With an increase in the number of designer outfits for kids and popular brands launching cosmetic range for children as young as seven, the world has been debating the issue of sexualisation of kids’ clothes and accessories for over a period now. The latest to add to this controversy is a new Bikini line introduced by American actor and model Elizabeth Hurley. These bikinis for young girls between the age group of eight to 13 is creating huge ripples in the global market. While Hurley calls her new line ‘fun’, parents in UK have labelled it as inappropriate and disturbing and are accusing it of sexualising little girls.
“It is very disturbing to see some inappropriate items in this swimwear range,” Claude Knight, the director of the charity Kidscape told the Daily Mail. Siobhan Freegard, founder of the community Netmums adds that she knows “a number of mothers who are concerned about the sexualisation of their children and would be horrified by their daughters dressing like mini-strippers.”
While social experts world over are criticising this new trend, experts at home too feel that it’s time we put a check on such things. Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research, says, “Sadly, all the market driven things are making kids appear like sex objects. There is a constant pressure on kids as young as eight or ten to look a certain way. There is a very high risk involved in this as it sometimes also leads to child pornography. With such things getting highlighted in the market, kids are losing their innocence and there is a standardisation of body and looks. This can have adverse effects on a child’s psychology.”
Experts also believe that it’s the parents who are more at fault than the kids. Aruna Broota, clinical psychologist, adds, “It’s a chain of actions and parents are to be equally blamed for this. They love flaunting their kids and in regard to this, they buy them all kinds of products that are not meant for them. Young girls have their own makeup kits which is hard to believe. Hurley launched such a line because she saw a huge business potential here. Such over exposure at an early age can lead to childhood depression and metal anxiety.”
A photo shoot that involved girls as young as ten years old in seductive poses for the Paris issue of fashion magazine Vogue created a lot of controversy last year. Young girls were clicked in a number of sexually charged poses. One such showed a girl in a skintight dress, laying on her stomach atop a tiger skin rug, with stiletto-clad feet kicked up behind her.