the sexualization & objectification of young teens

Company Marketing Thongs To Young Girls

An Ohio-based retailer that is no stranger to controversy is stealing the spotlight once again.

NewsChannel5 reported that Abercrombie and Fitch is under fire for marketing sexy underwear for kids.

The company is making the line, which includes thongs, for girls ages 10 to 14.

A company spokesperson said that the underwear is meant to be lighthearted and fun.

But that’s not how many people see it.

“You know, I still played with dolls at 12, and I wouldn’t have thong underwear on at 12,” said Kelly Duffelmeyer, a preschool teacher.

“Abercrombie and Fitch is selling clothes to make children sexually stimulating to adults,” said Brian Camenker of the Parents’ Rights Coalition. “thongs in children’s sizes with the sayings ‘sexy’ & ‘eye candy’ on them is totally inappropriate”

Abercrombie’s corporate headquarters said that the company has received only two formal complaints about the underwear.

Is this no big deal? Or is this inappropriate?

Would you allow your children to wear thong panties? Should the company stop selling this line? Or is it their choice to make whatever clothing they want?

Is this just one more sign of a larger issue at hand?

Share your thoughts.

Geez Louise, I get the feeling Abercrombie and Fitch is going to need a new Marketing Director, I’d better polish up my resume.

On the OP, it’s a disturbing trend, but hardly restricted to A&F. As usual, I’m going to blame the parents, if they wouldn’t buy it, the stores would stop selling it.

When I was in grade school, a “thong” was a type of sandal that separated your toes.

Do you have La Senza Girl stores in the States? Disgusting. I never thought that that stuff was being promoted to make kids sexually attractive to adults, though it makes sense. Yuck. Lolita, anyone?
I would never let my 10-year-old kid wear provocative clothing (that is, when I have kids). I don’t care if that makes me a mean Mommy.

I would be interested in knowing how much of this stuff sells. I am disturbed by what occupies the attention of our youth. They seem to be drawn toward media images that are especially sexual and or violent. Many of them are totally captivated by these concerns. Why? And is it me or were we, (my generation) being told the same during our youthful years?

Why? Because sexy = powerful, peer acceptance, bragging rights, etc… And young adolescents know this.

I think that the whole kiddy thong thing is a part of a general move towards, as you put it, the sexualization of young teens. For awhile, it’s manifested itself in clothing; I guess I’m not particularly surprised that it’s happening with underwear now.

Why are youg teens sexualized? Oh, I don’t know…maybe because they’re, you know, sexual??

These products aren’t meant to make the people wearing them look sexy to adults, they’re just meant to make them look sexy period. Who is looking is beside the point. I would assume that a 12 year old girl wearing such underwear wants to look sexy for either herself or a 12 year old boy.

The pre-school teacher quoted in the article who still played with dolls at age 12 probably does not represent your average 12 year old.

I don’t see anything inherently wrong with it. If I were a parent of such a child, I might set some limits, but that would be my right as a parent. I won’t condemn the companies that manufacture such clothing for encouraging kids to be sexual. Instead, I’d say that the companies are resonding to a demand among young teens who see themselves as sexual and wish to express that feeling.

As I said in the other thread, young teens, my eye. These are being marketed in sizes from medium on up. Both my daughters were out of children’s sizes by the time they were in junior high. The target market for these is about 7 to 11 or 12. I would expect a company that sells children’s clothes to know what age groups their clothing fits. And if these are being made in children’s sizes, they are being made for children.

I’d like to know who designs these things-Chester the Molester?

Probably the same guy who came up with the Chinese parody shirts last month… :wink:

Do you feel it’s acceptable for 12 year olds to be having sex? Do you feel they are equiped to deal with the emotional and physical consequences and are well informed?

So if young teens (pre-high school students) want to express themselves as sexual then that means it’s ok? I don’t put responsibility on the kids, I say it’s up to the parents (as you say) and the other adults in our society (owners of A&F, for example) to make sure kids don’t do whatever they want. That’s what raising children and parenting is all about. But it sure makes it tough when not only is a kid bombarded by sexual and sexy images through the TV and magazines, but she/he is also provided with the clothing and accoutrements to make them the sexual objects that the 20-somethings in MTV videos so definitely are.

[analogy]
You can’t throw a family into a pool with sharks and blame the parents if the kids get eaten.
[/analogy]

I remember when you had to go into an adult novelty store to buy underwear with “The Whopper” written on the front. But the times, they are a-changin’.

But when was the last time you saw a young teen going to the store to spend his/her allowance on clothing? When I was a teen, my parent had to drag me kicking & screaming to the department store to do any clothes shopping. And how does looking sexy equate to having sex? I’ll admin that where teens are concerned, maybe it’s not a HUGE leap, but it does not necessarily follow.

Also I don’t get how thong underwear makes anybody look more sexually appealing unless they’ve already stripped off their clothes. And if two people (regardless of their age) have already stripped off their clothes, do you think it’s going to matter much that one or both are wearing a thong?

What about toy companies that make “little miss makeup kits”?

I will admin that I am uncomfortable with the “eye candy” stuff, but that hardly makes A&F the sharks that Enowe makes them out to be.

