Sunday, January 9, 2011

Youth Volleyball: Why are the girl's volleyball shorts so short?

What is the deal with short tight volleyball shorts for girls volleyball?


My 4th grade daughter played in the first volleyball match of her career. My wife is the coach and she has been telling me that CC is a natural at volleyball. I had never seen CC play or even practice before today. Turns out my wife was right, CC was a star in a three game sweep. I was really not surprised that CC was good at volleyball too because she is a terrific little athlete. What did surprise me was that 4th grade parochial school girls were wearing such short and tight uniforms. The school has a very strict and conservative uniform policy during school hours.


This got me thinking. Why do women play volleyball in such short and tight shots? When did it start? I went on line to find out.


On a EastofIndy.com thread a volleyball player named Lauren says:

"There is a reason volleyball players where those shorts. It is easier to dive, roll, and move around. Every sport has there own equipment. I play volleyball."


Anwers.com does not have a good answer.


Topix covers the debate but provides no convincing answers.


Chacha.com claims flexibility and temperature control are reasons. 


Overall, the Yahoo Answers thread on the subject provided the same type answers but it still begged the question, "Why don't woman basketball players wear tight fitting uniforms. They jump, bend, twist and occasionally dive for loose balls. Vollygrl added that "your long shorts can get caught in the net, which could get called against you." Now we have a competitive advantage reason that perhaps led to the decision for the use of the shorts because this net violation costs a team a point and / or side-out. 

Still, I am just not buying these reasons.





If all of these reasons are really true then why don't men where tight shorts to play volleyball? Stanford seemed to play great in baggy - knee length shorts when they won the NCAA Men's Volleyball Champion last year.




So I read on hoping to find the answer. The "then why don't men wear short shorts argument" was prevalent. Some discussion threads suggest that it would not be appropriate for men to where tight shorts to play volleyball. Really, then why is it appropriate for Michael Phelps to wear a skin tight body swimsuit? Male swimmers do not care about offending anyone if a skin tight fitting swimsuit shaves off a split second to give them an edge. 

So believe me if tight shorts gave a volleyball player an edge then the men would be wearing them too.

So what is the reason? I could not find the answer, but it seemed to have started in the early 1970's. I found a website called Nolefan.org that had pictures of Florida State University's women's volleyball teams from decade to decade. The 1969 women's team had long baggy shorts. The 1970 team had tight shorts and the shorts of today look no different from the shorts of 1972. (See pictures below) Perhaps, Nixon is the blame for this too.








The Main Point

There is empirical evidence proving new high tech swimming suits make a swimmer faster, but there does not seem to be evidence that would suggest wearing tight volleyball pants makes a volleyball player play better. Short spandex shorts are for fashion only. 

From reading the discussion threads, I found that many of the bigger girls would rather not wear them. They are uncomfortable from a body image standpoint. I wonder how many girls with potential avoid playing the game because of the short shorts. If it were one it would be one too many.


To be clear, I am not arguing for or against short shorts in volleyball. My personal opinion is that they are not necessary and young school girls should not wear them. My daughter thinks they are adorable, but she is a tiny.


Long and Baggy in 1969

Tight short shorts started in 1970


The 1980's team added some length
The 1991 team went with a high cut
2007 or 1972 all over again?


96 comments:

  1. Yeah I am glad you put this up. Im in seventh grade and am going to be on the vollyeball team at my school next year as an eighth grader. I have normal calves and large thighs and really don't want to wear those shorts but my friend was larger than me and said that the spandex shorts are small but very comfortable and make it much easier to play since she wore b ball shorts to practice once and said she wouldn't do that again.

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  2. yeah.. im kinda thinking also about that when i first saw a women volleyball match! but i think it's mostly for fashion purpose , they really look good and hot on their tight shorts.. hehehehe! it would be awkward to see if men wear the same way..yey

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  3. Thank you for this well-presented qualification. It is refreshing to see an opinion based on research and it is true: if tight shorts were necessary for a competitive advantage, men would wear them too.

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  4. As men and women are shaped exactly the same I think it's only fair they should wear the same uniforms... wait, they are not exactly the same?

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    1. Doesn't stop similar uniforms in other sports :/ haha

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  5. I literally do not care about the "tight" aspect, since girls young and old will eventually wear tight things, anyway. My issue is the length. Sone are inappropriately short, others are the proper length, but the girls roll them up. I even had a friend of mine tell me that these girls do it to distract the male officials. I assure you, two inches in length will not lose you the game.

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  6. I have played in all kinds - The tighter spandex stay put much better with all the bending/stretching/diving, for sure. I spent entire matches tugging the looser/longer shorts down to keep them from riding up to my eyeballs :). I do prefer the 4" inseam ones to the 2" inseam - I have seen the shorter ones ride up to wholly inappropriate and frankly gross areas after high-performance games. As far as the other sports go, you often find that those athletes wear spandex under their other uniforms for the same reason - they stay put.

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  7. I think the important thing to remember is that you are a faggot.

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    1. You would know from experience, wouldn't you?

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  8. My wife points out that it seems like a decision made to increase fan attendance. She further went on to point out that men's basketball shorts were probably lengthened for the same reason. Heh.

