Padded Bikini Tops for 7 Year Olds?

Jeanne Sager

Flickr photo by craigfinlay
A clothing chain that has recalled padded bikini tops made for girls as young as 7 gets my vote for icktastic company of the week.

Was it Dov Charney week at Primark when they developed fake boobs for the boogers and bookbag set?

The company has apologized after severe criticism from British children's advocates, and they've announced plans to donate some money to children's charities.

But that still doesn't answer the question of who came up with this idea and why they thought it was appropriate to focus 7-year-olds' attention on the size of their breasts.

Because girls will and do put major stock in the advent of cleavage. Some are resistant, refusing to wear a bra for as long as possible (I was a holdout until seventh grade gym class and the need to change in front of a room full of upperclassmen forced the issue), but even those are largely embarrassed over the size or lack thereof of their new female form.

Growing breasts is stressful. And painful. And confusing. And a normal part of life. But mostly stressful -- grow too fast and the boys make fun of you. Too slow and you feel like you've been branded a freak -- and all one need do is look at your chest to read the scarlet letter.

I don't want my daughter to start the agony any sooner than she has to.

Because it will be a long time past the sprouting of breast buds (thelarche if you want to let technical) before she accepts her lot in life.

I finally became a full A cup when I was pregnant. Before that, I was an A minus at best. And it took until my 20s for that to become my standard joke -- one that even now I admit is only half humor, half a cover. I realize now that the size of my chest says nothing about me -- no more than the size of my child-bearing hips or my big German nose.

How do we teach our daughters to accept their bodies as they are if the world is always suggesting they could be sexed up?

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