Thursday, June 28, 2007

In the "What if I had a daughter" files

String Bikinis: Now Available for Toddlers!

The Arizona Republic is reporting that Gap Kids now offers a crochet string bikini for 1 year-olds. What?

GapKids recently featured a white, crocheted string bikini you'd likely see Anna Kournikova wearing on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. The bikini was for a 12-month-old.

Racks at Target held several bathing suits perfect for a Hawaiian Tropic bikini competition. The crocheted and camouflage-designed suits started at Size 4 in the little girls' section.

Inseams on "classic" shorts at stores such as Abercrombie Kids and Hollister Co. are microscopic. And halter tops, shirts often lauded by fashion consultants for their ability to enhance a less-than-voluptuous chest, are everywhere for every age.

Moms hoping to find anything even mildly modest have to be happy Bermuda shorts are trendy again.

We don't have kids or (much) younger sisters or nieces or anything, so we have no idea if this article is exaggerating, but it claims that parents are resorting to sewing their children's clothes themselves because they can't find non-slutty duds for their elementary school kids. Is this true?

Article quoted from The Consumerist

Articles like this are not really a surprise to me - I know my friends who have young daughters are at their wits' ends, trying to find clothing for 6, 7, 8, let alone 10 year olds, that aren't completely vulgar (let alone older daughters, who themselves have been submerged by their peers into a mindset where incredibly indecent clothing is considered to be "what to wear") without going off the deep end into frummy-ville clothing. But honestly, maybe there's something to it.

Here's a quote from the original article:
From spaghetti straps for preschoolers to ultra-miniskirts on tweens, girls clothing is getting noticeably skimpier.

Kid-magnet chains, including Limited Too and Abercrombie Kids, as well as discount stores such as Target are focusing their marketing efforts on a much younger demographic, luring young girls into ensembles that in years past had been reserved for their teenage sisters.

...Leavy said the clothing trend is only piggybacking off pop culture and the toy industry, where Bratz dolls have spun off Baby Bratz and celebrities such as Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan have grown up much faster than the fans who follow them.

..."We all think about the JonBenet Ramsey thing (the 6-year-old beauty-pageant veteran whose killing remains unsolved) and look at how obscene it was," Istook said, "and we're all shocked, but, really, it's pretty common for kids to dress like that all the time."

T-shirts and tanks are cut slimmer. Shorts are shorter. Makeup for tweens, once controlled by the sheer colors of Bonne Belle, is glittery and glossy, marketed as of-the-moment must-haves.

Think that's enough, well how about this? "Mattel has announced that it will start a makeup line targeting young girls. In the wake of the company's recently launched Barbie-themed online social networking Web site, which raised concerns that it put young girls at risk of sexual predation, the toy maker says it is partnering with cosmetics line Bonne Bell to create a 'girl-savvy retail delivery.'" (Thanks to

I hate to think that the best thing for girls these days is to wrap them into hideous ankle-length denim skirts, but the alternatives appear to be learning to sew (and finding time to do it, even should one be able to master the skill - I never could) inheriting enough money that one can buy clothing from Hanna Anderson or hiring a personal clothing designer/ tailor.
I'd be willing to rise up in protest with my sister imas - I don't want my son thinking that girls should be wearing this stuff either - I don't want his classmates wearing it at the age of 6 (or younger) and I don't think that children and toddlers ought to be sexualized - isn't there enough disgusting behavior going on in the world, without normalizing it through clothing?

I understand that it's about money, and about kids having more to spend, but I just don't want this in my kid's mind. What ever happened to tomboys, and wearing clothes that are for playing in? Does the world really need children acting like sexually available adults?
How can this get nipped in the - well it's hardly a bud anymore? Any ideas?


Juggling Frogs said...

It's getting worse and worse. It used to be, 'tsk, tsk, tsk. I can't believe what other people will buy.'

Now, there is nothing BUT that type of clothing available in the market.

Whenever I find something appropriate and cheap, I buy it in 8 sizes up and stockpile. (I have four daughters.) I used to be a bit superstitious about buying clothing for years hence, but now that there is so little available, it's a survival skill.

Jack's Shack said...

It is terrible. Sometimes I wonder if my daughter is going to hate me for dressing her in a sack because she is not going out in a bikini or some of these other outfits.

Kol Ra'ash Gadol said...

The worst of it is, the girls themselves (the older ones, I mean, not the toddlers) buy into this. I do recall being say, 12, and wanting to wear what everyone else was, and being, say, 16, and wanting to flaunt what I had, so I understand why they do it; but it's very unnerving to me what our society is teachng them is most important about them. And it's so much less now then even just a few years ago. Porn culture is now considered sexy: Ewwww!

And people say that feminism did its work and is complete. Not hardly....

bob said...

We took our 10 yr old daughter to Target to buy short for camp, but all we could find would barely cover her underwear.

Ever sensible, she said: Let's try the boys' department. And there we found shelves of cheap, a little bit above-the-knee shorts.
Far from frummy-clothes, far from preteen-porn, perfect for running around in hot weather.

Jeffrey said...

Speaking as the father of a 9 yo (the 19 yo buys her own slutty clothes) I really don't find this true. I buy her lots of stuff that is not slutty. She wears mostly jeans and some other long pants to school, and reasonable shorts in the summer. Also skorts are good.

I find reasonable things in Target, among other places, but in a pinch there is always Lands End, which is where I buy a lot of my clothes.