UK – Today we were treated to faux tabloid outrage about a padded bikini for 7 year old girls. The headline screamed Paedo Bikini. Are the clothing manufacturers sexualising children? Should Primark be prosecuted for encouraging paedophilia?
There has been a tendency in recent years for clothing manufacturers to push the boundaries in order to increase sales. This started with the re defining of teenager from 13 — 19 to 9 — 15.
Not satisfied with this clothing manufacturers have started marketing clothes for teenagers to pre pubescent girls. This clothing sports utterly inappropriate logo’s like ‘Nice Tits’.
Now the clothing retailer Primark has been selling padded bikini’s for 7 year olds. Is the Sun right calling them paedo bikini’s or is it just a tabloid flash in the pan?
I think that we can all agree that the sexualisation of pre pubescent children is a really bad idea, but does it constitute encouraging paedophilia?
What is a Paedophile
The popular view of a paedophile is a man who wants to have sex with an underage girl. This is actually the wrong picture to paint. Paedophiles are not just men, there are women paedophiles too.
A paedophile is someone who is sexually attracted to pre pubescent children. The operative word here is pre pubescent.
The clothing retailers by sexualising children, are making children look older than they are. By padding the Bikini they are making pre pubescent girls look as if they are post puberty.
This by definition is making children unattractive to paedophiles. In claiming that the padded bikinis encouraged paedophiles, the Sun is wrong.
Lolita rides again
The sexualisation of children by clothing retailers does however risk encouraging a Lolita situation. Now that cannot be a good idea. Children must be allowed to be children, allowed to enjoy their childhood. Not forced to become adults before they are ready.
Retailers are being utterly irresponsible by sexualising children in order to increase sales. The responsibility however does not just lie with the managers of the retailers. The responsibility also lies with the shareholders, and ultimately with the parents who are stupid enough to buy such inappropriate clothes for their children.
Do not hold your breath though, nothing will change. When everyone is responsible for something then the reality is that no one will be held accountable. So nothing will change.
That said Primark has stopped selling the padded bikinis. Most likely because the story got tied up with the election.