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    1. Not only men or parents are disturbed by these mini-shorts! I am a woman who played volleyball in middle school in non-spandex shorts. The issue of tightness & length are separate. The argument that tight spandex helps performance (flexibility, out the way) seems valuable, but I see no value in the "shorts" that are basically the same as "boys cut underwear" i.e. less than 2-3" inseam. I went to a tournament of 12-14y.o. recently, and was dismayed than 98% of the girls there were wearing these underwear in place of shorts. One team had a few girls wearing spandex there were still short, but with a 4-6" inseam, which was such a relief!

      There is a lot of room for shorts (spandex or otherwise) to cover between the crotch and the knee, and it should be used! I saw lots of girls constantly picking their underwear/shorts from the front or back as they rode up or got sweaty & uncomfortable. I believe players should wear uniforms that are comfortable & that they do not distract them--these short/underwear certainly distracted a number of girls I saw.

      These underwear/short uniforms must discourage potential players who do not want to bend over, or even walk around half-naked, and that is a massive shame. I saw a girl wearing the team short/underwear totally covered by her small t-shirt because the spandex were so short! Volleyball is not swimming, and comparing uniforms to swimsuits is absurd. Players are moving through air, not water, and inches of clothing covering the legs is not going to shape performance compared to drag created in water from additional material.

      If tight spandex really does facilitate their playing, let them wear longer ones that cover at least mid-thigh or a few inches above the knee.

      I speculate the trend for short/tight is a product of fashion/corporate interests & the sexualization of women's volleyball--neither of which promotes the valuable aspects of team sports. Mizuno, asics, whatever brands & vball associations that promote these ridiculous shorts should be called out for this absurd sexualization of women and young girls.

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  9. Good point - when you are trying to figure out a situation - always follow the money.

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  10. Thanks for the post. My daughter will soon be playing and as a father on who believes in modesty at all costs the shorts concerned me. IMHO, The NCAA Men's VBall example is the nail in the coffin in proving it's not a competitive advantage. I will be requesting longer shorts or she won't play.

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    1. Please dont do that! My father and mother want me to you know dress modestly but really ehrn you are playing sports you are not careing what you look like, how well your hair looks or what boys are looking at you.Trust me I am 13, I play volleyball and I wear spandex.

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    2. Well she could swim...oh wait she will be in a swimmsuit that is was shorter and tighter.She could do cheerleading.....nope she would be in a short skirt and have tight shorts underneath darn. How about tennis....no..no an other short skirt. Do you get the picture Donald? You cant keep her under a protecter all the time. She needs to go out and join sports and part of that is wearing what they tell her to wear. Its one thing if she feels uncomfortable but if she does not then let her wear the uniform for the 45 min. game. Its not like she wants to wear it all the time.

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    3. It makes no sense to say the shorts will get caught in the net, so we shall make them tight. The jersey isnt tight, so wouldnt it get stuck. What are the odds of either one getting stuck in the net anyway?!? you can roll just as easily in basketball shorts as you can in poor fasion statements. and if you dont care how you look, then take out the 1000 bobby pins holding your mop up, quit waisting your time putting on, or(as most girls do)splattering on your make up, and put on some real shorts!

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    4. Dad please stop the worry and let your girl play! As a mom who was raised very conservative it is NOT an issue. Swim suits are much less modest. My daughter started playing volleyball in 4th grade at a private religious school and is now 13 and plays school and club. It has been the best experience. The once shy girl found a "girl power" sport that has made her into a very confident team player. Trust me the shorts are no big deal. As the girls say Volleyball invented by man, perfected by woman.

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  11. My wife is the coach of my daughter's team she is going to the slightly longer shorts -

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  12. LMFAO Donald! I'm gonna do the same !!!

    Unless its someone elses daughter. Then I don't give a shit. lol

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    1. wow, the amount of perverts and pedophiles on this site should raise some eyebrows!!!

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  13. I never realized how short the shorts were for the young girls until my daughter was wearing them. Then it seemed so obvious.

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  14. If men wore tight volleyball shorts, it wpuld be very uncomfortable for them, girl wear what is comfortable. Also when girls are jumping thwir shorts will not fly up or fall down when they dive. Also it may just be fashion, girls maybe use it as a excuse. i wear spandex as a 8th grader in my volleyball, but only because it is whats comfortable and because i dont want to worry about my shorts or how i look.

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    1. How would you as an 8th grade girl know what's uncomfortable for a guy to wear?

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  15. I can't believe in year 2011 girls subject themselves to this obviously sexist way of dressing. Look at the fellows. Wake up girls. Nylon hiking into the butt is NOT sexy. It is demeaning you and a great sport.

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  16. I can't believe in year 2011 people are so stuck up about a bit of flesh. It's probably the girls of fathers like the one above, who refuse to let her play unless she can wear long shorts, that will end up with slutty behavior and daddy issues because their dad is an ass.

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    1. That is a very ignorant statement lol Far more girls fall into bad places and make bad choices based on parents who do not care. Evidence? The world around you. The parents would be the only part of it that can influence modesty and standards because there are few places out there to find either.

