Well phew! At last, the teeny-weeny bikini I've been looking for! It's sexy, it's sassy, and it gives just the right amount of va-va-voom padding and lift to create that alluring, come-hither cleavage... too bad it's being marketed to my second-grader.
Yes, that's right. The latest marketing scandal du jour comes from our friends at the Abercrombie and Fitch "Kids" website, where we can now find padded bikini tops for sale. To reiterate: It's a padded bikini top. For young girls. A padded bikini top for young girls. You know -- to make them look like they have bigger boobs. Because isn't that what we need? Little girls with fake boobs?
According to the New York Daily News, "the tops were originally marketed as 'push up triangle' until bloggers began slamming them earlier this week."
Now they're merely called "striped triangle" -- but the padding remains.
You know what really drives me nuts about this? Not that my daughter will see it and want it. I monitor what she sees on TV; I'd rather eat glue-sticks than let her play with Bratz dolls; and we spend our mall time at Gymboree and Starbucks -- not any of the places that seems to want me to dress my little girl like a little mini 20-something at best (mini-hooker is often more like it).
And it doesn't even bother me SO much that these bathing suits exist. I mean, it's gross -- but what do we expect from the company that brought us "wink wink" thongs (thongs!) for 10-year-olds? (Yes, I mean the thongs actually had "wink wink" emblazoned on them. Klassy with a K!)
What REALLY concerns and upsets me is that, sure there are plenty of parents and bloggers (bless them) all in a tizzy and outraged about these trashy tops (you, for example!) -- but there are plenty more who are going to go ahead and let their 10- and 11- and 12-year-old daughters BUY one. And wear it. Like, in public.
And that's way harder to battle, as a mom.
Wait -- what's that you say? No one would really let their daughters under the age of oh, say, 18 wear such a thing as a sexy, padded bra, string bikini top?
Abercrombie may be culpable in helping to grow the market for sexualized little girl's clothing, but they didn't invent it, and they're not buying their own products. Other people -- other PARENTS -- are.
I'm no perfect mother. A lot of the choices I make are open to criticism: No Hannah Montana, but manicures are OK? What's up with that, lady? But as my baby inches closer and closer to the threshold of being a "tween" -- curse the evil marketing genius who ever dreamed up that term! -- I become more and more stressed about what lies ahead, and about how I will stay strong and keep those limits placed where I believe they need to be placed -- no matter what the "other kids" -- both at home and in the media -- are allowed to do.
Soon I will have so much more to worry about than ridiculous bikini tops, from makeup to boys to Facebook to texting -- er, gulp -- sexting. It's pretty scary, especially in a world where moms are giving their 8-year-olds Botox, so many parents seem to be clueless about the online lives their teens are leading, and where yes, there is a market for those bikinis.
It may take a village to raise a child, but sometimes I feel like we'd be better off on a desert island.
With one-piece bathing suits for all.
This is cross-posted at BettyConfidential.com.