Sunday, March 27, 2011

Abercrombie Kids' Targets Tweens With Push-Up Bikini

At first I thought this was an online joke, but sadly I confirmed that it's true: Abercrombie Kids is selling push-up bikinis to girls ages 8 to 14. They even had an entire section of their website devoted to "push-up" as a category (I say "had" because the company changed their description and website menu from "push-up" to "triangle" this weekend). The video from the news segment on ABC News is below:

I have to ask: what message is Abercrombie Kids trying to send to kids by selling push-up bikini tops to tweens?  Do they believe that tween girls - remember, Abercrombie Kids makes clothing for kids ages 8 to 14 - should need and want padding in their bikinis? Certainly I can understand some lining for decency, but I cannot fathom why a push-up feature is needed on an 8 year old.

Dr. Michael Bradley, a child psychologist, was interviewed by ABC News and cited four societal negatives from having a child retailer sell this product:
  1. We're shaping their beliefs and teaching tweens that our popular culture values them as sex objects.
  2. We're shaping their behaviors: kids who are introduced to sexualized images and media earlier are more likely to engage in sexual activity earlier in life as well.
  3. We're wreck their body image and telling them they're not okay as they as they are.
  4. We're taking their childhoods away from them.
We wrote about a store in London, Primark, who sold padded bikinis to tweens last year. They faced such backlash that they pulled the item from shelves quickly and donated the proceeds to charity. Given the public outrage, I'm frankly surprised another retailer would repeat this gross mistake in judgment.

Abercrombie Kids' is seeing the backlash hit its Facebook page as well - parents are posting their dissatisfaction with the company on nearly every update. Are you, or were you, a fan of Abercrombie Kids? Is your tween? Will this issue change your views of the company? How will you broach this topic with your daughter?

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1 comment:

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