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  17. Ok...I never read blogs...however, sense the subject was spandex for girls, I checked your blog out this morn. I need to purchase a few pairs for my daughter who starts club in January. :) I am a former volleyball player myself and was actually around for the turn from "baggy" to spandex. I have my own personal archive of photos like the pic's above. I just had to weigh in because 1. I was a very athletic girl, you could assume rather stocky with huge legs for jumping higher than the other girl ;)), 2. I actually have worn them before to play and 3. I am a woman, who was a girl, and as far as the comments go, it seems like only men, specifically fathers, have the negative opinions regarding female attire. In your research Stat Dad, I am unsure why you didn't actually ask some coaches, or a national volleyball league representitive, seeing as they tend to set the standards. I attended private school, with a strict dress code, but by my senior year, we were all in spandex. Our school won state, not because we were "distracting" the officials, but because we were good and the spandex, plain and simple, enable you to move without restriction. I hate to hammer home a point, however, being a larger girl, I don't know if you've ever heard the comment, "eat your shorts"?? Well, in ANY traditional (baggy) shorts, that's exactly what my thighs do...they munch the WHOLE time, incredibly embarrassing. Even now, I am a runner and I have to wear skin tight shorts/capris/or compression pants so I don't eat my shorts all over town. I agree with safeashouse, men and women, hate to draw attention to it, are different. My husband does not, will not ever have to worry about shorts, or having kids. My job, my department. ;)) Why don't female beach volleyball players wear board shorts and go topless???? Need I say more on that...my point, comparison never really works unilaterally, just ask my kiddos ;)). Spandex stay put while playing volleyball, and running for that matter, you don't worry about tugging, twisting, billowing, munching shorts. And trust me I did not have the body that would attract "revenue" in spandex, if anything they would have probably wanted to pay me to put on some sweats ;)).
    Donald, I would hate for you to make a decision for your daughter based on the "tightness" of shorts. Girls should know that sports fall in to that awesome category where how you look doesn't matter, it's how you play the game. Have her go longer 4", or even 5", and tell her to keep baggy shorts/sweat pants until it's time to practice/play the game. If she's not running around town, sashaying in front of the boys, and wanting to wear them out to dinner with the fam, than Daddy, your good to go. But if you can't pry her out of them than....I hate to tell you, your problem is waaaaaaaay bigger than tight shorts.
    StatsDad-Your wife made the right call, longer does not hurt your ability to dive, roll, etc. I for one, whether it is baggy shorts being eaten or spandex being eaten, do not like to see butt cheek hanging out. :))

    Have a great one!

    I tried to sign in and post with my name, but it said I didn't have access, go figure :)).
    Janell from Central Cali

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    1. do you put two perentheses in your emotes because of your double chin? why do you do that?

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    2. Awesome post! Thanks for the reply Janell!

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    3. Your personal experience does not represent a whole. I am an 18 year old girl who did not want to try out for volleyball because I am not comfortable with their attire. Boys wear long loose shorts for their matches some schools make boys wear long spandex. For girls, no matter what school you go to - their volleyball shorts are up to their crotch and show their underbutt half the time. I find this sexist. And even though I love volleyball, I was not comfortable with shorts being so short. I asked my friends on the team - and they're not comfortable with the length either. It does not provide them with an advantage either.

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  18. Janell - thanks for your comment based on experience. I am not a reporter so I did not research too much, I was merely making an observation. I am ok with my daughter playing in spandex volleyball shorts - I just do not think that a 4th grader needs to wear the shortest ones on the market.

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    1. HI- Here's my issue: I'm a mom of a 13 yr old VB player. I asked why do they have to be so short and I was told it was because of the company they were buying them from. My daughter and I had found some at Target that were longer and some moms were glad about that, but then, at a tournament, I found my daughter was told she had to wear the Nike shorts that were about 4 inches rather than the 5-6 inch ones from Target, which I didn't know about until she was playing! (thanks, coach, for letting me know this change in attire- which we HAD discussed, and it was OK for MY daughter to wear longer ones because of OUR modesty policy in our family! Guess she had to match everyone else- talk about peer pressure--looks like the coaches and managers of teams need to address this, but they won't) I have accepted the tight wear because of them jumping and moving- loose shorts would be too apt to show undergarments. BUT! I wish the girls would realize it looks ridiculous to be tugging those 2 inch-4 inch ones down when you have a larger rear!! I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed that! I think they need to wear them longer.
      Also, some girls don't get the right size, so it makes it worse. I think it's distracting, and I also believe in "protecting the eyes" of males at the games.
      When our boys did track, they would wear a spandex UNDER loose shorts. That was a team thing, and I think the girls were the same. Thanks for saying something- this has bugged me for years, and I always swore my daughter wouldn't play the sport, but, low and behold , this is what she's good at!

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  19. I think if you did the research you would also find that many men's basketball and volleyball players wear similar styled shorts underneath the uniform shorts for many of the same reasons. Women just seem to be more comfortable or resigned to the fact that these are the outerwear shorts whereas the men wear them as underwear. Just do a search for compression shorts and you'll get the idea. Also keep in mind a guy wearing shorts that tight would reveal a whole lot more than women wearing shorts that tight. Swimmers have to do it because it provides a measured statistical advantage plus you are in the water for the vast majority of the event so no one sees much for very long. In things like basketball/volleyball you are out there for all to see.

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    1. Okay I understand what you're saying about males entire crotch showing if they wear tight pants. But what about the length? Males wear loose shorts up to their knees or at least thigh. Women's shorts are up to their crotch and show their underbutt. So showing women's underbutt is okay but showing man's crotch is not? Spandex may be comfortable but short spandex shorts are much more revealing for no reason.

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  20. Thanks - I know all about compression shorts. I am sure that women's basketball players wear them all the time in competition and in games. Yet they still wear shorts over top. The question still remains - why are women's volleyball shorts so tight and short? An interesting debate for sure.

