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Padded Bikini Tops for Tweens: Too Much Too Soon

By sandymaple |

no-bikini-sm250For many women, swimsuit shopping is a dreaded chore.  The often humiliating experience of trying on bathing suits under the harsh glow of dressing room lighting is enough to make you want to forget the pool and stay indoors.  But if buying a suit for yourself is bad, buying one for your young daughter can be worse.

The suits on offer for girls as young as six are often high cut, low cut and downright skimpy. You want her to dress her age.  Swimsuit designers want her to dress like a fully-grown woman.  And since your average 7-year-old girl doesn’t have what it takes to actually fill out a sexy little two-piece, designers are happy to help with strategically placed pads built right in to the bikini tops.

But just because a store wants to sell breast-enhancing bathing suits to little girls doesn’t mean parents are going to buy them.  In fact, a clothing chain in the UK is on the defensive after receiving numerous complaints about just such a bikini.

Primark, a discount clothing chain, has apologized for stocking sparkly bikinis with padded bra tops for kids as young as 7-years-old.  After outraged parents and child protection officials accused them of encouraging pedophelia, the store quickly pulled the offending items from the shelves and promised to donate profits from those already sold to a children’s charity.

While I think the outrage over this particular suit might be a little overblown (the padding looks more like thick lining, which is good, right?),  I agree with the sentiment. Young girls are being encouraged to grow up much too quickly in far too many ways.

But it’s going to take a lot more than the banishing of one padded bikini to reverse this trend.  After all, if there are profits to be donated from the sales, that means some parents bought them.  Until more parents close their wallets to the clothes, magazines, movies, toys, etc. that all contribute to the early sexualization of girls – absolutely nothing will change.

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9 thoughts on “Padded Bikini Tops for Tweens: Too Much Too Soon

  1. TC says:

    I totally agree that there needs to be more of a change. But, starting with banning one item is a good start, right? Plus the publicity. And, sadly, not all parents are the ones buying these items. Sometimes its another family member who caves in, or the tween themselves. I agree, though, that parents should pay more attention to what our daughters wear, and should teach respect for their bodies.

  2. julyfirefly says:

    Agreed. Can anyone think of an equivalent issue for boys? I feel like we are always worrying about sexualizing little girls too early but it never seems to come up with boys…

  3. Lisa says:

    So, are training bras no longer allowed either? When I was 7, I was wearing a one piece speedo. For girls in puberty and beyond, they don’t want their nipples to be seen, so a little padding can be helpful in cold water.
    The bikini was made in a style for tweens and in the size range for tweens. I’m pretty sure a preteen came up with an idea for those adhesive nipple covers because she didn’t want her breast buds showing. The tween size range just happens to go down to a 7/8. Some of the smaller 10 year olds can still fit in the size 7/8.
    I think it is just over reacting a little.

  4. [...] wholeheartedly agree that little girls are being encouraged to grow up too fast.  Padded bras, high heels and smooth legs are not appropriate for grade-schoolers. But I disagree somewhat on [...]

  5. [...] think most of us can agree that tweens shouldn’t be wearing padded bikinis. But what about little girls and babies? Is there a reason they should be wearing string bikinis? [...]

  6. Bugsy1969 says:

    I agree that any age under 14 to 15 is too young to be thinking about or using cosmetics as well as padded bras & bikinis. There are 2 reasons for this: #1 teens & in some cases 11 to 12 yrs of age have not learned how to control thier feelings without their feelings controlling them & #2 it teaches them that looks are more important than things like values, personality, ethics, morals , & how well they get along with others. I also think at this early age, the focus on personal appearnce can also lead to eating disorders & other mental health problems directly related to the need to look “hot” to others. It may also lead to problems with isolation from other because they feel they have to “make themselves up a certain way” in order to fit in with their peers & friends. I would not let a 13-14 yr old wear really tight fitting clothes or imitation animal skin anything. They are just too young!

  7. Francine says:

    These bikinis are teaching girls that age the wrong message! How will our daughters learn the true meaning of inner beauty? And then everybody will complain a couple years later when the same girls who wore those swimsuits are sexually active and/or pregnant at 15!

  8. lins says:

    Lisa, thank you.

  9. Jenny says:

    I’m twelve years old and I have a bikini. I really need a padded bra. It’s not my falt! Do you sickos want me walking around with my “stuff” hanging out??!?! I hope not, pedophiles and child molesters.

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