Sexually suggestive kids clothing — Wait, What?

Youth Specialties
March 22nd, 2011

Let's start off with 3 quick facts.

  1. I'm not prude. I've never had a bathing suit rule in my youth group. I've actually never had a clothing rule of any kind in nearly 15 years of youth ministry.
  2. I live in Southern California. Clothing-wise, it's the most laid back place I've ever lived. At almost any church on Sunday morning it is perfectly acceptable to wear a t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops. At all but the most posh restaurants you can get away with beach attire.
  3. In my own house, we couldn't be less fashion forward, so that plays into my reaction. My kids go to a school that requires uniforms and as a result we buy almost no children's clothing. Overall, our families wardrobe consists mostly of hand-me-downs, thrift store scores, and the occasional nice outfit for events like Easter.

Maybe these factors are why I've been disgusted with a trend we've noticed at the mall, at Target, and on TV: Sexy clothes for little girls. Kid-magnet chains, including Limited Too and Abercrombie Kids, as well as discount stores such as Target are focusing their marketing efforts on a much younger demographic, luring young girls into ensembles that in years past had been reserved for their teenage sisters.

Bikinis for babies?

GapKids recently featured a white, crocheted string bikini you'd likely see Anna Kournikova wearing on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

The bikini was for a 12-month-old.Racks at Target held several bathing suits perfect for a Hawaiian Tropic bikini competition. The crocheted and camouflage-designed suits started at size 4 in the little girls' section. Read the rest of the article

Wait. Wha-aat? Bikinis for toddlers? Someone would put their baby in a bikini? Why? How did we get to a place where “sexy” and “toddler” are in the same sentence without talking about an arrest warrant?

I'm the father of a 9 year old girl. She's thinks boys are disgusting. She gags when people kiss on TV. In other words, she is a normal 4th grader.

When I hand her a Target gift card and invite her to pick out clothes she picks clothes because they are purple and easy to play in. Phrases like “Do I look hot in this?” Or “Is this sexy?” aren't even in her vocabulary. For a lot of reasons I'm hope this phase in her cognitive development lasts a few more years.

Bikinis for babies? Blech. Neither of us are ready.

What does this have to do with youth ministry? Get ready for the Bratz Pack!

Youth Specialties

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.