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    1. If the shorts weren't so tight, they would ride up and show a lot and THAT wouldn't be much better would it? And if they were long like compression shorts, it would feel uncomfortable, hot, sweaty, and it would restrict movement. Nike tempo running shorts (I think that's the name) would also be okay and she could wear them to practice. But, at tournaments, if she plays for a club team and they are sponsored by a company (or they're just really strict) she will have to wear the spandex that they give out.

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  21. Now saying this I am certainly not talking about 4th graders here.

    Here is my thoughts on the skin tight crotch digging volleyball shorts. They are probably the sexiest looking & most provocative shorts a female could wear.(i feel even way more so than a bikini) Those shorts on those firm bodied college girls are just plain sexy as heck.

    Now if I was a father of a fourth grade girl playing volleyball & wearing these extremely short & tight spandex shorts, I would also be very weary of my daughter wearing them. Maybe in high school & college it could be appropriate but not on any 10 yr. old. Because regardless of age men's eyes will drift even on accident if only just for a second & I would not want to leave my daughter open to that.

    This is just honest feedback from a neutral party male.

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    1. I'm so glad there's decent men out there agreeing with the modesty a girl/young woman needs to establish -it's for her wn good and safety! Save yourself, beatiful girls, from the predators! There's so many out there- it's so sad ( porn has a lot to do with that- and maybe VB shorts!) ; (

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  22. My daughter is a junior in high school and she plays volleyball - she hates wearing the tight shorts. Female track athletes also wear them - This article might interest you - "Dunbar girls’ track team runs with more confidence in ‘skorts’" http://wapo.st/jtuqFB

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  23. Clarence believe it or not this in the second most popular post on my site - so it is a sensitive and relevant issue. Thanks for providing more perspective - you always add substance when you comment and I thank you.

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  24. There's a major difference between the 1991 team photo above and all the others... the girls are not wearing shorts at all, they are in bun huggers. These fell out of favor for indoor volleyballl in the 1990s but are still popular for track and field, cross country and of course in even briefer form, beach volleyball.

    I'm at college now and I run in buns. They are *way* more comfortable than shorts and I love them! If they were provided for indoor VB I would probably take up that sport.

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  25. Hi there, I'm male, but I've played vb for 12 years or so, and coached women's teams (college level in the UK) for 2-3 years.
    1. Several girls I've coached have said that they find the tight shorts more comfortable that longer shorts. These were not fashion-conscious girls. Second, several of the bigger girls preferred to wear loose shorts. Our solution was to have a flexible uniform, so people could choose the style they preferred.
    2. As a guy, I prefer wearing shorter shorts to the basketball-style popular in the US - I find they get sweaty and tangled. This is a preference across Europe, few male volleyballers wear the basketball style.
    3. Some of the switch you noticed may have come from regulation - the FIVB back in the 80s (I think) mandated leotard style uniforms for women's teams. This died a death (thankfully) after a few years, however they have introduced a maximum width of material over the hip for beach vb. It's a stupid idea imho, since most girls would have worn bikinis anyway, and it puts some girls off playing.

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  26. Thanks for adding to the conversation and adding your WE / UK perspective.

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  27. I'm a journalist doing an enterprise piece on why women's volleyball shorts are so tight. It's a tough question to source and answer definitively. Research StatsDad has done so far is enlightening. He deserves special credit for finding the moment of switch from loose to tight on the FSU site.

    I'm currently tracking down coaches and administrators who presided over the switch. If anyone has info on when a particular college or league mandated skintight clothes, before and after photo evidence of the switch or where to find it, ticket sales or budget info before and after the switch, or contact info for someone who changed the uniforms, coached or played through the change, or anyone actively advocating for a style of uniform, send me your info at tdchap &t gmail.

    Thank you.

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  28. Tim - Good luck with your research and your enterprise piece. When you are done - pls share a link to the work. I can tell you that this is one of the most read posts on my site - so there is interest.

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  29. Hello, I'm Alex I am an 8th grade volleyball player. I have played volleyball on co-ed teams since I was in 4th grade. I have been wearing spandex (tight) shorts since the middle of 4th grade . I can tell you that it made a big difference. I play libero (back middle)and it is was easier to dive and roll without having to worry about my shorts coming up like they would with baggy shorts. many girls on my tesm want to wear the short I do because it is difficult to play with baggie shorts but like some of you their parents will not let them. You can actually see the difference it makes tough. There are all different lengths of shorts too. It's not like your daughters are going to be wearing the shorter-than-bikini-olimpic shorts. Now THOSE are short.
    Some of you say that we just wear these to atract boys but truthfuly we get about four teenaged boys that come to our ganes. One is a brother to one of the players and the other three are players from our other team. (we have two volleyball teams)
    I love clothes but wearing these shorts is not just another one of my fashion statements.I love then because of comfort and flexiblity.I want you to know that actually it was my parent (mom AND dad) who first introduced me to spandex shorts. Yeh i know shocking.
    And dads out there....Please Please,PLEASE dont make wearing spandex permit your daughters from playing volleyball!!! It is an amazing sport and i know that they will love playing it as much as I do!!!

