As parents, we expect to see age appropriate clothing choices for our children when we head out to our local mall or browse through a respected retailer's online shopping site.
Recently, Abercrombie & Fitch, one of America's largest clothing chains, found out very quickly that concerned parents will not stay silent when padded bikini tops are being marketed to 7-year-old girls. It provoked a strong reaction.
Responding to the outrage expressed by many parents through the media and social networks, Abercrombie & Fitch issued this statement on their Facebook page: "We've re-categorized the Ashley swimsuit as padded. We agree with those who say it is best 'suited' for girls age 12 and older."
It is alarming to think that Abercrombie & Fitch's company executives didn't feel that their choice to sell this kind of "mature" garment in the first place was objectionable. Unfortunately, children are being routinely fed marketing images and slogans that encourage them to grow up way too soon and "play" grownup.
Think of the halter tops and mini skirts on the dolls being marketed to your 7-year-old daughter. Turn on any children's television network and you'll find commercials and television programs that push the teen way of life (makeup, suggestive clothing, dating) on impressionable young girl viewers. Think of how this bombardment of marketing images can affect a young girl's self-esteem and body image.
- What can we do as parents to counteract the invasion of often provocative and mature marketing that attempts to make our kids grow up way too fast?
- What are your worries about the messages your daughter is getting, and internalizing?
- What issues does it bring up about clothes and what's appropriate?
- How do you try to deliver healthy messages?
- Do you worry what messages your son is getting about girls and women?
Please share your opinion in the comments below.
A special thanks to our Moms Council: Patrice Athanasidy, Laura Belfiore, Carolyn DePaolo, Laurie Gershgorn and Kelly Galimi.