A few weeks ago, several news stations ran a story about a questionable product marketed to girls as young as 7 at the highly popular Abercrombie and Fitch stores. The store is notorious for barely-there "scraps" that leave little to the imagination. But I had to draw the line at their push-up bikini tops.
While I do not shop there, just the thought that these things are available is troubling. Sexualizing children is deplorable and a store willing to play up this idea has ventured into the sick realm of pedophilia. Whatever happened to the "less is more" approach? Teaching kids to expose themselves and feel comfortable is a recipe for disaster as they become objectified. Even more disturbing is the demographic that prompted the store to create something they thought would be marketable and lucrative.
In an effort to curb the outrage since the news broke, the push-up bikini top has received a name change—the "lightly lined triangle." But the push-up isn't the only offense. There's also the thong geared to the 10-year-old that has "wink-wink" printed on the front.
So we wondered, would you be opposed if your daughter expressed a desire to have one of these tops? If you are against it, how would you discourage her?
Here's what Patch's Moms Council has to say.
Deb Melchert, Tinley Park
"I too am one of the outraged. I can't even begin to think why any company would think this is an item that would sell and then have the stupidity to advertise it nationally. Maybe I'm in the minority or maybe when we air shows like Toddlers in Tiaras, Abercrombie & Fitch may actually have a market for it. Anyone who drags their daughter around the country and dresses her like a 20-something-year-old model, or markets padded bikinis to 7-year-old girls is a pervert in my book. It's disgusting and then some."
Nabeha Zegar, Orland Park
"I, for one, am not shocked or surprised about the marketing of this product to very young girls. I have seen them around for years. I think the outrage is due to the way they were marketed as "push-up" style tops. There are a lot of things for sale that I am opposed to and would not purchase for my daughter. If there were not people buying these products, Abercrombie would not be selling them. There is a market and this whole outrage is doing nothing but giving them free advertising. If my daughter asked me to buy this for her I would simply say no and direct her toward more age appropriate swim attire."
Jan Kocek, Palos Heights
"I am totally disgusted and opposed to any business that tries to influence pre-pubescent girls to dress and act like teenagers or young women. In this high-tech world, children are made to grow up faster than they should as it is. The only way that it can be stopped is for the consumers (adults) to not allow their girls to become a part of the campaigns put out there by companies that only care about their profits. Although it’s easier for many parents to give in to a child’s whining and begging than it is to say “NO” and stand by their conviction, until that happens our little girls will continue being bombarded and brainwashed by the media propaganda. It’s amazing how many parents cave in to “but, mom….ALL the kids are wearing make-up, this kind of clothing, going to the party, etc”. Too many parents nowadays think that parenting means being a “friend” to their children. I believe that instilling values, morals, self-esteem and individuality in one’s children from an early age, as well as including awareness of peer pressure conformity issues, are important parts of parenting. If this hasn’t happened and a parent now finds her/himself with a distraught daughter, I’d sit her down and explain the reasons why this type of clothing is inappropriate for a girl her age. Encourage a two-way conversation where she is allowed to express her thoughts. Unfortunately, thanks to peer pressure, popularity is not defined by who you are but more by what you look like and who your friends are. If she insists all her friends’ parents are allowing them to wear whatever, make contact with those parents. The odds are, in most cases, those parents are hearing the same story from their daughters."