Padded bras for girls in sizes 4X to 6X exist. Seriously. When an unnamed mom brought the creepy mini-lingerie to the Internet's attention with a Facebook post, many parents freaked, understandably.
One such mom, Amy Yates, told San Diego's News 7, "It's hard enough being a young girl developing early, maybe before you're emotionally ready for it and then dealing with seeing things like padded bras. That's sexualizing children way too early." She added, "My girls are very interested in things like origami and Pokémon at their age, they're nine. They' don't need to go to the store and see bras that are lacy and sexy and marketed toward them because they're going to think, 'Gee, is this what I'm supposed to be into right now?'"
I have a 5-year-old daughter who likes to play with Shopkins and is learning to ride a bike without training wheels. The very last thing I would ever want to enter her consciousness is a padded bra, in her size.
But there's another side, incredibly, to this issue. Dr. Lisa Johnston told the local station, "We definitely see it on the medical front that girls are going through puberty at a younger age. I think when kids are going through puberty, they're often very insecure and being proud of their body doesn't mean showing off their body."
Okay, so some kids develop early. But why do little girls need padding in their bras? Let's allow a statement from Hanes/Maidenform, one of the companies that makes this seemingly misguided undergarment, to explain: "The Maidenform bras developed for girls are not meant to 'enhance' a girl's figure. The 'padding' is thin stretch foam and is designed to provide modesty over figure enhancement."
So if the padding is meant to give a child—a child!—a little coverage, okay. But any attempt by a bra to sexualize a kindergartner, or first-grader, or second-grader, and so on, is just wrong. Girls grow up fast enough as it is! Why are we rushing it?
What's your take?
Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.