The recent outcry and removal of a padded bikini top for young girls from Abercrombie Kids’ line has AJC reporter Nedra Rhone looking at the “Sexy Lolita” fashion phenomenon.
“ ‘It has been going on for the last 10 years,’ said Meenakshi Gigi Durham, assistant professor at the University of Iowa and author of ‘The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It’ (Overlook, $24.95). ‘Abercrombie & Fitch has been nailed before for this sort of thing. They have always been pushing the sexualization of little girls, so I can’t say I was surprised.’ ”
“It was surprising to see the product disappear — presumably in response to public pressure.”
“ ‘I do know that in many places, there are conversations about this sort of thing and there is a lot more public discourse about it and that is encouraging that there is some push back,’ Durham said.”
“Public opinion on the topic is pretty clear. Two recent polls on an opinion website, SodaHead.com, show 51 percent of respondents agreeing that ‘young girls dress too sexy.’ ”
“Eighty-five percent of respondents in a separate poll said Abercrombie Kids’ padded bikini top is not OK for little girls.”
“What parents consider inappropriate garments extends beyond outfits at Abercrombie Kids.”
“There are kitten heels in sizes small enough for 4-year-olds and T-shirts with sexy sayings sized to fit newborns at Gymboree.”
“Macy’s carries tops for juniors that leave little to the imagination, such as a bandeau with sequins from Material Girl, a line launched last year by Madonna with input from her then-13-year-old daughter, Lourdes.”
I think it’s been going on longer than 10 years. I personally would date it back to the Madonna days but that was my generation. Someone older than me might date it back even later.
I have been having an internal bikini debate about my soon-to-be 10 year old. She has worn bikinis before when she was younger. She had several from Lands End. Most recently she has been wearing fairly athletic-looking tankinis. I like them because you can get them off to pee but it still gives you some coverage – from sun and from exposing things while you play in the water. But this year she has specifically asked for a bikini. I’ve been sort of all over the place on this as she is developing.
I picked up two new suits for her at Target the other day. One was a tankini but it has the v-neck look to the top. I also grabbed a bikini because at least it was the right size. She’s been trying on really old ones that were just way too small.
My neighbor had an interesting take on it and she felt that it was the triangles that were the problem. She said they are meant to have breasts in them (and I guess show off the breasts). I had never thought about it like that but I did realize that all the bikinis she had when she was little were the straight across the top ones, not the triangles.
My sort of compromise was that she could just wear the bikini at home and not at the Y pool or the beach when we go. I’m still thinking on this. She hasn’t pulled the tags off yet.
So what do you think off the Lolita effect on fashion in general? How conscious of it are you?
Where do you fall on the tweens in bikinis debate? Does the shape of the top make a difference or is it just how much skin is shows?