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Stuffing It

Once again, Abercrombie & Fitch have stirred up the controversial pot.  This time,  offering a push-up padded bikini top to young girls in their Abercrombie Kids website earlier in the week.  (It should be noted that Abercrombie has since changed the description from that of “padded” and a “push-up”, to something far less suggestive.

As a mother of two tween girls, I was highly irritated that this company sees fit to further lure young girls into sexually suggestive type clothing.  Seriously?  A padded push-up bikini top?  For kids?

Like young girls need more incentive to appear more mature than their years.

And then I got to thinking.  And a memory popped into my pea brain.  When I was a young lass of no more than 9 or 10, I attended a little swimming party with some school friends.  From my little private CATHOLIC school.

The year was around 1970, and bikinis were all the rage.  My mother attempted to sew a gold lame’ bikini for me, but I talked her into getting me a store boughten bathing suit, due to ALL THE INAPPROPRIATE scratching caused by the lame’.

The suit that I chose was a lime green number.  And since I wanted to make a good impression at the function, I stuffed the little lime green bikini top with toilet paper at some private point during the party.  Evidently, I did not feel as though I were maturing as quickly as some of my other friends, and thought I would speed things up a little.

It wasn’t until we actually went for a swim that I remembered the toilet paper.  Horrified, I watched it all unwad and float to the surface in pieces.  And let me share with you, wet toilet paper is hard to hide.

I went home and admitting my deed to my mother, through heaving sobs of disgrace.  Her response surprised me, as she could barely contain her laughter.  Wiping tears from her eyes, she told me about an incident she suffered when she was a teenager, growing up in Mineral Wells, a very small Texas Baptist town.

She was not allowed to wear a bathing suit until she reached the age of about 17, when she graduated from high school.  She met up with a gaggle of her high school friends at Brazos River, which was the local swimming hole.  She wore a tasteful one piece number, but felt as though she needed a little “help” and added what she called “falsies” to the top of the bathing suit.  Falsies were, as she explained them, plastic padding created especially for swim wear in the 1950’s.

She went on to tell me that she was lounging in an innertube, talking to a boy in an adjacent innertube, when all of a sudden she saw her falsies float away from her, heading down river.

She chose to ignore them, and carried on with her conversation, hoping the boy did not notice.  I doubt very much that he noticed, since my mother was a very lively conversationalist.

I could have learned a thing or two about grace, diplomacy, and craftiness from my mother.

All this to say, it is nothing new for young girls to want to feel more mature than their years.  But we certainly don’t need a major clothing line making it easier for them.

I for one, want my girls to enjoy their angst filled youth for as long as possible.  At at the same time, I want to instill in them an appreciation for their inner beauty, instead of focussing on all that the media throws at them daily.

All while keeping a close eye on the extra quilted Charmin.

Opening this up for discussion. What do you think of padded push-up bikinis for young girls?  Harmless or not so much?

28 Responses to Stuffing It

  • It’s disgusting how the clothing manufacturers are aiming revealing and suggestive clothes at girls of such young ages. I’ve seen some horribly inappropriate things for the preschool set even!
    My 12 1/2 year old daughter is way behind her friends physically but she’s okay with it. She chose a sporty one-piece bathing suit last year and has already started looking at them again this year, even though her friends are all wearing bikinis. I have to say that I find it kind of offputtin to see an 8 or 9 year old in a bikini because I know that inside their bodies things are already starting to change and get prepared for the big “erruptions” that are to come!!

  • Not so much.

    I realize I’m coming at it from the Mom O’Boys side, but I don’t think sexualized clothing, as that which usually seems to come out of A & F does either gender a favor in the struggles related to these years.

    I remember my own top stuffing episode–cotton balls being my padding of choice. So I agree with you that girls feel that pressure all on their own.

    However, A & F’s continued push the envelope scenario regarding the clothes it offers girls not even in puberty, is not a virtuous act of helping them work out their angst. It is purely for profit. I sincerely hope that parents will vote with their wallets & not give A & F any margin in their campaign for oversexed clothes.

  • One word — RIDICULOUS!!!!