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  30. I am a female, college student at a very popular division I school and I can honestly say it seems as though the spandex shorts worn in volleyball certainly are a means of sex appeal. Many boys have the women's volleyball poster hanging in their dorm rooms and will often bring up how 'hot' the women are. Do they ever mention how talented or hard-working they are? No. From what I've collected, the transition from baggier shorts to the spandex ones was a method of attracting more fans to an unpopular through sex appeal. Personally, I feel this is not an appropriate way to get people to notice the sport or attend games. I'd rather be known for my talent than my body. Although I do say to all of the fathers out there who are not allowing their daughters to play because of this attire, consider changing your mind. If they love the sport, let them play and feel confident while doing so!

    -I.P.

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    1. I was wondering if this was the reason - I could not find evidence of this and I was surprised that it too almost 30 comments for someone to suggest it. Thanks for your contribution to the conversation. Good luck in your season.

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  31. Look up the 1980, 1984, 1988 and 1992 US Olympic MEN'S volleyball team, and notice how they're wearing some pretty short shorts. Fashion, at least shorts-wise, has really only changed for one gender (sex if you're grammatically correct), and that's the guys. Guy shorts have gotten longer and longer, while woman's have stayed the same.

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  32. My high school has a dress code that shorts can only be like no more than a couple inches above the knee but cheerleaders get to go around practically bottomless due to their skirts being so short. Also they seem to get away with wearing really short shorts and low rise jeans that show their butt cracks. It's like nobody cares as long as you are a cheerleader or on the dance team.

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  33. My daughter plays field hockey and their uniforms include short kilts. It is a vigorous sport as well, and the girls just wear spandex under their uniforms so they don't have to worry about exposing anything when twisting or falling. The same is true for soccer players. I think the reason that it is different for volleyball is style. Just look at the rules for beach volleyball, even at the olympic level - are bikinis really necessary?

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  34. I am a 10th grader who has been playing volleyball in the spandex shorts since fourth grade. Though i agree that i see no purpose in the excessive shortness or tightness, i would also say that it makes no difference one way or another. I weigh 140 pounds, and honestly, am NOT the thinnest girl in the world. You would think shorts like that make me uncomfortable. But when i'm on the court, playing the sport i love, i forget about what i'm wearing and just play the game. I would encourage ALL girls interested in the sport, whether you're my size, smaller, or bigger. If you love the game, the uniform shouldn't matter. And to any parent that is considering not letting their daughter play because of the shorts, please, PLEASE reconsider. Volleyball is such a remarkable sport that has become a huge part of my life and has taught me countless lessons. If your daughter is interested in playing, i would fuel that flame, not try to extinguish it because of some short, tight shorts.

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    1. Perhaps the best comment I have ever had on this site. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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  35. As a 19 year old guy, I only stare at girls butts in those short shorts. If I were a dad, no way in hell would I let my daughter wear those shorts and have guys staring at her butt and getting hard ons.

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  36. needs more pics.

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  37. Thank you for this forum. Never knew the controversy until I was biking to class at the UW one day and found the campus literally swarming with beautiful girls of all ages--middle school to collegiate-- in this 'notorious' attire. I love girl watching and was earlier disappointed when the soccer shorts got long and baggy recently on the girls all of a sudden this season. Then, THIS!
    Have to admit that the answer is obvious--its about the sex, I don't mind, its the only reason I'll go to games now. Even football is a bore without high-hemmed cheerleaders. I'm just surprised that the PC Establishment which pretends to be so 'feminist' even allowed this uniform --but I'm NOT complaining.
    A beautiful girl(s) is a more inspiring sight than what's on the scoreboard.
    I'm not a parent, don't expect to be for the foreseeable future, and perhaps I'd feel differently if I was a parent of fresh young things....

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  38. god create the beautiful garden of eden and everything therin was just as perfect soon he created woman and he is in trouble since men you continue to dress good women are a disgraced

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  39. The problem with all the womens answers is there all brain washed by our society to wear that any way. If it made that much a differance guys sports would be wearing them too. And for the guys wearing them it would show to much, girls have just as much to show just in a differnt place in betewen the legs (camel toe) instead of the front.

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  40. I find it embarrassing for the girls. It's totally unnecessary and as a straight white male, husband and dad I find it offensive to women and myself. I have 4 daughters.... All play basketball and soccer thankfully.

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  41. We are parents of two middle-school aged daughters who just started playing volleyball. We were upset when told that tight spandex shorts were part of the required team uniform. Our girls were both uncomfortable with the idea of wearing the spandex shorts for a number of reasons. First they did not like how they felt when they tried them on (tight and restrictive). Second -how expossed they felt while wearing them. And finally they felt like they were being forced to conform to a dress code that made little logical sense to them. Even our 12 year old, who has watched both men and women play at the Olympic level noted the double standard when it comes to volleyball attire. She pointed out that for both team (indoor) and beach volleyball, the dress codes are always more revealing for the women. Having played on many other sports teams (soccer, cross-country, basketball) this was the first and only sport that overtly promotes such a double standard.
    Our older daughter inquired with a couple of the volleyball club coaches about the reason for women and not men to wear spandex, and the coaches could not provide an answer. One even said he had never considered it. So we talked to a third coach of the older u18 girls team. She said in her opinion the shorts (and bikinis for beach volleyball) do not provide any competitive or preformace advantage. If so men would all be wearing spandex (or speedo's). She felt that the spandex and bikinis objectify both girls and women, and are an outdated and unquestioned fasion trend. She was happy to hear that our daughters were questioning the issue and using their critical thinking skills at a relatively young age. She said she plans to address the matter with the club directer in hopes of changing the team dress code.
    We as a family are happy to see that there is a dialogue on the issue. We hope to see a time when girls and women will judged only by their performance (rather then how they look) on the court.

