yesterday, i woke up from my afternoon nap and decided i wanted to watch the national news. in between stories about libya, comparing president obama to president bush, and the newest problems in japan, was a story that was disturbing and yet completely unsurprising.
it was like something straight out of the movie thirteen. abercrombie & fitch is now selling push-up bikinis in its spring collection for girls. not teenagers, not women, girls. girls who should still be playing hopscotch and thinking that boys have cooties.
seriously. it makes me feel old, among other things. especially now that i’m going to launch into the whole, “why, when i was that age…”. honestly, i don’t think it’s all that fair to compare my generation’s tween years to the new one, because we were all about long johns and oversized plaid shirts, paired with doc martens. not an errant bra strap in sight. with the evolution of fashion, though, clothes eventually started to fit properly again, and because young girls always want to look like older girls, fashion for young girls became more and more form fitting and yes, sexy.
there’s a difference between modesty and appropriateness. i don’t consider myself particularly modest, but i DO understand what is appropriate (and when). a strappy low-cut tank top, miniskirt, and stilettos is fine if i feel like being a hoochie in the club. it is not fine if i’m at work, unless i’m asking for a harrassment lawsuit. and it’s really not fine if i’m 8 years old.
the word “blame” comes to mind right about now. it’s so easy to use, and in this case it could be applied to a number of different factions. of course, i do that and said factions will be all up ons, yammering about how i don’t have kids, i’m not a advertising guru, i don’t understand economics/russian/cordon bleu cooking.
for every parent who goes out and buys their daughter this crap, there are probably at least two that refuse to. so you can’t necessarily say it’s bad parenting. same goes for those marketers, who will point out that not everyone who’s a target of this campaign is susceptible, although i WILL argue that when you’re that young, the desire to fit in and be accepted might be stronger than it is when you’re older, if only because you’re just beginning to form your own identity and may not really be able to think for yourself just yet. and…cue the yammering (this is where they all say “yes! yes i can think for myself! i know what i want! ooh look, shiney!”).
it makes me wonder, what would happen if you took away all those ad campaigns? if you took away the paparazzi and the disney machine? how would those little girls know what they want to look like?
*and for the record, abercrombie has since taken out the words “push-up” when describing the bikinis.