Feast your eyes on this:
a padded, push up bra marketed for seven-year-old girls by Ambercrombie Kids.
SEVEN-YEAR-OLD GIRLS. Have you heard about this? It was all over the news a couple of months ago,
Some parents say they’re helpless in the face of this kind of marketing–that when kids want it, they have to buy it. It’s too hard to say “no.”
Other people say dressing kids like this is a way moms compensate for what might have been lacking in their own childhoods, as many stage moms with kids in child pageants seem to do. Regardless, it strikes this non-mom as more than a little sick.
But it’s a complicated subject. So let’s break it down.
First, the retailer:
Abercrombie’s no stranger to this kind of sick product: This is a thong for ten-year olds that they originally marketed using the terms “eye candy, wink wink!”
(cringe) Let’s agree that the retailer wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t profitable. Either they sell a boatload of these sexy kids’ items OR they profit from the attention they get positioned as a daring marketeer.
If people didn’t buy this stuff, if in fact they stopped buying merchandise at Abercrombie because of it, then I’m certain these items would disappear. Since they don’t, the only conclusion is that this kind of marketing works.
I get that Abercrombie has an obligation to their shareholders to make money. But seems to me they also have a moral obligation to protect kids. To do what’s right. Sexualizing kids like this, in an age where child predators are all over the daily news is just plain morally wrong.
What’s next: botox for kids? It is. Turns out a pageant mom is doing this and San Francisco Child Protective Services is now in the mix. That’s right. A mom is injecting her eight-year-old daughter with botox because she “has wrinkles.” The daughter is, after all, a pageant competitor. We’re becoming a crazy society. But I’m digressing. Back to marketing to kids and for kids. UPDATE: The child has been removed from her mother’s care at present.
Parents want laws protecting their kids from advertising and products like Abercrombie’s push-up bra. Because some parents can’t say “no,” they want someone else to do it. I don’t even know where to begin responding to this ridiculous concept.
Children are (mostly) a product of their environment. An important part of parenting (besides providing love) is setting appropriate limits for kids. If parents can’t do that, if they want other institutions to do it for them (such as schools), well, seems to me they’re failing. They may not be overtly abusive. But by abdicating responsibility for making decisions for their kids, they’re setting their offspring up for some bad stuff.
As a society, do we really want to promote the possibility of sexual activity among preteens? Do we want kids to be attractive to molesters? Are parents really helpless to deny kids inappropriate attire if they want it?
Child abductions and sexual attacks have gotten so much publicity in recent decades, I don’t know how parents can ignore this issue. And yet, it seems like many parents are in denial.
Every day on Facebook I see parents post photos of pre-teen and even kindergarten-age girls that would make a child molester salivate. Sweet, beautiful young girls in provocative poses. Would-be young models, like this one in a sequinned top more appropriate for women years older than she is. (No, it’s not a baton twirling outfit or a skating costume. It’s a top.)
It’s one thing to have photos like that at home. If you must. It’s another to post them in a public forum where sick people could obsess over them.
I feel sorry for kids today. There’s almost a societal conspiracy to force them out of the innocence of childhood and into adult concerns even before puberty.
I can’t help but wonder what the consequences will be when these kids grow up.
What do you think?