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    1. Thanks for adding such a thoughtful comment to the dialogue.

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  42. Pepperdine won the women's 2012 beach volleyball championship wearing loose shorts not spandex. Longbeach State the runner up wore bikini bottoms. So I guess girls don't have to wear spandex to be champions, its more fashion than anything. Do they girls that wear spandex realize that you can see their 'camel toe' half the time?

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    1. Great evidence -Here is a video of the Pepperdine team winning http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlGZF8JRHnc

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  43. Has anyone noticed how girls seem to stubbornly defend the comfort side? They seem to be brainwashed to defend this side despite all logic and evidence pointing to the obvious....they are wrong. They are clinging to this for some ridiculous reason. Possibly because our society embraces low standards and less modesty. One girl made an argument that in other sports many athletes were spandex under their shorts. That really just proved this dads point. Why not just do that? The reason? Because it is all about appearance and popularity of the sport. Its no reason to keep daughters from playing sports....but covering up the obvious by saying it benefits the players is just laughable.

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  44. It's just about fashion. Male basketball players used to wear some short shorts a couple of decades ago, but now knee-length shorts are the thing. Current fashion trends point males to wear baggy clothing and women to wear tight-fitting clothing. I know that I personally like for my daily wear to be somewhat loose, but baggy, just comfortable. My girlfriend wears clothing that is a bit tighter, but nothing that my grandma who took manners classes would not approve of. Point being: girls are told to wear skinny clothing, and if they don't then other girls make fun of them and call them fat. Team dress may make you look better, but it should not come at the expense of outlines of more private areas very clearly showing. I honestly don't see why athletic shorts aren't an acceptable substitute. I mean, female basketball players are far from being inappropriately dressed. The "competitive edge" of these spandex shorts is bogus. No net judge is going to call you for clothing touching, and gym shorts are NOT restrictive. I could do the splits in my knee-lengths if I was physically capable, lol.

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  45. I coach volleyball, so I've had this discussion many times. I won't go over what has been beaten to death about the pros and cons of spandex, but give some enlightenment to other coaches, or parents that want to discuss it with their coach. Our rules are simple, if you or your child are uncomfortable with her wearing spandex, then any athletic shorts of the same color that they are comfortable with will be fine. We don't provide spandex as part of the uniform, each girl is responsible for her own so that they can buy the ones that fit her body type as far as length. We also do not wear them out of the venue in club, or even off the court in school ball. We wear black, as the lighter colors can seem more like body paint than a piece of clothing. On the subject of length, the longer they are the more they will ride up, so something in the middle works best. If you have your daughter wear the 'soccer' shorts instead, make sure she wears spandex under them, as the soccer shorts aren't tight enough to keep her private parts covered diving and rolling, or even sitting and stretching. Hope this helps.

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    1. Thanks for you coaching perspective.

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  46. Thank god someone addressing this...I have a head volleyball coach who is trying to suggest it is about spatial awareness...can anyone believe that?....and she is teaching 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls this BS...I found this thread checking on her theory!!!!!!!!LOL

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    1. What on earth is Spatial Awareness as it pertains to volleyball shorts?

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  47. I don't feel like its that big of a deal. It's part of the sport. In actuality, simply wearing brief shaped/sized bottoms would be ideal. No riding up at all. As long as the uniforms are confined to the arena, its a part of the game. Just like swim suits, and leotards, and track spandex, etc.

    but honestly, I play volleyball. I like wearing volleydraws... as I call them. Long as they have enough length not to be skanky.

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  48. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  49. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  50. I am quite impressed which the blog raises the question about girl's shorts while playing volley ball . It's really a true fact.

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  51. OY my daughter plays vb as well, is in the 5th grade and their shorts are tight but not super short. All of the girls are constantly pulling them down as they ride up BUT as the girls get older they are purposefully PULLING the shorts up to make them super short. At first I thought the shorts were getting shorter but no, the older girls are making them short by pulling them up. I mean they might as well be underwear which brings me to the argument a friend's daughter in high school said when I asked her why she pulls her shorts up: "What, on the beach they're in bikinis!"

    Final answer - girls like it, they like to show off and like the way it looks when they do.

    As a mother, I don't like it but she kinda has a point, they DO wear bikinis on the beach so the inside shorts aren't that short in retrospect.

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  52. this is wrong. I am a volleyball player of 6 years and while the shorts do look good, the main reason we wear them is more maneaverability when we have to bend our knees with our legs apart which is prevalent in blocking jumping spiking shuffling and bumping. so please, before you conclude that we are all just trying to look good, just try it. try wearing bball shorts and spandex and play volleyball THE RIGHT WAY and you WILL see a difference.

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  53. I call shenanigans. If there were any competive advantage to wearing what amounts to panties on a ball court, men would would wear them too. Its sexist plain and simple. It galls me that the female coaches, parents, and players are buying the garbage.

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  54. Just saw my teenage cousin's volleyball game shorts... which looked like black panties so I did some internet searching and found this site. Parents if you search further, you will perv sites like hotvolleyball.com. This site posts video (taken without permission I'm sure) of nothing but female players butts in tight shorts. No faces... just behinds with comments like ...you can see her thong. Seriously... would anyone do that to male players in regular game apparell? Why are the schools participating in objectifying women by insisting female players wear this nonsense? The males posting these comments infer that the girls wearing the gear must be loose because they are wearing it.

