Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Topping the list of things pre-pubescent children probably don't need in their lives is: To be ogled and treated as sexual objects. No brainer, right?
Welp, looks like the powers that be at Abercrombie & Fitch didn't get the memo. Say hello to the company's children's swimwear line, which prominently features a range of "Push-Up Triangle" bikini tops for girls as young as seven. But wait, isn't this the same company that was roundly criticized in 2002 for selling a line of thongs for 7-year olds decorated with the words "Eye Candy" and "Wink Wink"? Looks like Abercrombie didn't learn their lesson.
"The push up bra is, effectively, a sex tool, designed to push the breasts up and out, putting them front and center where they’re more accessible to the eye (and everything else)," writes parent blog Babble. "How is this okay for a second-grader? Playing at sexy is an inevitable and important part of growing up. But there’s a difference between exploring these ideas on your own and having them sold to you in a children’s catalog. Right now, somewhere in the world, a girl is shopping at Abercrombie kids and getting the message that her breasts might need a little help."
Blogger Kdiddy at Moxiebird eloquently explains:
It’s not that kids in the 7 – 14 age group aren’t aware of their bodies and have no sexual feelings or thoughts until they’re 18. We know that’s not true. But there’s a healthy way to explore those feelings that doesn’t turn a young girl into another object to be ogled. If that’s how she wants to display her sexuality, then she can make that choice for herself when she’s older. When she’s a kid and, presumably, her parents are paying for her clothing, they need to make the call as to what is appropriate and protect her from crap like this while she’s still under their care. Navigating one’s early teens is hard enough. We don’t need to add another layer of confusion by making a young girl wonder if her cleavage looks appealing enough.· Push-up triangle, $18.38 (orig. $24.50) at Abercrombie Kids
· Abercrombie Kids selling push-up bikini tops for girls [Moxiebird]
· Abercrombie Thinks Your 7 Year Old Needs A Push Up Bra [Babble]