Category Archives: bikini

OUTRAGED? I WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO WASN’T. By Lucy Lawrence

I was not outraged by the audacity of the clothing chain Primark in selling padded bikini tops to girls aged seven this week. Frankly I was not even mildly surprised. Let’s face it, these pink and sparkly fake breasts were quite mild compared to some of the other vile tat that’s been sold to children as good, harmless fun. Pole dancing kits spring to mind.

Anyway, there was enough outrage coming from all sides to render any I might have drummed up, redundant.

Firstly, I want to stress that I did not, under any circumstances, consider it to be a ‘good thing’ for this product to be in shops. I am glad they have gone. It is a good move for Primark and it is a good move for parents who already have a hard enough job keeping daughters dressed appropriately for their age rather than their preferred future career.

It is not, however, a victory for The Sun newspaper which reported its own ‘outrage’ on Wednesday that these ‘paedo bikinis’ were on sale, encouraging paedophiles everywhere (to do what?). Hours later when, after caving in to all the negative publicity Primark pulled the offending items off its shelves and offered to donate any profits from their sales to charity, this was hailed by the newspaper as ‘The Sun wot won it’ or some other ‘amusing’ headline.

The rank hypocrisy of this tabloid beggars belief. Condemning ‘sexy’ products for the under-10s on one page, while encouraging teenage girls, not even a decade older, to ‘get them out for the lads’ on Page 3. This is a national newspaper that makes its money out of objectifying young women and turning them into sex objects. And yet it never questions that this ‘in yer face’, and on the breakfast table, socially acceptable sexuality might arouse the curiosity of, and a desire to emulate, in pre-pubescent girls.

The Sun makes money by pedalling soft porn and fantasy femininity and then attempts to take the moral high ground against another, equally cynical, business venture which is trying to hook these girls in younger and younger. Who gave The Sun’s editor the moral compass?

I reserve scorn too for the politicians – all of them. As expected, all three major political parties claimed to be outraged by these bikinis. But still, even in the 21st century, all of these politicians are so busy trying to be popular with Britain’s biggest selling tabloid, that they would never dare risk its wrath by condemning Page 3. None are willing to take a stand and demand soft porn mags like Nuts and Zoo be placed on the top shelf, nor are any prepared to admit that there just might be a connection between the images girls and women are exposed to in the media and the ever increasing numbers of breast augmentations et al. being carried out year on year in the UK. It used to be an insult to call somebody plastic. Now our girls aspire to it.

And finally there is the outrage coming from the Left. There seemed to be a backlash against parents for objecting to the sexualisation of children.

One blogger wrote: “The pubescent padded bra has been hijacked by the faux-feminist family values brigade as a symbol of moral decline. There is a distinct class element to this puritan agenda.” She continues by arguing that middle-class mums are ganging-up on Primark because working class mums shop there? Really? Wouldn’t middle class mums gang-up on Sainsbury’s if it were selling sexist clothes for children?  Oh, I did.

So, in a world where, judging by Channel 4 news’s vox pop on this issue, we are becoming immune to these things – most Primark shoppers hadn’t even registered this garment was on sale, let alone judged it inappropriate – in a world where nearly 9,000 British women a year have breast augmentation, in a world where children have internet access to porn before they’ve even reached puberty, in a world where 46% of girls aged 11 to 16 would consider cosmetic surgery and that girls start finding fault with their appearance as early as 10 or 11* and in a world where girls are not encouraged to play dressing-up like their mums but encouraged to play dressing up like highly-sexed pop stars, it’s my argument that we should stand back and take a look at where things are going and then imagine where we want them to be.

Girls don’t want padded bikinis so they’re not teased by the boys at school – for heaven’s sake, they’re hardly going to be wearing them under their polo shirts. They want these bikinis so they look like Hannah Montana, Cheryl Cole and Jordan. Three decent role models? I leave that up to you.

But when I go on holiday with my four-year-old son this summer, the last thing I want is for him to experience a beach  awash with seven-year-old girls playing at being teenagers in push-up bikinis. Girls will always be girls – but they don’t always have to be sex objects.

* A study by the Girl Guides

wetsuits vs bikinis

A friend and supporter of PinkStinks sent me a link to an article from the Telegraph last week. Somewhat embarrassing, somewhat tragic, totally pointless. It struck a chord with me, as I took part in the London triathlon this weekend. In stark contrast to the desire to break the world record for getting the most bikini clad women on one beach all at the same time … my gosh, how utterly thrilling.

The triathlon, and countless other events like it, 10ks 5ks, walks and fun runs, encourage participation in sport, team work, competition and of course result in some impressive fund raising for charities. The Telegraph article laments, maybe in tongue in cheek fashion, the failure of this rather pathetic record breaking attempt. Some of the 42 women that bothered to turn up, blamed it on the weather. One woman is quoted as saying “It made me feel pretty embarrassed to be British when we can’t even mount a decent challenge”. Well, you know what, you should have got your wetsuit on, and come and jumped into the docks with the hundreds of other women participants this weekend. There was more than enough reason to be very proud … even despite the fact we all got issued with pink swimming hats!

Mylie Cyrus lays the critics to waste

Having been lucky enough to be on holiday in the Caribbean this last week, it’s been interesting doing some people watching and seeing how body conscious women are these days when it comes to the dreaded bikini. I wouldn’t exclude myself from this. The anguish of getting you body out in public – and if you’ve had kids, then it’s even worse – or you’ve got a flat chest (yes – that’s me), or you’ve got cellulite (isn’t that everyone?), or if you have hair (GOD FORBID).

But having just read in The Times about how Mylie Cyrus has been lambasted online for being “fat” while wearing her bikini. Good God! She looks fantastic. But there have been internet chatrooms full of people bitching and sniping about her and about how she is fat! FAT??! No one is safe from this horrendous pressure. Someone said on one of these chatrooms: “Miley is a blubber-but”. What a sad, sad indication of how the celebrity skinny obsession is now so deeply ingrained and normalised in our culture. Why are people so interested in her weight? What about her acheivements? What about how hard she works? What about anything other than what she looks like in her bikini.

We all suffer from it one way or another. I have decided that on this holiday my baby belly is out and proud. And just a quick thank you to Mylie for reacting in a positive and brave way. Whatever you think of her and the Disney machine which surrounds her, she was quick and forceful with her response, which as a mother of a seven year old daughter who LOVES her was great to hear. Mylie is UP in my estimations, big time.

PS, my husband just read this post and said “so who the hell is Mylie Cyrus?!” I mentioned Hannah Montana and suddenly he knew more than he thought he did. A very interesting case study to say the least.