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  55. Athletes wear spandex. That's just how it is. Funny nobody goes on a tirade about how "inappropriate" wrestling singlets are. Unless of course a girl wants to wrestle in a district without a girls' wrestling program, then everyone gets bent out of shape about it. Also, men should wear spandex shorts for volleyball. The reason they don't is because the public (not the athletes) won't allow it because they're afraid they'll see a penis.

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    1. Good point about the singlets. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

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  56. 1st. The fact that you didn't know your daughter cold play volleyball well speaks poorly of your involvement in your daughter's life. 2nd: there is only one reason why girls volleyball shorts are short and tight... they allow the girl to show off her body. any girl or coach who tells you otherwise is lying...to you and/or themselves. 3rd. You are NOT required to wear short tight shorts. You can wear baggy and my daughters, who DO play volleyball very competatively at the high school level, wear matching basketball shorts instead. Thank God they are good enough that the coach and players want them on the team bad enough to let them... now, many of the younger girls are seeing the light and being more modest both on and off the court...

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  57. I've read most comments, but not all so i'm sorry if i'm repeating someone.

    One of the reasons girls wear spandex in volley is because we sometimes glide across the floor to get the ball. I can only imagine how painful that move would be for a guy. Spandex is the only thing that stays in place without causing pain while 'diving'. And I can't think of any other sport where you would be gliding with your belly botton facing the floor.
    Im really surprised that none of the comments i've read mentions this.

    I hope your daughter is enjoying volleyball if she's still playing. Its an amazing sport! I only played for 3-4 years but it was amazing, really gives you some self esteem and strength.
    I was a curvy girl myself and maybe the shorts didn't look too good on me but i wore them anyway because no one (should) care about what we look like when doing sports. There was a 200 lbs girl on the team for girls older than me and she wore the spandex as well, even though we were never asked to wear them.
    - Michelle :)

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  58. Very interesting. This popped up in a google search for girl's vb shorts. My 2nd grade daughter is joining a developmental vb league and they are required to wear spandex. 6-8 year olds. I am buying her bike shorts without the padding. If these are not acceptable, she won't play there. I don't know why compression capris or mid thigh shorts would not be just as comfortable. BTW, I only found amazon selling girl's vb shorts, a couple of sites for women's shorts but the majority of the hits were pervy sites to just look at girl's butts-in vb shorts of course.

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  59. WHY WHY WHY do people always try to DISTRACT from the true issue by talking about how "great volleyball is"???? THAT IS NOT THE POINT! parents- STAND STRONG! this is a societal issue. yes, wearing spandex seems logical and beneficial. NO>>>there is no reason these spandex shorts need to be booty-shorts....other than to ATTRACT male fans. so, take a look at your daughter's AGE. at what age are you OK with her back upper thigh and lower butt being in full HD????????? there is NO REAL REASON why they can't wear the slightly longer compression shorts. DON"T BE AFRAID to speak up and stand up.

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  60. This thread is full of bullshit reasons why it's acceptable for females to wear the tiny shorts.

    Yes, it's all bullshit.

    "One of the reasons girls wear spandex in volley is because we sometimes glide across the floor to get the ball. I can only imagine how painful that move would be for a guy."

    Men have to glide too and they don't wear tiny shorts.
    Men also need the freedom of movement and they don't wear tiny shorts.
    If you're so hung up on spandex you can still wear a longer version than the average tiny short.

    Please stop the stupid rationalization. There's no performance reason. There's no edge from girls wearing the tiny spandex shorts.

    It's purely an aesthetic decision. If you can't see that you're seriously in denial.

    P.S. b-b-but they can move better!!! Again, men don't use them and VB is also extremely competitive for them so any advantage will be exploited.

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  61. I am looking into this myself as my daughter is starting middle school this fall. She said she didn't want to play volleyball. Why? I asked. She replied the same, she didn't want to play volleyball. Why? same answer. Finally I dragged the answer out of her. She doesn't want to play volleyball because she doesn't want to dress like that in public. My husband knows of two other families who have girls who won't/can't play for the same reason. It's not right!

    We raise our daughters to dress modestly and then they go to school and are forced to dress like skanks or they can't play on the volleyball team.
    I'm waiting to make my phone calls until I have a recorder so I can remember what they say correctly. I'll be seeing a lawyer on Tuesday at a free clinic asking their advice. If I run into any trouble with my daughter not being able to dress modestly in order to be on the team, I will be getting a lawyer and sue for religious discrimination. Hopefully it won't go that far.

    I saw only a few minutes of a home volleyball game once when I went to pickup my son at the high school. It was gross! There was more than one girl with butt cheeks sticking out. Many of the girls were tugging at the back of their shorts to pull them down. I thought they were supposed to have their hands ready to play?

    As mature adults we are supposed to protect our children. Wearing a uniform for volleyball that consists of nothing but black underwear is not appropriate attire for middle school and high school girls volleyball. It is NOT necessary for proper performance of the game.

    I've already contacted our state sports organization and they said there is no rule that states that all shorts need to be the same length.
    It's all about peer pressure and wanting to look cool because it's the IN thing to wear. I was raised to stand up against peer pressure, to be my own person.

