April 15, 2010 in Nation/World

U.K. shop stops sale of girls padded bikini

Robert Barr Associated Press
 

LONDON – A major British clothing retailer withdrew a children’s bathing suit from sale Wednesday after a front-page tabloid story criticized the store for selling padded bras on bikinis aimed at 7-year-olds.

The bikinis also angered children’s advocates and top candidates in Britain’s upcoming national election, who say it was yet another product that sexualizes children and encourages them to grow up too fast.

“It’s a shame it was ever put on the shelves in the first place,” said Justine Roberts, founder of the Mumsnet, a parenting Web site that attracts a large, vocal audience.

Primark, a popular discount chain, is not the first retailer to draw criticism for offering padded bras for kids younger than 10. But the outcry of protest is prompting a growing number of companies to pledge support for Mumsnet’s “Let Girls Be Girls” campaign.

The popular online forum said such clothing indoctrinates the idea that sexiness is the most important quality for girls and “encourages a culture in which children are viewed as sexually available.”

Announcing the immediate withdrawal of the product, Primark promised to donate any profits already earned from the item to a children’s charity. The product line, it added, “sells in relatively small quantities.”

The retailer acted within hours of a front-page article in The Sun denouncing the product as a “paedo (pedophile) bikini.”

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