Abercrombie and Fitch, feeling the pressure after a barrage of complaints and criticisms, has rethought its effort to market push-up bikini tops to pre-pubescent girls. The swimsuit in question was sold through Abercrombie Kids (referred to as “prep school for Abercrombie and Fitch” on their Facebook page), a brand that markets to kids aged 7 to 14.
A week after blog Sociological Images -- written by sociology professor Lisa Wade -- highlighted what it called the “sexualization of young girls,” Abercrombie Kids posted this statement on its Facebook page:
“We've re-categorized the Ashley swimsuit as padded,” the statement said. “We agree with those who say it is best ‘suited’ for girls age 12 and older.”
The bikini in question is no longer for sale on the Abercrombie Kids’ website.
A surprisingly heated debate arose within the comments section of the Facebook post as consumers of pre-pubescent bikinis debated the semantic differences of the store’s bikini descriptions.
In response to another commenter, a Facebook user identifying herself as Renee Johnson wrote, “I never said it was a push-up. I take issue with you saying it's simply lined when it's clearly padded.”
Most commenters declared that those who took issue with the bikini should simply not buy it for their child.
“I think some people are over reacting. If you don't want your child to wear it, don't buy it,” wrote a commenter identifying herself as Chrissy Martinez.
For Lisa Wade of Sociological Images however, the question is more serious. “How old is too young?” she asks.