I used to look at newborn baby girls and think to myself, "It's a shame she's so short and her legs are so chubby. A nice pair of heels would do wonders for her lower body." Thankfully, these came along and answers my prayers.
I'd also see toddlers playing on the swings in a park near my home, clad in boring Dora and Hello Kitty wear, and gently tap their parents on the shoulder and suggest they liven up their wardrobes with shirts like these.
Then last week, when visiting my 20-month-old niece in Los Angeles, I noticed how sometimes she stumbles a bit when she walks and I told my sister-in-law that I bet a product like this would help her little one improve her coordination and poise.
But never have I gazed at a seven-year-old girl and thought, "Wow, she is super flat. She could really use a padded bra." But if I had thought that, I'd be in luck, because it turns out, padded bras for little girls DO exist. Of COURSE they do! UK discount brand Primark recently introduced them in Europe (they really are so fashion-forward, non?) But after customers complained about the padded bras (stuffy prudes!), the company responsible for their creation pulled them from store displays and apologized, announcing it would donate profits to a children's charity.
Penny Nicholls, director of children and young people at The Children's Society, said: "We know from our research that commercial pressures towards premature sexualisation and unprincipled advertising are damaging children's well-being."
Look, we can't encase our little girls in a protective glass case and expect them to never be exposed to the harsh reality that at some point in their lives, probably sooner rather than later, they will viewed as sexual objects. But do we need them to feel it before they know how to multiply single digits?
According to therapist Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, of TLC's new series, Big Medicine, the typical 7-year-old girl:
-Wants to be perfect at this age and may seem more self critical than they were at 5 or 6 years.
-Worries more and their self confidence is more fragile.
-Has an increased tendency to complain. They are learning more and more about negotiation.
-Understands clearly the difference between right and wrong.
-Rarely needs punishment because they understand the rules and usually follow them.
-Is much better at losing games than they were at 5 or 6 years and they are less likely to blame.
-Begins to feel a stronger connection with shame and guilt.
It's hard enough that their role models are dancing on stripper poles and sending nude pics of themselves to their boyfriends. They'll already be sexting in middle school and triple-kissing by junior high, so let's keep some things sacred and try to present them with clothes and toys that promote, I don't know, reading or exercise or ANYTHING besides padded bras?!
Also, what is it about European marketers' sensibilities that renders them responsible for producing such incredible displays of sheer stupidity in the marketplace? One company, Asda, created a pair of child underpants to promote the film High School Musical 2...with the phrase "Dive In!" on the crotch; Tesco created the aforementioned child pole-dancing kit; WHSmith offered Playboy stationery for kids. I know we Americans have come up with some real doozies (baby stilettos or Bratz dolls, anyone?) but COME ON.
This blog originally appeared on iVillage's NeverSayDiet.