Last week, both Sociological Images and Jezebel reported on the new Kotex Tween spin-off, a line of pads and panty liners for girls eight and up. I like the idea of demystifying menstruation, even if that involves glitter and sparkles. It’s a fact that girls are getting their first periods younger and younger, and creating products for them is only responding to this trend, not encouraging it (I’m not sure if a biological process can even be “encouraged.”)
So when I spotted these bras (right) in the kids section at Marshalls (let me clarify that by “kids section” I do not mean “juniors” or “teen,” but barbie/plastic puzzles/stuffed animals kids) I thought the Kotex logic might apply. Girls are developing breasts younger and younger, and products should be designed to ease the awkward transition for eight- and nine-year-olds.
Then I changed my mind. Here’s why: period products aren’t sexualized, but bras are. These tween products are decked out with lace trim, bows and padding. They are essentially just mini-versions of grown-up bras. Grown-up bras are, courtesy of Victoria’s Secret and all her copycat offshoots, designed for sex appeal. Sex appeal is all well and good if you’re an adult, but not when you’re nine.
But come on. If you’re eight and you need padding in your bra…. you don’t need a bra! Eight-year-olds should not want bigger boobs. And if they do (oh, I don’t know, because the BratzPack tells them they should), parents need to step in big time.
When I was in fifth grade playing at recess, I noticed on the next swing over another girl in my class had started wearing a bra. It was a white sports bra, and I knew because I could just see the outline through her t-shirt. She was playing on the swings, leaping off the seat at the pinnacle of its arc and landing gracefully in the grass.
When you’re 8, that’s what a bra is far; it’s an enabling device, letting you keep having kid fun even when you’re body is skipping ahead. If you want to print hearts on a training bra to make it more appealing to little girls, fine. But leave out the goddamn padding and VS push-up power. They’re eight.
Related Post: Buying toys for girls is so freaking challenging. Here’s a guide.
Related Post: And here’s a mom who thinks girls dress like prostitutes because she boned too many dudes at Woodstock.