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Selling push-up bikinis to girls, age 7: Is it too young?


Parent and social critics have just gotten over hyperventilating about tween make-up at Wal-Mart. Now, to Abercrombie Kids. The sportswear brand is selling a push-up bikini top, the "Ashley," for girls as young as 7.

Moxiebird blogger KDiddy posted the ad, along with a handy visual reminder of the company's trademark sexy catalogue images to make her point.

She writes: "I'm not totally cool with the idea of bikinis for little girls as it is. Whether or not they look cute is kind of besides the point, since bikinis were definitely created for grown and sexually mature women. So, putting that concept onto a little girl … ehhh, kind of weird, if you ask me. Adding a push-up element to it is just absurd and creepy."

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But the company has its defenders already. Over at The Stir blog, Jeanne Sager says critics worried about the sexualization of young girls are overstating this case.

"According to Sociological Images, the blog that seems to have broken this tempest in a teapot, the brand is focused on girls 7 to 14. That's why they're worried. But I've got a news flash for you: Every item in a store is not made for every person who walks in. And that's what's happening here," she writes.

By her math the size small won't fit the average girl until she's 11 or 12.

"Do I need to spell out the difference between a seven-year-old and her 12-year-old sister? A little girl with boobs is icky. I'm not putting my five-year-old in a bikini any time soon - forget the push-up issue."

Parents: What age is appropriate for bikinis? And do young girls need push-up padding, ever?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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