  • As the mother of four girls(and one son)-I find it offensive that this happened-unfortunately I am not suprised. My eldest is 12 and 1/2 and could care not a bit about clothing et all(for now) anyway. As I was(and am) still the same way that is great. However when I see what some of her friends are wearing it makes me so sad. Push up bras,low cut tank tops and shorts that are really glorified underwear. As far as bathing suits go the amount of bikinis that are scene at at the local water park are indecent. My six year old thinks that they are beautiful so I know I have a fight waiting to happen.

  • I’m irritated enough with the amount of padding that goes into girls’ bras these days. My 12 year old doesn’t need any help, tyvm, and if it’s beginning development that they’re supposedly worried about, let them put the modesty petals on the inside that some adult bras have.

    We don’t do mixed swimming, and wouldn’t touch a bikini with a 20 foot pole at any rate, but I find it irritating that it’s yet another thing that other people are having pushed at them, because that hurts them whether they know it or not. And I feel sad for them.

  • Not wanting to lose my groove, I didn’t read the above comments.

    Forget the padded, push up bikinis, I will not be letting my daughter wear a bikini period. She does not need to be showing off to boys what is not rightfully intended to be theirs. I’ve thrown away bikinis that were given to her. It was a size 18 month.

    And for those (again, I didn’t read the comments) who DO let their little little girls (1, 2, 3s) wear bikinis with the “it can’t hurt, they’re babies” when is it not okay and how will you change the rules when it ISN’T okay?

  • Well…sadly…retailers only sell what there is a market for 🙁

  • Seems I’m the odd mom out on this matter. Maybe it’s because we live in central FL where we swim from March to November, but I think bikinis are much more sensible. Do people really find abdomens and backs sexually suggestive? It is so much easier to change out of, or use the bathroom, when wearing a bikini rather than a one piece. Dee Dee has many times written of her “sausage casing” one piece bathing suit. They also dry faster, can be purchased as seperate pieces when one half is worn out or outgrown while the other still works, and can be mixed and matched. I’m not suggesting string bikini’s, those aren’t for swimming anyway. Don’t all girls suits conform to the actual shape of the girl’s body? Is having a skin tight colored piece of lycra really shielding your girl’s shape? Do any of you moms that are against bikini bathing suits have your girls in board shorts and blouson tops with sleeves? I don’t see anyone suggesting boys wear one piece chest covering suits.

    I’m sure A&F is loving the attention of this issue, they’ve never lauded themselves as a purveyor of quality or sensible clothing of any type. This matter is par for them, why expect anything else?

    • Melissa,

      I understand what you mean regarding two piece suits being easier. We went to Blizzard Beach in Orlando yesterday, and I made the decision to splurge on a two piece tankini type suit for me. Negotiating the wet one piece in the bathroom takes a herculean effort. 🙂

      Both of my girls wear tankini style suits that are modest AND PRACTICAL. They also wear long sleeved rash guards between the hours of 10 and 2 to ward off the harmful affects of too much sun exposure. Cailey gets sunburned just passing by a window.

      And board shorts are a wonderful thing, as they eliminate the wedgie while flying down a water slide. And frankly, the two piece suits that I witnessed yesterday were rather appalling. And that’s a whole other post…

      Thank you for your input fellow Floridian!!!!

  • I am against the push-up aspect, but the padding would actually make the top more modest, being that when wet, it would be less revealing, especially in a girl already developing some. Is it REALLY push-up? Or are people just saying that? What if there isn’t anything to push up?

  • As a fellow and native Floridian who has worn a one piece her entire life (48 years) it is simply a matter of what matters to you. Yes, it is a pain to pull them down to go to the bathroom but so what? Tankinis are fine but if one piece swimsuits were as sexy as bikinis then Sports Illustrated would have a swimsuit edition that includes modest one piece swimsuits. Let’s not forget either that there are very immodest one piece swimsuits as well. I find tankinis to be very modest and don’t consider them to be a true two piece suit. Bikinis are another subject as I have never seen a modest bikini. My daughter has a long torso which makes finding a one piece hard and I have let her buy a tankini. Camp requires a one piece however so that takes care of any argument on her part.

    As for your original question, I think padded bathing suit tops for young girls are awful. It is hard enough to find modest clothing once they go up to size 7. Let’s not add padded bikini tops to the equation!

