The Reason Cargo Shorts Have Spurred a Discussion

August 5th 2016

Lucy Tiven

A report about cargo shorts published on Monday in the Wall Street Journal has spurred a discussion on social media about gender double standards and clothing choices.


Published August 1, the story offered a measured account of the garment's history and identified recent declines in sales of the shorts.

Nicole Hong, the Wall Street journal reporter who unintentionally ignited #cargoshortgate, observed that the once-popular style of knickers has fallen out of favor, and spoke to various retail and merchandising experts and individuals with strong stances on the shorts. Some women Hong interviewed voiced strong disapproval of their husbands owning pairs of such shorts, while one men confessed to hiding them from his wife.

Since the piece was published, numerous news outlets and public figures including the Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, NPR, MSNBC Host Chris Hayes, and two prominent members of the Federal Communications Commission, have weighed in on the shorts.

Some men have complained that the cargo shorts taboo is unfair and constitutes body shaming.

Various Twitter users on both sides of the fault line have pointed out that the shorts can be associated with overweight or 'lumpy' physiques.

Judd Apatow asserted that the shorts are helpful for hiding your middle section in an emotionally charged tweet.

On Friday, male staffers at the WSJ donned the shorts in solidarity with those who wear and champion them unabashedly.

Some women pointed out that they tend to face body-policing for their clothing choices far more frequently than men experience it.

Whatever your stance on this debate may be, the recent spike in interest surrounding cargo shorts is undeniable, according to Google Trends.

google trends shorts

A simple Google search reveals where our commander in chief stands on the issue. cargo shorts

It's true that women and young girls are often scrutinized for their clothing choices in school and work.

First daughter Malia Obama was recently shamed in an egregious and absurd manner by various news outlets for wearing shorts to Lollapalooza and dancing in them. Of course, that doesn't mean that belittling men for their outfits provides any actual form of justice to women who have experienced body-shaming.

Men, women, and nonbinary people should all be free to don shorts of their choosing without mockery.

ATTN: has reached out to the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein about their positions on cargo shorts. We will update this post if we hear back.