    After reading the above comments she may wear some long spandex UNDER her loose, longer shorts to keep covered should they rise up.
    Another thought, why would girls who think nothing of wearing sexy short spandex care if loose shorts rise up and show off their legs? Gravity should naturally make the shorts fall back into place where they belong. No pulling down required.

    Other parents may wish to just not have their daughter be able to play volleyball, but not me. It's time for someone to stand up and be counted.
    Stop the insanity!

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  62. I'm a 19 year old guy, just being honest here. I've heard it over and over again, even from my sister who is playing in college now, that the only real reason for the spandex is to bring in males. I'm sure that that is not consciously many teams decision for dressing this way, but, It definitely works! When I sit with the guys at school, the first thing that the eyes go to and the first thing that's talked about is the girls asses. I really do feel that it is unnecessary. The points made in defense of the spandex are pretty weak. Even IF there was some very small advantage to them, at this young of an age is that really worth throwing out all modesty? Plain and simple, its sexy, distracting, and a major stumbling block for the guys in the gym. Someone in an earlier comment mentioned that its all about how girls have been brainwashed into thinking they have to dress this way. I think that he really hit it dead on there. I think the girls really do like the attention, not all of them, but a good many. The ones that don't like it, usually can't stand up to the peer pressure. Its really just trashy, and girls make an object out of themselves to the men around them in doing so. They will deny it, get angry about it, demand their right to do it, but in the end it is just a choice to be in on the latest fashion, to fit in, to not stick out, or draw attention to ones self.

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  63. Frankly, the author of this tripe as well as the other men responding with neanderthal glee, thinks way too much about girls and women and what they wear. Females don't need to tell you why they wear a particular garment or style. Please take your fantasies elsewhere.

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  64. Give me a break people. I can't believe some of you are arguing that when it's sports, suddently looks don't matter. Yeah right, all the fans check their hormones at the door, and NONE of the girls EVER enjoy that kind of attention anyway. They are serious athletes.... Get real. I am a mom; I played volleyball; there is absolutely no advantage to wearing spandex underwear. NONE. These things are tiny. My kids have real underwear that provide more coverage than these things. Volleyball has gained a reputation as a "sexy" sport, mostly thanks to beach volleyball. Google beach volleyball, and try to argue with me. I (not my husband) do NOT want my daughters to play sports in their underwear, especially when it is completely unnecessary. I DO know what some of the male audience (and lesbians and bi's) happen to come to the games for. Wake up. I am not asking for birkas here. But self-respecting serious sport clothing that says "I don't play a sport to perform as other people's sexual entertainment" would be nice. A lot of people pretend life is a lot more innocent just so they can get away with what they want to get away with (wink, wink).

    And yes, I have heard of more than a couple of girls who decided they would never play volleyball because they were too embarrassed to wear the uniforms.

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    1. THank God I am not alone in using the words "decency" "modesty" in my vocabulary.
      Materialistic lust sells - Wake up parents! dont hide your head in the sand ! nudity for the sake of sports is no excuse !! .

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  65. We are only expressing our femininity.

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  66. Look. If you consider this though. It's only deemed "inappropriate" in your eyes because YOU think it's sexual. Honestly from experience I can tell you that down to knee spandex is highly uncomfortable. Leggings would work but that gets extremely hot and sweaty. It honestly only seems sexual because you make it to be. So maybe you should stop sexualizing women who are just trying to play a sport.
    Shorts are super annoying for some women because women have hips. So women will have a curve. Shorts go up that figure curve and eventually the shorts are all the way up to their stomach and it's highly uncomfortable. And I'll also point out that girls are more likely to get a big butt in comparison to guys. I know of a girl who can only wear leggings and spandex because loose baggy shorts don't fit on her due to all the muscle built on her legs and butt. She once tried to wear the shorts that the male volleyball team wore because there was a shorts theme that day, but she couldn't fit. Shorts just don't stretch the way spandex do. Also If you haven't noticed, women get more of the meat on their lower body and men get more on their upper body. I think that's a reason why women wear spandex but men don't.

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  67. I'm not sure why I'm taking time to comment, but I am. It is annoying for men to say things like this. Volleyball is the fastest paced team sport with a ball. We dive harder than basketball players, we contort our bodies more, and everyone I know would rather play in spandex. Our athletic director, a man, is trying to change this. Obviously men have different body shapes than us. I wish they would stop trying to force something they haven't experienced first hand.

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  68. My girlfriend has to wear those shorts, it makes me so mad. I don't want her showing off all of that to other gawking assholes.

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  69. What shame to live in a shameless society. We went from a fully covered Mary mother of Jesus (ever heard of the word modesty ?) to having our daughters become naked for the sake of sports and aerodynamics. I was not aware of this issue. So I goggled girls volleyball , to my schock i ended up in a;porn site that showed a 10 minute video of girls playing volleyball (why would this be in a porn site???!!!) To my then further shock the video was showing lots of close up shots on the groin area of the girls. Are we naive parents ? stupid ? or is our head in the sand ? The close up shots showed very clearly the size and shape of the anus and vulva - nothing left for the imagination. SO the real question is why do we let our daughters wear such short and tight shorts that their private parts are clearly seen ? What has happened to us ? why do we do this shamefull deed is it because we want our daughters on a porn site God forbid !! Ever wonder why in USA porn is a multibillion dollar industry ? What a shame. We need to wake up from our sleep and take action.
    Say NO to such indecencies !

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