"Fun" or "disturbing"? Harmless or inappropriate? Thousands of readers have already weighed in about Elizabeth Hurley's new swimwear line in comments on HuffPost Parents (and our Facebook page) -- and in a HuffPost Live segment today, HPP Managing Editor Farah Miller was joined by Neil Sinclair, Stephanie Covington Armstrong, Alyse Berger Heilpern, Dr. Nancy Berk and host Alicia Menendez to discuss, not just the bathing suits themselves, but also the messages society sends to girls about sex, self-confidence and body image.
"The sexualization of girls and women is so much more prevalent than in boys and men across every media outlet, from advertising to television to video games to Halloween costumes," said Dr. Berk, a psychologist, who also explained some of the ways bad messages can be passed on to kids: "It's not just what [a mom] wears, it's what you do and what you say. If you're watching television in a flannel nightgown, and then you are commenting on how hot every actress is in a miniskirt, you're sending a message to your children -- boys and girls alike."
Dad Neil Sinclair added that his daughter was attracted to the bikinis in question, but "As a parent, I think I need to make the decision. My daughter wants to eat fast food every day, have pockets full of pocket money and go to bed when she wants, but it's my decision, as a parent, to say you know what, I'm trying to prepare you for the woman you're going to be, not what you want to do now."
Of the bikinis themselves, he said: "The word cute would never spring to mind when I was looking at those images."