[sub]Please ignore the previous post in favor of this one. I hit the enter key without realizing that the “submit reply” button was selected.[/sub]

I remember when you had to go into an adult novelty store to buy underwear with “The Whopper” written on the front. But the times, they are a-changin’.

But when was the last time you saw a young teen going to the store to spend his/her allowance on clothing? When I was a teen, my parent had to drag me kicking & screaming to the department store to do any clothes shopping. And how does looking sexy equate to having sex? I’ll admin that where teens are concerned, maybe it’s not a HUGE leap, but it does not necessarily follow.

Also I don’t get how thong underwear makes anybody look more sexually appealing unless they’ve already stripped off their clothes. And if two people (regardless of their age) have already stripped off their clothes, do you think it’s going to matter much that one or both are wearing a thong?

What about toy companies that make “little miss makeup kits”? We don’t get our panties in a bunch over 12 year old girls playing with lipstick or putting on false fingernails, but it’s pretty clear that they’re pretty-ing themselves up for their 12 year old boyfriends. I don’t think anybody is going to make the leap that this will lead to minors having sex.

I will admin that I am uncomfortable with the “eye candy” stuff, but that hardly makes A&F the sharks that Enowe makes them out to be.

Well, I’ll admit that analogy was a stretch (hence the [analogy] tag… it should have been a [weak analogy] tag).

The point about makeup is well taken, but the thing is… thong underwear is suppoed to be sexually appealing because it draws attention specifically towards one’s unmentionables. You say,

The point of thong underwear (not all the time I know, but in terms of it being “sexy”) is to wear low riding pants and/or the underwear high on your hips, so that people behind you have a good look at the top portion of your arse. Also, bending over reveals even more.

If I had a twelve year old, there’s no way I’d want her to be intentionally showing her ass to anyone for the purpose of being sexually attractive.

My 2 cents:

Kids are training to be adults. Hence kids tend to imitate and paraphrase adult behavior. Clothes start playing an important part in that behavior in the lower teens. Sexuality is an inherent part of us from day 1 of our lives. Around the age of ten or so we start becoming aware of it and at puberty we start entertaining the idea of sexual identity. I see nothing harmful in letting children live this out as long as it is on their own terms and in an informed and openminded environment. Look to Scandinavia as an example. The sex education mentality is rigorously open minded and candid starting already in grade 3 or 4. Exploring sexual identity and sexuality is encouraged within the framework of informed debate with peers and adults. Scandinavia has one of the lowest teen pregnancy levels in the world. Sexual initiation is not earlier, but rather later in the teens, with girls having first intercourse on average at 17 and boys at 18. Incidentally fashion awareness is an inherent almost obsessive part of pop culture especially in Sweden and dressing sexy and provocative is the norm even amongst youngsters in mid school age.

It’s not what the kids do with it that could be wrong but what some adults do with it. The fact that there are some sexually deviant sickos out there shouldn’t be allowed to inhibit the normal maturation process of every child. That problem has to be solved in other ways than denying kids the right to play grown ups in preparation for the damned difficult task it is to actually be one. Come to think about it, couldn’t overt suppression of natural sexual behavior in early age even be a contributing factor to a deviant behavior at adult age?

Sparc

I wear a thong when I don’t want unsightly pantylines. I don’t wear them to feal sexy. I’m willing to concede, though, that I may be in the minority here.

I don’t have any daughters, but if I did, I don’t think I’d have a problem with my sixteen year old wearing a thong. I may, however, have a problem with my ten year old wearing one. What on earth would a ten year old be wearing that may show pantylines?

You says nobody sees it, but here’s the thing: girls wear low-cut jeans and shirts that are a size or two too small these days, so that any time they bend over or crouch, you can see their panties. I saw a girl, maybe 12 or 13, dressed like that in the library the other day. She had pink panties on. It seems like she intended for everyone in the world to know that fact, as she was in a “catcher” crouch, checking out some books on the bottom shelf. I just had to move to another part of the library, so some soccer mom wouldn’t accuse me of being a perv, but it’s clear that she intended for those panties to be seen. And they were sexy panties, too, not just your run-of-the-mill underwear.

This kind of stuff makes me angry because an older guy (19) like me will get labelled a perv for noticing this stuff and staring at it when it’s right in front of my face, but yet corporations are making millions of dollars selling underwear like that to underage girls, and every message society sends them says it’s okay to wear it and flaunt it.

What you need to ask yourself, or should I say the people who thought up the idea to sell this stuff.

"Would I let my 10 year old daughter wear this while she’s around a bunch of drunken old men?

Be it these girls won’t actually be around a bunch of drunken old men while wearing a thong that says “eye candy”, or whatever but still. I would never let my daughter (if I had one) wear anything that promotes sexuality when they’re that young. It’s just asking for potential problems.

Yes, I think the larger issue is - A&F sucks.

I expect that they will get more than the only 2 complaints they so far claim to have. They will then pull the offending items off the shelves, “conveniently” forgetting to tell the managers of the individual stores right away, just like with the asian shirts. Then there will be a run on the stores to snap up all the discontinued merchandise. Get ready to see “Rare sexy children’s underwear - L@@k!” on eBay.

Gosh, read the first half of this article:

http://www.purrmag.com/Purr22/rage.htm

Comments?

RK