Abercrombie, a clothing line known for pissing people off with its risqué ads and problematic hiring policies, has done it again with a new line of swim-wear aimed at tweens (ages 8 to 14) that features padded bikini tops that push up and enhance breasts.
“This is appalling! If a parent buys a padded bikini for an eight-year-old, children’s services should be called. The sexualization of teens is bad enough and now this trend is trickling down to our babies,” Dr. Janet Rose, a parenting expert, told Fox411’s Pop Tarts Column.
The general consensus is that this new line of swimwear is pretty fucked up.
“Wearing a padded bra at that age when unnecessary is encouraging sexual precociousness, a dangerous muscle to flex for the girl as well as for peers and predators,” Dr. Nancy Irwin, a Los Angeles based psychologist, said (quoted here).
The question seems to be: who is to blame? Dr. Patrick Wanis, a human behavior expert, and Shirlee Smith, CEO/Founder of “Talk About Parenting With Shirlee Smith,” both seem to agree that it is the parents, particularly the mothers, who are to blame.
“Is this the extreme extension of the beauty-pageant mother who now seeks to make up for what she can never be?” Wanis asked.
“I’m slapping the blame on moms for not seeing any further than their own breast implants when it comes to purchasing push-uppers for girls that don’t, as yet, actually have any breasts,” Smith said.
This story has a curious connection with Clawdeen Woolf, a new female werewolf doll put out by Mattell that has also come under fire because some say it encourages girls as young as six to view their bodies sexually.
“My hair is worthy of a shampoo commercial, and that’s just what grows on my legs. Plucking and shaving is definitely a full-time job but that’s a small price to pay for being scarily fabulous,” is the official line from the teen werewolf.
“These dolls are training girls to feel ashamed of their bodies, to focus on being sexually appealing and sexually attractive from a pre-pubescent age,” Wanis said in another instance of the Fox411 column.
Between the teen werewolf doll and Abercrombie’s new swimwear line for tweens, and not to mention the thinly-veiled sexualization of Elle Fanning in Sofia Coppola’s film Somewhere, a strange and clearly problematic cultural trend seems to be gaining momentum.