Shorter Shorts and Skimpier Tops; a debrief of Festival Fashion
Ellie Daghlian | 20 March 2017

In the West they’ve become synonymous with summer; the ‘festival season’, complete with it’s own fashion agenda. But amidst the madness of the mosh-pits and drunken midnight runs, the ever-present sexism has returned with full force, and a revival of the feminist movement is more in need than ever.


We love the ‘festival look’; short shorts, goofy wellies, flowers in our hair, it’s cute, it’s fun, it’s easy. But, much as I hate to be depressive about this stuff, the most notable trend this year was the length, if that adjective is even usable here, of those shorts. Girls, seriously, I don’t care how good your butt is, the stratospheres of your legs are just not meant for public display. It’s a free world, it’s your right, but really, all you’re going to achieve is unwanted attention.


According to Hadley Freeman, it’s Alexa Chung we have to thank for this ‘short’ revival, the goddess of ‘I-don’t-give-a-damn’ fashion who has been photographed time and time again, goddess legs on full display, in goddess-worthy denim hot-pants, lacy shorts or leather bottoms. Kate Moss too, was spied in seductively short attire at Glastonbury, somewhat out of place amongst the filth and grime of several thousand unwashed partygoers.


But these celebrities, though we may blame them in spirit, sadly cannot be held wholly to account for the rather more revealing habits of British teens. Shorts they may be styling but, under the scrutiny of the public eye at least, they have the sophistication to be rather more decent. Where this need to expose and flaunt has come from then, is another question. Really, it’s a part of a larger trend, for which the media can of course be blamed - when can it not? - which is in keeping with the rise of provocative music videos and nude snap-chats. Under the influence of our idols, it seems increasingly that teens are feeling the need to expose more and more of themselves.


That’s not to say showing some skin even vaguely justifies the way those boys think they can act, the suggestion of provoked rape makes me positively scream. We should be free to wear as much or as little as we please, but the unfortunate truth is that it’s the girl with the skimpiest top who receives the most abuse. It shouldn’t be our responsibility, but pragmatically, the only people affected by our clothes are us, and there’s just no benefit to provoking that kind of attention.


Even without your arse hanging out, festivals are a labyrinth of male scrutiny. In the four days we were at Reading, we honestly received as many ‘those girls have really nice legs’ comments, slapped bums, and overt stares as there were beer cans - which was a lot.


The music and the alcohol create exceptions to many rules; the social protocol is a hell of a lot more relaxed than that of normal society, love is truly ‘in the air’, but not that kind of love, and those comments are never, ever acceptable. It’s in the same way that an abusive message is no less abhorrent over the internet, that ‘twitter trolls’ are, if anything, more pathetic than the idiots who wolf whistle as you walk down the street. Just because you’re at Reading, Leeds, V, or any festival, even if those shorts are a little lacking in material, you do not have the right to feel my behind. Or anyone else’s.

James Routledge 2016