Yet Another Sign of the Coming Apocalypse: Abercrombie Kid’s Padded, Push-Up Bikini For 7-Year-Olds

Dear Abercrombie Kids,

Padded, push-up bikinis for 7-year-olds? For real?

I mean I’ve yet to see the second grader who has need to push up anything on her body, much less a flat-as-a-chalkboard chest stuffed into frilly attire designed for an afternoon swim down at the local pool. Still, you’re a store that’s proudly sewing up bathing suits meant to create boobs for prepubescent girls—something about as logical as roller skates on a dog.

And seeing as such things don’t go together—7-year-olds and boobs, dogs and rollerskates—I’ve come to the conclusion that when you decided to peddle hooker gear to grade school girls, you weren’t so much filling an actual need as you were looking to make a point—that some sly marketing genius’s intent was to get me to sit here and pound away at the keyboard, screaming loudly with each character, drawing more eyeballs to your store’s product, your website, your bottom line.

How clever.

How evil.

How asinine.

How disgustingly despicable.

Maybe your designers and marketing gurus don’t have kids. Or maybe the ones who designed this bathing suit and the campaign are pervs who get off on sexualizing and exploiting children—I don’t know. But as the mother of two little girls, I feel the need to hip you to some things as you push the hooker wear on little girls: The hardest part of raising girls is moving through the day-to-day feeling like you’re trying to hold back the wind—like you’re trying to box water. No matter how much protection we provide, no matter how much we blanket them with sweet, sweet, goody goody, molecules in the form of inappropriate TV shows and videos and music and websites are always seeping around and all up into our sweet embrace through those fingers we use to cover our children’s eyes and plug their ears, hoping to shield them from the onslaught of teenage and adult issues looking to suck them in and make them grown way before their time.

Keeping our girls from all that pimpin’ ain’t easy, even for the most diligent among us.

And now, crashing into the midst of all of the madness, we get goddamn push up bikinis. For 7-year-olds. Yet another rush of molecules seeping into their brains, telling them that their barely post-toddler bodies—bodies damn-near fresh out of pull-ups, bodies that still try to (and can!) evade any hint of shower or bathtub because they haven’t been taken over by the stench of puberty, bodies that still race around the house butt-naked because there is no shame are somehow sexual objects—are to be shown off. And ogled by the masses.

We want. No, we need. No, we beg the world around us to keep our children young and innocent and free of shame for as long as we possibly can because when those days are gone and the stink comes and the boobies and butt grow and the opposite sex starts sniffing, we have to train all of our fight against teenage drama, insecurity, pettiness, fear, stupid sexting, FaceBook friendships with potential pervs the list goes on. Who wants to invite all of that craziness before we have to? Before it’s necessary?

Please, Abercrombie Kids and your clever little designers and marketing folk: Can you give us some help? Cut us some slack? Extend to us a damn break? Please? We don’t think it’s a whole lot to ask that you hold off on offering slutty bikinis to 7-year-olds, who still have an affinity for panties with unicorns, rainbows and cartoons on them.

Not too much to ask at all.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.

26 Comments

  1. Nothing stops Abercrombie & Fitch from making the bikini or consumers from buying it (or not buying it) so I don’t get what the issue is.

    • Of course nothing forces consumers to buy the bikini, but I think the author’s concern is that “the seed is planted”. And the dangers with that are endless and a slippery slope – Some pedophile will see that suit being marketed to children, think “Oh look, sexualizing small children is mainstream!” and feel emboldened in his/her disgusting pursuits. You know that at least one idiot, in trying to be “The Cool Mom” is going to buy that suit for her child, which may make some other kids want one too, turning it into a fad/field day for said pedophile. A few of the little girls who are dressed “sexy” will get the message that it’s cool to mimic other behaviors that are best left for adults. Etc. These hypothetical cases aren’t likely to be isolated incidents.

      • Denene@MyBrownBaby

        @CoffeeLady:

        This: “A few of the little girls who are dressed “sexy” will get the message that its cool to mimic other behaviors that are best left for adults. Etc. These hypothetical cases arent likely to be isolated incidents…”

        Exactly.

      • I have to agree, CoffeeLady. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. We’ve given away far too many inches when it comes to our children.

      • The slippery slope started long before A&F. This society decides what’s “popular” and “right”. Today it’s bikinis for young girls, tomorrow it will be something else. I’m choosing my battles and A&F isn’t one of them.

  2. The issue is when one 7 year old has it at the pool then the other, “mine”, will want one too. And I will have to begin the explanations, years before I need to that this is not a good thing. We have not shopped at Abercrombie for years when my then 13 year old daughter wanted clothes that were just not appropriate. The pictures in the store, not appropriate. But plenty of people still do. But while the children live in my house, they will not enter Abercrombie on my watch!

  3. I use Land’s End and buy my girls Tankinis. Problem solved.

  4. UGH!!!! this makes me sick. Why why why???

  5. This is so beyond sad to me! At an age where young girls just want to play and have fun, society, and all of the evil it holds, wants them to grow up….QUICKLY! Nneka – this goes beyond the fact that I don’t have to buy what they sell. This goes beyond the fact that I can just protect MY kids and leave everyone else’s to hell. This goes beyond simple marketing and advertising….We are at WAR for our young people and the notion that it is really as simple as consumers not buying and retailers not selling is as absurd as, well…padded bras for seven (7) year olds!

