other side focuses on a more practical concern: that girls are stretching out their clothes and so making them unusable.
“Another way to show off the ‘white, young, slender,’ aesthetic,” one customer said, referring to the phrase commonly used to describe the nation’s popular beauty ideal. Additional comments: “It focuses on unhealthy body shaming and should be strongly opposed.”
Another commenter said: “Though I’m envious of these girls’ physique, they ought to buy the clothes after trying them on! “How can kids put on these stretched-out garments?”
On Thursday, emails sent to Uniqlo seeking comment went unanswered.
Brandy Melville’s “BIM model” has been dubbed the latest edition of this style, which is youthful, casual, and most importantly, extremely thin (its shops carry just one dimension: additional small).
This fashion house has become a model of desire for teenage girls who want to squeeze into its items since it launched its first Chinese store in Shanghai in 2019. Using an unofficial Weibo sizing chart, we can see how much weight a 5-foot-3-inch female needs to have to fit.
In response to an email inquiry, Brandy Melville did not immediately respond.
Among the major influences on what is considered “customary” sizing, according to Jia Tan, an assistant professor of cultural studies at the Chinese Language College of Hong Kong, is the clothing industry. She pointed out that “customary” sizes exclude a large portion of the population because they are typically smaller in Asia than in the West.
Professor Tan wrote in an email, “I feel we must first question the huge social pressure on girls, and why the clothing industries can have so much power in standardizing how we look,” before we point fingers at these mature girls who display in children’s sizes.
In the past, similar online challenges have gone popular in China. The term “paper skinny” was coined in 2016 when models posed with their waists hidden beneath a vertical piece of A4 paper.
As a result of the widespread nature of the issue, it was covered extensively by Chinese official media and celebrities alike. Feminist advocate Zheng Churan responded by writing on a piece of paper placed horizontally over her waist, “I adore my fat waist.”
As a result of the “stomach button problem” in 2015, many women and men feigned being slender by reaching behind them and rounding their waist to touch their belly button.
In China, there appears to be a growing awareness of body acceptance. When a retailer labeled larger women’s apparel sizes as “rotten” a few months ago, it was forced to apologize.
Nevertheless, Dr. Rochelle, a professor at the Metropolis College of Hong Kong, said that while females are becoming increasingly eager to name and share their experiences of body shaming on the internet, society as a whole shows little signs of changing
Fatty-shaming and publicly discussing a girl’s weight doesn’t seem to have gone home over here that it can have a major impact on an individual’s well-being, she said.