In today's Point, I talked about how culture reflects worldview and how our culture reflects some troublesome things about how we view women. We in the west dislike what full head coverings say about the Islamic concept of women, but we encourage women to wear next to nothing and that says something about our concept of women.
LZ Granderson over at CNN Opinion has written a poignant article entitled "Parents, Don't Dress Your Girls Lke Tramps," in which he slams Abercrombie and Fitch for parketing push-up bras to pre-adolescent girls. He writes:
Abercrombie & Fitch came under fire this spring for introducing the "Ashley," a push-up bra for girls who normally are too young to have anything to push up. Originally it was marketed for girls as young as 7, but after public outcry, it raised its intended audience to the wise old age of 12. I wonder how do people initiate a conversation in the office about the undeveloped chest of elementary school girls without someone nearby thinking they're pedophiles?
What kind of PowerPoint presentation was shown to the Abercrombie executives that persuaded them to green light such a product?
That there was a demand to make little girls hot?
I mean, that is the purpose of a push-up bra, right? To enhance sex appeal by lifting up, pushing together and basically showcasing the wearer's breasts. Now, thanks to AF Kids, girls don't have to wait until high school to feel self-conscious about their, uhm, girls. They can start almost as soon as they're potty trained. Maybe this fall the retailer should consider keeping a plastic surgeon on site for free consultations.
We've been here with Abercrombie before -- if you recall, about 10 years ago they sold thongs for 10-year-olds -- but they're hardly alone in pitching inappropriate clothing to young girls. Four years ago the popular "Bratz" franchise introduced padded bras called "bralettes" for girls as young as six. That was also around the time the good folks at Wal-Mart rolled out a pair of pink panties in its junior department with the phrase "Who Needs Credit Cards" printed on the front.
I guess I've been out-of-the-loop and didn't realize there's been an ongoing stampede of 10-year-old girls driving to the mall with their tiny fists full of cash demanding sexier apparel.
What's that you say? Ten-year-olds can't drive? They don't have money, either? Well, how else are they getting ahold of these push-up bras and whore-friendly panties?
Noooo, couldn't be.
What adult who wants a daughter to grow up with high self-esteem would even consider purchasing such items? What parent is looking at their sweet, little girl thinking, "She would be perfect if she just had a little bit more up top."
And then I remember the little girl at the airport. And the girls we've all seen at the mall. And the kiddie beauty pageants.
And then I realize as creepy as it is to think a store like Abercrombie is offering something like the "Ashley", the fact remains that sex only sells because people are buying it. No successful retailer would consider introducing an item like a padded bikini top for kindergartners if they didn't think people would buy it.
If they didn't think parents would buy it, which raises the question: What in the hell is wrong with us?