    We dare to encourage them to grow into beautiful, intelligent, thought provoking young ladies and women! We dare to encourage them to stand for RIGHTEOUSNESS and all that that represents! We dare to encourage them to not think of themselves and each other as the fulfillment of some young boys fantasy! How DARE WE CARE!!!

    I am truly appalled at this, yet….not surprised at all. We are being desensitized to evil in every form…we are raising confusing and hopeless kids whose only desire is to be like everyone else…padded bra and all!

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      @Kelly: My God, THANK YOU. #cosign

    • You have your battles and I have mine.

      The choice to buy bikinis for young girls is left up to the parents. It’s not a choice that I would make but who am I to tell them how to dress their children?

      • Denene@MyBrownBaby

        This: “You have your battles and I have mine.”
        EXACTLY. This is something I CHOOSE to speak about on MY site. If it’s not your battle and you have other things you’d rather speak up about, like Kim Kardashian speaking at the Kids Choice Awards (lawd–I didn’t know. WTH?), then you’re welcome to speak up about it. I wouldn’t dare suggest you don’t have that right, or question why you’re doing it… which is what you seem to be doing here. One of MY personal pet peeves is that it’s becoming harder for me as a mother to walk in a store and find clothes that are appropriate for my tween girls—that designers/labels/stores are going out of their way to grow up my girls before I think it’s time. Do I think I have the right to tell another mother how she should dress her kid? Absolutely not. But when mothers who choose NOT to dress their kids like mini-prostitutes don’t speak up, then those stores are led to believe that they should ramp up the amount of slutty designs they have for little girls instead of being more thoughtful about what they design and sell to the consumer—i.e. me. I choose to speak up about it because it directly impacts the way I’m raising my children. Period.

  6. Appalling. Appalling. I have no childen and think that is disgusting. Any normal adult should. Well said. (I am reeling from this. Truly)

  7. Oh my! How dare they? Down right disgusting !

  8. Denene, maybe you could get a petition started over at Care to Cause? I don’t know how they “start” but I just signed one about our Mural Madness in Maine (oh don’t even get me started). A petition (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/) to remove the product from their line would be very effective, and call them out? Coming from you would have serious POWER. You know? Thank you for all you do.

  9. Ugh. The very idea of kids wanting push up bikinis… or their moms BUYING them for their kids… makes me feel like barfing. Not cool, A&F. Not cool.

  10. Kia Morgan Smith

    AMEN my sista! Denene you hit the nail on the head! I could NOT have said it better! Me and my three little girls thank you!

  11. I have three daughters that are all now successful young ladies. Ages 25, 21 and 20. All beautiful girls that wanted what all the other kids had regardless of what it was. NOT one of them would be wearing anything with a push up in it @ that age unless I was on the otherside of the grass. If more parents would just be the parent and realize that your kids will have tons of friends but will only get 2 parents (if they are lucky) companies like this would have no market share.

  12. Spent last week on the beach with grandparents and my mother was giving me crap for putting my 3- and 6-year old daughters in boy’s trunks (floral–tropical print!) and surfer rash guards (short sleeved tops) to swim, when all the other little girls were in bikinis (though, presumably not padded ones).
    First of all–sun protection, hello! And second: my kids are cute, no matter what they are wearing. Swimwear is an instant sexualizer, even when it’s “modest.” Girls’ swimwear resembles underwear at every age. I’m not doing that to my kids, thanks.
    I find most girls’ summer clothes (shorts and tops) to be inappropriately modeled on sexy, older girls’ and women’s clothing designs–short-shorts and skimpy tanks and tight “skinny” jeans. I usually put my girls in shorts and jeans from the boy’s side of the store–whether Baby Gap or Target–and find cute short-sleeved tops on the girls’ side.
    Also? My kids don’t own dress shoes because I refuse to let them wear heels, and you can hardly find flat, patten-leather mary janes like we all used to wear, anymore. They wear sneakers under their dresses, what the heck.

  13. How many of you are up in arms about Kim Kardashian being a presenter at the Nick Kid’s Choice Awards. Truthfully, I’m more concerned about that than A&F.

    • Denene@MyBrownBaby

      Again, this is your right. I hope you write about it on your blog, and I’ll certainly support your view because I agree with it. But if I didn’t agree with it, I wouldn’t stomp all over your site and the comments section making it seem like what is important to you isn’t worthy of discussion because I happen not to agree with it…

  14. I love this post. I couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks for sharing this perspective and hopefully a message to the company.

  15. Wow! It isn’t like the young girls of our society aren’t growing too fast as it is so let’s just put a 7-year-old girl in a push up bikini. This is absurd.

  16. How did I miss this? Been snowed under. I remember hearing about the AF padded bikini and filing it under #WhyIwillnevershopAF and I am so glad that this discourse happened and is still happening.

    We need all hands on deck in today’s world. Because our children – watch out for the upcoming cliche – our future is quite honestly under attack. So we need everyone to speak out about what concerns them and I cosign on Denene saying that no-one should be made to feel like their concerns aren’t valid. If one disagreed with the assessment that padded bikinis for children is revolting, dangerous and seemingly openly encouraging pedophilia…then that is one thing but to say that it is not a battle worth fighting…well…I am a mom of a daughter in that demographic and I tell you they are being indoctrinated and they do feel the pressure to belong. My daughter announced that she wanted a zukini not a one piece and I was floored. We have constant conversations and I find myself always on the defense trying to ensure that her mind stays focused on the fact that she is a beautiful golden brown girl and that she never reduces her worth to what is between her legs.
    Fight on sisters! Fight on.

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