Push-up bikinis for tweens

Abercrombie Kids is marketing push-up bikini tops for tweens. Being that the clothing company makes clothes for ages 7-14, it has caused quite the uproar among parents of 7 year olds who don’t have much there to actually push-up – and are too young to be putting their chest out there front and center anyways. But never fear. Being that the smallest size is for girls 56 to 58 inches tall with a 27.5 to 28.5 bust, the tops are actually too big for a 7 year old, and are more for girls  who are 11 or 12 year old or older.

But even that raises some eyebrows. 12 years olds in a push-up bikini? Are we allowing our tweens to be oversexualized too early?

A mom sent me an article the other day regarding this very issue, about how tops have gotten more lowcut and skirts have raised the hem – and how it is OUR cash that is paying for our teens and tweens to dress a lot more promiscuously than should be appropriate.

As for the girls themselves, if you ask them why they dress the way they do, they’ll say (roughly) the same things I said to my mother: “What’s the big deal?” “But it’s the style.” “Could you be any more out of it?” What teenage girl doesn’t want to be attractive, sought-after and popular?
And what mom doesn’t want to help that cause? In my own case, when I see my daughter in drop-dead gorgeous mode, I experience something akin to a thrill—especially since I myself am somewhat past the age to turn heads.
(Read more HERE.)

But Jeanne Sager of Café Stir has a different take on what a push-up bikini top is for a tween. It’s less about being oversexualized and more about giving a tween confidence. For those in the “barely there” club, a little extra oomph when all your peers are boasting mini-cleavage on the beach can be the difference between hiding on a towel covered by a shirt or running around in a swimsuit without worries of being compared to a pancake.

A little push-up can go a long way toward making them feel like their top won’t fall off on the beach (because there’s nothing to HOLD IT THERE). So is it sexualization to make kids comfortable? Not really.

A commenter agreed with Jeanne, giving her own experience:

“…I about said I wouldn’t on a 12 year old then i stopped and remembered what it was like for me at 12 with really no chest to speak of and being horribly self conscious about it. I would have done anything to add a couple extra inches onto my bust just to look normal. However for those parents who are about to yell at you they just need to stop and remember that they are the parent and all they have to do is just not buy it if they feel that strongly about it.”

For me, I remember doing everything I could at the age of 12 to hide my body on the beach.  Bikini?  Uh, no thank you.  It wasn’t that I was overdeveloped or underdeveloped, it was that showing that much skin when I was accustomed to hiding under jeans and a baggy sweatshirt was mortifying.  And at 13, my own daughter has yet to graduate from her comfy choice of swim trunks to a regular bathing suit.  And we’re not alone in this.  Plenty of girls are less comfortable in the string bikinis with a slight push-up that Abercrombie has on their racks, and more comfortable in something a little less revealing. 

And knowing all that, it actually makes me get the whole “confidence in a push-up” thing.  And I can’t say that I would turn my daughter away if she wanted to wear a bikini to the beach that allowed her to move around a bit more comfortably, escaping the awkwardness that goes along with the age – at least for a little while.  But at the same time, that very concept makes me cringe a little….because it also seems that the message we are giving girls is that their confidence lies in the size of their breasts, and that being just 12 isn’t good enough.

What do you think? Are we allowing our tweens to grow up too fast, encouraging them to find their sexuality sooner than ever? Or is a push-up bikini top for a 12 year old more about allowing an older tween to feel more confident in a body they normally feel awkward in?

4 thoughts on “Push-up bikinis for tweens

Add yours

  1. This subject has been of concern to me for years, even though I wasn’t a mom and still waiting for my first baby (boy) next month… Seeing the clothing that is offered to young girls is shocking. And I’ve given the bikini subject much thought. I’ve planned when and if I have girls some day to set an age where they can start wearing bikinis… I don’t plan on making it a big deal, but always direct them towards a one piece in the stores. I realize they could end up borrowing them from friends and changing into them after they leave the house, etc. I know I can’t control kids, but I won’t buy them a bikini. I do not think young girls should feel “sexy” too early. They all start mirroring what they see on television way too young, and women wearing bikinis in the media are very sexy. There is no reason to promote that concept in young girls. I don’t care if my kids are considered uncool in school… I mean I will do what I can to prevent it or support them through it… but those are the kids that focus more on their studies and become very successful in life after high school. They tend to start dating during or after college and get their lives more set up in the long run. From what I’ve observed in those around me anyway. I want them to be confident through other means.

  2. Yes this is too much! Why are you shopping at Abercrombie anyway? That store is too expensive and gives the wrong message to our young girls and boys. You might ask…what message? Check out their advertising and you’ll see.

    This overly sexualized dressing starts too young and continues though the teen years. The end result is the “popular” girls are world-weary at age 17, having “been there and done that” when they were far too young. I have observed this evolution and it’s not pretty.

    Be strong, parents. You have the Ways and the Means, and you are in charge!

  3. One thing to consider – bikinis are more practical. Easier to go to the bathroom in, easier to get on and off, etc. So yes I allow my daughter (who is 13) to wear a bikini. She has always worn them. Not to look sexy but because she likes them and they are more functional (for her anyway). She is only now just becoming aware of how she looks in a bikini. I’m sorry but there is nothing sexy about a 7 year old in a bikini. It’s cute. As far as the Abercrombie & Fitch swimsuits go – well I’d have to see them and see how they are different from a regular bikini but I try never to go into that store anyhow. Gives me a headache. Literally with that stupid cologne smell.

  4. Two weeks ago my only child , a girl turned 12. We had a wonderful fun filled weekend, including getting to swim in a heated pool and relax in a hot tub. I would have to say it almost took away the stress left over from trying to find her a new swimsuit that would provide adequate coverage, fit right and of course look cute. Both my daughter and I are tall and heavyset. but have long torsos. Trying to find a suit that simply covered her chest was hard enough, im grateful that i didnt have to try and find one that would give her a “boost” as well. However if they were somewhat reasonably priced, i would definately consider buying her one.. and for the reasons said above, HER COMFORT, not her “sexuality”. For those struggling with this new idea of bikini wear, instead of asking your child if you can trust her to wear something similar to this, ask yourself if you trust your skills and abilities as a parent enough to let her wear something that you as a child wouldnt have been able to.. another thing to think of is they remain innocent until they are shown otherwise and taught the potential for things to not be innocent.. best wishes for them pretee,/teen years, i know i need em

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