  • Well, to make it even more interesting, what do you think about this? http://money.cnn.com/2002/05/22/news/companies/abercrombie/

  • My daughter, who is 11, doesn’t get the choice of whether to wear a bikini or not. I made that for her. No. No bikini. However, she has sported some very cute tankini/two piece suits during her short lifetime. The last time we went shopping for sausage casings, she chose a very nice one-piece suit because it was “more comfortable”. Typically, when we shop for swimsuits, I give her three or four choices that I find acceptable and let the final decision be hers.

  • No to bikini period and yes to a nice two piece. No to push up anything!! Thankfully my daughter ususally wore a daddy shirt or shorts over her baithsuit even in the water because she liked baggie clothes.

  • The first time I walked out in front of my father in a bikini, he asked, “And what color turtleneck will you be wearing with that little outfit?” Which ended any talk of my wearing a two-piece until I was in college.

    We have two boys, so we’re pretty lucky in the whole clothes/swimwear area. But I have friends with tween daughters and I know what a struggle it is to find decent things for girls to wear. If an article of clothing isn’t padded, it seems like it has something like “juicy-licious” written across it.

    I have nothing of any significance to add to the discussion, obviously. But I do feel for moms of young girls, especially when it comes to balancing decency with what is in-style, as the two are not often aligned.

  • I don’t mind some two pieces. Some are more modest, really, than one pieces. However, I have a big problem with teaching girls that their bodies need help via slimming panels or pushups or padded extras. My daughter can wear modest two pieces such as tankinis. No triangle tops or anything that makes me cringe. She is a little girl and I want her to enjoy being a little girl.

  • We do not allow bikinis to be worn in our home either. I totally agree with Tara’s comment above. I have also thrown away bikinis that were given to my daughter when she was young. If I allowed it when she was a baby, how will I say no when the is 15,16, or 17? I believe in having ongoing conversations about modesty from a early age.

    Our daughter may choose between a one piece, or a modest tankini. She often pairs these up with a rash guard t-shirt and / or board shorts. If we will be out in public the rash guard & board shorts are the choice.

    Also, since we live in FL (aka sun cancer USA), we have equal opportunity coverage. Our son also wears a rash guard t-shirt with his swim trunks.

  • Bikinis are not an option for my 12 and 14 yr old daughters. Question for Dee Dee’s readers: Where are you finding one pieces? We’re having a terrible time finding them this season. Tankinis are fine for home, but we need one pieces for camp.

    • Karen, we found some nice ones at Justice. Sports Authority usually carries them and I saw some at Target.

      • Karen, Lands End and CWD both have really cute looking one pieces. A bit more $$ perhaps, but if she is going to camp and doing a lot of swimming, one that is better made is probably worth it!

  • The padded bras don’t bother me so much as the bottoms that barely cover up anything. But I think society lets them grow up too early. My daughter, who is now 23, has never had much up top, and like all girls was self conscious about it. The problem is, too many retailers and, sadly, moms, are more worried about how sexy the girls look rather than boost their self esteem.

  • I would love to be able to say I was one of those girls who stuffed her bra/swim top. But alas I never did. I was ONE OF THOSE GIRLS who developed quicker than others. Things have evened out now but back then, it brought me much angst. I remember wearing a cute tri color bikini to the swimming pool and another girl had on the same one and I thought she looked so much better in it. Now I would give anything to have that body back to even where a bikini! =)

  • A resounding NO to bikinis in our house too. I found my daughter a cute little swim skirt (It was actually a ‘small’ ladies size…which I altered at the waist to fit her. The part under the skirt…panty part…was a bit loose, but gives her a bit to grow into, since the skirt covers it, it doesn’t have to be ‘skin tight’.) She is almost 11. She wears it with a sun top and finds this quite comfortable! We could not find a tankini top sold alone, but would have also taken that option if it was decent. If I find decent bathing suits in larger sizes, I collect/buy them for the future!

    I went with a tankini style suit myself when I was talking my toddlers to the bathroom and didn’t want to give them an eyeful of my top section when I had to disrobe to go to the bathroom with them in the stall. The tankini allowed me to go discretely with them standing there while keeping my top on. I continue to wear one because I can buy separate tops and cute ‘skirts’ to match and don’t feel too exposed at the beach/pool. I also feel they are more flattering for the middle aged woman who needs a bit more coverage in the ‘problem areas’!

