Parents Angered By Abercrombie’s Push-Up Swimsuit For Girls

Abercrombie and Fitch is well-known for promoting highly sexualized clothes to teenagers, and for that reason, they’re no stranger to controversy.  But they drew even more fire than usual from parents last week when their “Ashley” bikini top was posted online.  In the original product description, which has since been updated, the girls’ swimsuit top was marketed as “padded” and a “push-up.”  The notion that young girls would need a padded bikini top before they were even in training bras was understandably offensive to parents and educators alike.

Gail Dines, a sociology professor, said that the top would encourage girls to think of themselves “in a sexual way” before they were ready.  A blogger, Rebecca Odes, wrote on Babble, “Playing at sexy is an inevitable and important part of growing up. But there’s a difference between exploring these ideas on your own and having them sold to you in a children’s catalog.”

The problem comes when girls are taught, through products like these, that to be sexy, they have to alter their bodies.  The product does also objectify young girls in a more disturbing way than a padded bikini top for adult women, although this still sends problematic messages about the norms to which women’s bodies are expected to conform.  What seems distressing, also, is that the company hasn’t learned from past mistakes – Abercrombie was accused of sexualizing young girls back in 2002 when it marketed a line of thong underwear in children’s sizes with “eye candy” and “wink wink” printed on the front.

Abercrombie has since toned down its product description, and its swift response is, in some ways, heartening.  It shows that parent protests can have an impact on big corporations, which emphasizes the need for more bursts of outrage over offensive products.  The question, of course, is whether they’ll do it again – after all, they don’t have a good track record.

Photo from Flickr.


Alexandra S.
Alexandra S5 years ago

disturbing that 7% have voted yes on this poll

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence6 years ago

Am certainly glad that parents are paying attention to what their children are buying and wearing!

Ryder W.
Past Member 6 years ago


Susan T.
Susan T6 years ago

Totally inappropriate. Children need to have a childhood and not be made over to be little sex kittens. If a particular child is slow in developing and getting teased her Mom can help her shop for a bra that will make her seem a little bigger. Ultimately though, its an opportunity for a child to accept herself the way she is, because her breasts may be too small this year, but next year her hips may be too big or she's too fat etc etc. This is how really unhealthy body fixations begin.

Nancy V.

MOMS..........just don't buy the clothes at all...........any presents that are given can be tossed out or returned......telling the 'gifter' that your daughter is too young to wear that type of clothing, thank you anyway!! I see WAY TOO MANY little girls dressed up like sluts walking along with their Moms. What's wrong with those Moms anyway....brains must be up where the sun don't shine as they don't realize the harm they are doing their 'little girls'.....

yalonda d.
yalonda D6 years ago

This is a company that can not make clothes that we want to buy so they have to sensationalize
Go into their stores and make an in person complaint, tell the salesperson you want to speak to the manager.
Some parents should not be parents and don't have the WISDOM to decide how this will affect a girls view of herself. We should never, I repeat, NEVER, lead a child to think their value is in the way they look.
We are teased in school for freckles and pimples and being short or skinny or fat, or poor or...
every one of us. This is not a sound argument as some have foolishly written.
With 3 out of 5 girls suffering from sexual abuse we must take a look at those that want to sexualize children or those that do not see a problem here.

Janine H.
Janine H6 years ago

Some companies and some people are so pervert. Don't they care for children, for children's rights, that they have to be save, save from those perversions?! Don't they have children or some in their families? Do they want that something terrible should happen to children?!

This is so terrible. Always when i hear about terrible things it makes med sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Lindsay S.
Lindsay S6 years ago

Jane R:
My daughter is friends with fourteen and fifteen year old girld who are just tiny... they still shop at abercrombie kids for a lot of their clothes. You say there is nothing there but sometimes there is. Also kids get made fun of at school for being "flat" sure all of you remember those days. (maybe you wernt being made fun of but you saw it happen.) So i see nothing sexual about it. they're nnot trying to make theyre brests bigger for guys to notice them there doing it because they want to feel comforable in theyre own skin..

Leigh E:
The kind of world we WOULD live in... NEWS FLASH were alredy there!!!!! and again i see nothing sexual with this. beleive me if these kids want to be "sexual" theyre gonna be with or with out "push up swim wear" and I'M the ROOT of this problem.... the kids that are bullying these kids are! I have a life, a wondrful life! unlike you "sensable people" fighting swin wear if you wanna protest something protest something bigger

Leigh E.
Leigh EVERETT6 years ago

Lindsay S

Oh I agree. Actually I was thinking of marketing Sex Toys for 5 year old girls. What do you think?

YOU are at the root of this type of problem because if I was being serious you would probably buy them. Get a life, if sensible people didn't exist to prevent these 'so called rights' you are talking about then I couldn't begin to imagine what kind of world we would live in. It's already bad enough.

jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago

Please explain to me why a young child needs a push up bra when there is nothing there yet? Perhaps we should aim for two year olds with hour glass figures. How ridiculous!