What constitutes an appropriate swimsuit for elementary school-aged girls? Is a bikini inappropriate? How about a padded bikini? This summer, U.K. discounter Primark tried marketing a bikini with a padded top, aimed at girls as young as seven. It didn’t go well. The chain removed the suit from its racks only hours after tabloid The Sun declared the product a [pedophile] bikini.
The American Psychological Association, in a 2007 report on the sexualization of girls, raised concerns about other ad campaigns, such as Skechers’ “naughty and nice” ad in 2004 featuring Christina Aguilera dressed as a pigtailed, lollipop-licking schoolgirl. The association also fretted about thongs for 7- to 10-year-olds with slogans such as “wink wink.”
“If girls purchase — or ask their parents to purchase — products and clothes designed to make them look physically appealing and sexy, and if they style their identities after the sexy celebrities who populate their cultural landscape, they are, in effect, sexualizing themselves,” the report said.
Sure, bikinis for children (even for infants) have been available for a long time, but they weren’t padded. A push-up bra only makes sense when the wearer has something to push up. AND ISN’T SEVEN YEARS OLD.
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