Act your age, but dress older

The forecast has begun to produce fewer rainy days and more sunshine. Just what every Portlander wants, right?

The forecast has begun to produce fewer rainy days and more sunshine. Just what every Portlander wants, right? With summer peeking its face around the corner, we’re gearing up for fun in the sun. For ladies, this means the daunting swimsuit season is dawning as well—even for young girls who haven’t hit their teens yet.

Isn’t swimsuit season great? The bikinis have such cute designs, can be on sale, and you can show off your New Year’s resolutions body!

Bikinis are sold everywhere, including Abercrombie and Fitch. And the styles are fantastic! There’s the triangle, the backless, tie-up with matching bottom; as well as the bandeau, the straight, tie-up in the front. There’s also the push-up swim top, like the triangle, just with extra padding. At least, these are the names Abercrombie and Fitch have assigned to these swim tops.

However, I feel a little guilty. I greatly enjoy these swimsuits myself and feel the need to share them. Abercrombie and Fitch seemingly had the same idea, so they decided to make these same types of swim tops for little girls—even those who haven’t yet hit puberty.

Yes, A&F were advertising for padded “push-up” triangle bikini tops for little girls. It wasn’t long before parents and bloggers went haywire online demanding that A&F immediately remove the product. They all tell the same story; Abercrombie Kids was selling swim tops that served as a push up for girls as young as eight years old.

The swimsuit in question is called the Ashley triangle top, the words “push up” removed almost immediately after the advertising began. But after searching their website, there are no “Ashley” tops in the kids section. It still seemed a little fishy that this would be acceptable for eight-year-old girls, but it is indeed true. The target market for Abercrombie Kids ages is eight to 14.

A visit to a local Abercrombie Kids found none of the swim tops were padded either. So yes, it’s true that the swim tops are for eight-year-old girls, but they are also for girls past puberty as well. However, Abercrombie still didn’t have any one-piece bathing suits available for the younger market. The styles and cuts are still very grown up. When compared to Gap Kids, Abercrombie’s styles mimicked adult styles. Gap Kids offers one-pieces and the two-piece suits, and are extremely modest. After entering an Abercrombie Kids, it was no longer a shock that they would attempt to sell padded bikini tops for little girls.

Even though Abercrombie Kids removed the title and the item of the Ashley push up, what they sell is still a bit unsuitable for children. A&F have been notorious for crossing boundaries, but this is just taking it too far.

It’s not a mystery why society sells sex by exploiting the human body, but usually, society exploits the adult body. Selling padded bikini tops for girls who haven’t even reached puberty yet teaches the girls that sex is how they will be recognized, and that it should be the basis for how they dress, act and behave.

There is already too much pressure on girls in society to look “good.” They are demanded to look skinny, wear makeup, the right kinds of clothes and more. This pressure starts when they hit adolescence, then expands beyond that, into adulthood. With adults, they make the conscious choice to have their bodies exploited, but children are easily influenced. If young girls don’t know any better, then they’ll assume they’re meant to look “sexy” before they’ve even developed into maturity.

Psychologist Dr. Michael Bradley told ABC News that there are four harmful effects of providing young girls with this type of product. According to Dr. Bradely, we’re teaching them that sex and looking sexy is what their cultural purpose is. This leads to how it shapes their behavior and how that behavior will become slightly more promiscuous. He also notes that our society is shaping their body images and distorting them, and we are robbing them of their childhood innocence. It promotes the idea of females being sexual objects to be admired, and the targets of admiration and satisfaction are the males of society.

Little girls should not be the object of sexual desire. What happened to childhood innocence? Why is it so important that fashion exceed common sense in the treatment of our society’s children? It’s not.

Little kids need the time in their lives where they don’t have to worry about anything. There are few precious years before children become aware of all the villainy in the world, and they spend the rest of their lives worrying about how they look, whom they’ll marry, what job they need, etc. But childhood is where at the end of every rainbow exists a pot of gold to be sought after. Do we really want to send this generation into early adulthood? I think not.

Parents, let your kids be fashionable, but draw the line at preposterousness thrown at them like the stunt pulled by Abercrombie and Fitch. ?