    We surely need to set the example for our daughters in what we wear. So far my daughter has had no problem following my lead. I pray that continues. I am also very aware of my almost 13 year old boy, and what he is going to have to look at at the beach! How are boys supposed to have self-control with the girls/women flaunting their ‘stuff’?

  • Can I ask something without being seen as confrontational, because I don’t mean to be – it truly baffles me. Those of you who go to the beach, pool, etc., how do you reconcile that with living a Christian life? I know it’s fun, but not only do you have to worry about the presentation of yourself and your children, but obviously you have to worry about what you and yours are seeing while there. Even if our family went in neck to ankle suits, nobody else would, and my kids (and spouse!) would be looking at that the whole time. I just can’t see how it’s appropriate from any angle.

    Again, not trying to be preachy, it’s just something I’ve wondered about.

    • Melanie,
      Beach or pool time can be used to discuss and teach children what is modest, and what family values we have. “Unchristian” things are all around us, and unless we lock ourselves in our homes, have no tv and order delivery every night for dinner we are exposed to things that are unwholesome. There is nothing wrong with going to the beach or the pool. You can show your children how to set the example. Show them that it’s ok to be different & teach them that those who respect themselves aren’t interested in looking like a hoochie. I love that my children are honestly disgusted by those who are not modest!

    • Melanie,

      I agree with Miss P. Of course it helps that our family is fortunate enough to have our own pool and live in an area of Florida that the average age of the beach population is 65. That said, my kids must get out in the world sometime. One day they will be adults and have to navigate this world without me, looking to God and the Bible as their guide.

      While there are situations that I feel we/they should avoid, they cannot lock themselves away in their home. Simply standing in line at Wal-Mart exposes them to foul language. I try to let them know why it is wrong and why we should behave differently as Christians.

      The same applies to beaches and such. I would use any inappropriately clad individual(s) as a conversation starter to discuss why we believe as we do and why our way is not the worlds way. It is one thing to tell a child they cannot do something, but if they do not understand (and hopefully agree with) the reasons why, you can be sure they will revolt at their first opportunity.

  • You had me at ‘bikini’. My 3 girls have never (and will never) be allowed to wear one. Did I when I was a teenager? Of course, but I was stupid and didn’t have the close supervision my girls do 🙂 It’s tankinis for our family. However, living up here in the frosty north of Chicagland, we only get to put on our swimsuits around twice a year when the temp actually goes above freezing 😉

  • I grew up in Miami and my kids are growing up in South Florida too. I wore bikinis as a kid, and I usually wear one now in my own backyard (not to the beach, though, since 40 is NOT the new 20, no matter how much you hear that, haha!).

    Anyway, I don’t have a problem with bikinis. And in South Florida, I have to say, bikinis look downright modest compared to the g-strings, etc that are worn at the beaches here! I mean, you’re at the beach, you expect to see people in bathing suits. I was raised Baptist, and we were always forbidden from wearing 2-pieces. I always thought that was understandable at church functions but outside the raging hormones of teen trips, I didn’t think it was such a big deal.

    Anyway, my daughter is slim and has a long torso, so I have always had a VERY hard time finding one-pieces that fit her. She is five now and has mostly worn two-pieces so far. We are in the pool almost every day for half the year, so we wear a LOT of bathing suits, and she has everything from 2-pieces and tankinis to board shorts and long sleeved rash guards. I wouldn’t buy her a real, skimpy “bikini”, but there are so many other cute options that have 2 pieces…

    My son wears rash guards too. I actually prefer those for both kids if we’re out for any length of time because it’s easier not to have to keep reapplying sunscreen all day. And if we’re at a water park, we ALL wear shirts and shorts, because – seriously – going up a staircase to get to the waterslide – who wants to look at anyone’s half-naked rear end from that angle??!!

    As for clothing, that is more the area where I am a bit frustrated. I feel like now that we are going from “toddler’ clothes to “kid” clothes, it suddenly jumps from “cute” to “hoochie mama”, with not really that much in between. I mean, I am already planning to shop at Gymboree until she’s 12, because all those other stores are full of stuff like you’re talking about, but then what?

    Maybe she can graduate from toddler straight to Chico’s??