06 May 2011

Wearing a bra but still playing with Barbie

THE adultisation* or sexualisation of children is not a new talking point in the media. Sexy ads, raunchy video clips, children’s beauty products and clothing have all copped flack in the past.  The one that always riles me up, however, is children’s padded bras. Yes, padded. Yes, I am serious!
A friend of the family, aged 12, was sporting a padded bra recently. Feeling uncomfortable asking her myself, I asked a family member if my suspicions were correct and they confirmed yes. Apparently she always wears them now. It wasn’t half obvious – I didn’t even need to look hard. No 12 year old has perfectly round and pert breasts.
I had breasts at 12, but they were more like a stack of fried eggs than breasts. Still, I was wearing bras but normally just sports bras. I remember padding my bra once with scrunchies, walking around sticking my chest out and feeling attractive and mature. I also remember my mum seeing me do so, going berserk, and confiscating the scrunchies (oh the horror!). I don’t think this was the start of my body confidence issues but, despite always being well-endowed I have never loved my body. Maybe this was the start of my issues here?
I also don’t remember bras being cool or interesting – they were seen as adult. Even training bras were something I kept private and thought were secret. Training bras now are revered amongst girls as young as 8 as being a cool fashion accessory. I know kids who can’t get through Kmart or Target without drooling over the bonds training bra and matching sets, much like me walking past a shoe store.
 Children’s bras have great rewards lingerie and underwear makers and retailers. The concept is to obtain brand awareness and loyalty young to ensure more profits from each consumer over a longer period of time.  Is this necessary? For retailers and underwear makers – yes. Are the bras necessary? Training bras....um...maybe??? But padded bras – surely not!
By allowing children to have padded bras are we starting body confidence issues early? Also, why would you provide your child with an item of clothing that draw attention away from their face? THEY ARE A CHILD! I’m not going to go down the path of writing about how padded bras (sexualisation of a minor) may encourage paedophilia besides suggesting you think about the possibility.
The potential positives about training bras and padded bras are twofold:
1.       Girls who do develop early won’t feel as awkward and isolated as they may have in the past (and may not incur as much bullying) if all girls their age are wearing bras also.

2.       Girls who develop late may not feel as upset, stressed or anxious as others will not know they are late bloomers if they are wearing training or padded bras.  
Despite the positive I still find a young girl wearing a padded bra highly disturbing and wrong.

What do you think about bras for young girls?

*not a real word but widely used when discussing this issue

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