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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Stanley cup backlash sends mixed message to tween girls

Feb 1

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Stanley Quenchers, the stainless steel tumblers introduced in 2016, have become a global success over the last four years. Then, in December 2023, social media powerhouse TikTok exploded with videos of teens and tweens receiving them as holiday gifts, turning the tumblers into a cultural phenomenon. As the trend reaches a tipping point, criticism is now directed at the young girls who played a role in popularizing the reusable cup, making it the latest symbol of overconsumption.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid explores this backlash, highlighting concerns about the mixed messages sent to these girls.

Being a tween, and then teen girl isor at least can bea rough ride. It’s that strange in-between time where people are simultaneously telling you to enjoy being a kid, go outside, climb a tree, use a stick to twirl a tire or whatever people think kids do. But you’re also becoming increasingly aware of what the world is going to expect of you. So what’s okay for you to like, or what’s frivolous, or just plain silly, those are questions kids are engaging with.

Let’s take that Stanley cup. My daughter adores hers; she calls it “my Stanley.” I’d guess that 60% of the girls in her classroom have one and carry it around with them wherever they go. And, of course, there are inherent issues with this particular trend because this is a very expensive water bottle. 

Not every kid in class is going to be able to afford whatever the trendy item is, but this is not a new thing. I vividly remember just desperately wanting saddle shoes, like all the popular girls were wearing, and being told they were too expensive.

I’ve read articles about kids bringing knock-off or fake Stanley cups to school and being called out by their peers, which makes me livid. Some people, of course, will go way overboard with any trends, like the Target moms who allegedly battled it out for the hot pink version.

But I really dislike the tenor of the backlash to the current tween trends — by which I mean “tween girl trends.” They render our children’s desiresand specifically desires that tread that moment in between childhood and “teenagerdom” — they render them ridiculous, when reallyaren’t they just having a little fun? 

Have you ever heard the expression don’t yuck someone’s yum?…

I have a nine-year-old daughter. Which means I am intimately familiar with the crazes currently circling amongst the tween population, including the omnipresent Stanley cups, the skincare, and the slime. I’m also intimately familiar with the backlash surrounding these things – and the more I read these pearl-clutching articles, the more I question my own knee-jerk responses to my daughter’s interest. 

Being a tween, and then teen, girl is – or at least can be – a rough ride. It’s that strange in-between time where people are simultaneously telling you to “enjoy being a kid!” – go outside, climb a tree, use a stick to push a tire down the road, whatever people think kids do – but you’re also becoming increasingly aware of what the world is going to expect of you. What’s “OK” for you to like, and what’s frivolous, or just plain silly. 

Let’s take that Stanley cup. My daughter adores hers; she calls it “my Stanley.” I’d guess that 60% of the girls in her classroom have one and carry it around with them everywhere they go. And yes, there are inherent issues with this particular trend – because really, this is a very expensive water bottle. 

 

Not every kid in class is going to be able to afford whatever the trendy item is, and this is not a new thing – I vividly remember desperately wanting saddle shoes like all the popular girls were wearing, and being told they were too expensive.

I’ve read articles about kids bringing “fake” cups to school and being called out by their peers, which makes me livid. Some people will go way overboard with the trend, like those Target moms battling each other for the hot pink version. 

But I really dislike the tenor of the backlash to the current “tween trends” – by which I mean “tween girl trends.” They render our children’s desires – and specifically desires that tread that moment in between childhood and teenagerdom – ridiculous, when really – aren’t they just having a little fun? 

I want to point out that I just participated in it myself, saying “those Target moms battling each other out for the hot pink version.” Which, sure, that’s a lot. But is liking your hydration delivery system so beyond the pale that it’s deserving of mockery on Saturday Night Live? With the skincare trend – is enjoying a few minutes of putting moisturizer on your face as a moment of calm in an otherwise frenetic day such a terrible thing? 

We’re sending our kids mixed messages. We’re telling them to explore their identities, get into the things that interest them…but then if those things don’t line up with what *we* think they should be interested in, we dismiss them. 

I suppose it just seems to me that the world can be hard. It’s challenging enough for our kids to figure out how to navigate growing up – forget about the novel perils of social media, a 24/7 news cycle, and an insane political environment. Yes, definitely have the conversations about what trends mean, how and why they’re participating in them, and so forth…but I would say it’s also important to explore your own thought process, and examine how and why gender factors in.

Which is all to say – my daughter got me my own Stanley for Christmas. I am currently hydrated beyond my wildest dreams, and I don’t hate it. 

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