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 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.
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.
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.