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Abercrombie & Fitch sparks outrage with padded bikini top for little girls

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Abercrombie & Fitch is again in the headlines, with a push-up swimsuit for seven-year-olds creating outcries from parents.

Controversial clothing outlet Abercrombie & Fitch is in the headlines again, this time getting parents stirred up over a padded bikini top for seven-year-olds. The item, the “Ashley” bikini, is in the latest swimsuit line at abercrombie kids, the company’s store for boys and girls. Parents, however, have been less than pleased with the company’s offering for pre-pubescent girls.

The store also offers “lightly lined” tops, but the option is not pacifying parents.

Melissa Gerstein, from momsandthecity.net, told NBCs Today Show, “I have two little girls, and I would never purchase this despicable garbage for my child, nor should any other parent. It is completely sending the wrong message to your daughter. A second grader does not need a padded bikini top.”

Abercrombie & Fitch has been in the crosshairs of controversy in the past, showing skin and carrying items often deemed inappropriate by consumers. In 2005, a “girlcott” was staged over t-shirts with sexual slogans, such as “anatomy tutor,” and the store took the shirts off the shelves. They also removed a thong line for girls ages 7-14 in 2002. But, some do not believe this is a problem with Abercrombie & Fitch.

“If we don’t make such a big deal about it, first of all, these little girls won’t even know what they are,” Denise Albert (Moms and the City and a Dad Named David) said on the Today Show. “They won’t know. We’re making such a big deal about it. Parents make such a big deal about it. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.”

With that, Gerstein agreed. “The parents that are buying these horrifying items are actually the ones to blame here, not Abercrombie & Fitch.”

Some experts are concerned, however, that these types of products are creating a bad message of sexualization for girls in society today, and may give them the impression growing up that it is what is on the outside, not the inside, that counts. They also point out that this is also an advertising trick used by companies like Abercrombie & Fitch to increase sales, bringing curious customers to their stores and websites as the media storm surrounding a product grows.

“We are part of the problem, here,” said Robyn Silverman (Good Girls Don’t Get Fat) to Today Show host Meredith Vieira, “because we keep showing this bathing suit and we keep saying, ‘Look at this.’ That’s what they want. Isn’t it convenient that we are right at swimsuit season, and here we are with this swimsuit saying, ‘Look at this.’”

Since the controversy began, the company has changed the name of the swimsuit from the “Push-Up Triangle” to “Striped Triangle.” Additionally, they dropped the word “padded” from the description.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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