So let's just get one thing clear, 'sexy' and 'toddler' should NEVER go together to sell a product. Yet somehow this product titled 'Sexy Nurse Toddler T-Shirt' ended up on Amazon.
The T-shirt complete with drawn in fake cleavage was available in sizes for 2-6 year old girls.
The Non-Profit organisation Show Me Your Stethoscope took to Twitter to speak out against the T-Shirt and call Amazon to account. Thankfully Amazon replied promptly and have taken action. The product can no longer be found on Amazon's website.
But why was it even there in the first place?
This isn't the first time Amazon have been called out for selling inappropriate products. Not only did Amazon stock 'The Pedophiles Guide to Love and Pleasure: A Child-Lover's Code of Conduct' written by a pedophile, they actually defended their right to do so. After a global campaign Amazon eventually delisted the product.
There has been much concern over the increasing sexualisation of girls in media and advertising and 'novelty items' like this T-Shirt can no longer be seen as harmless fun or a joke. We need to look at what the research is telling us, and it's not pretty.
Mental health professionals are increasingly concerned about the prevalence of sexualised images of children and early adolescents in the media. These images appear to be widely used in advertising, and represent children, including pre-pubertal children, in ways more congruent with adult sexuality. The values implicit in the images are that physical appearance and beauty are intrinsic to self-esteem and social worth, and that sexual attractiveness is a part of childhood experience. Research has shown that the exploitation of children, particularly girls, as sexual objects has a detrimental effect on adolescent development, increasing the risk of depression, eating disorders and low self-esteem. The unrealistic depiction of children in a sexualised manner is not only harmful to girls and women, but has wider consequences in the community.
Collective Shout co founder Melinda Tankard Reist writes that 'Child Sexual Abuse Thrives in a Culture that Eroticises it'. Her article highlights the many abhorrent examples of real children being sexually abused while society turns a blind eye to the products that normalise this.
There is deep distress in the community that defenceless children are used in such evil ways. But the broader culture that encourages the abuse of the children goes unaddressed. The same loathing that is directed toward child sexual abuse has not been extended to the mainstream promotion of paedophilic fantasies for profit.
When will corporates start to take responsibility for the harmful consequences of selling products that objectify women and sexualise children. Our Corporate Social Responsibility Pledge was created to put and end to this type of advertising. We call on business leaders to decide today that they will not market their products or services in this way.
It shouldn't be a hard decision.
To see our full list of companies who have objectified women or sexualised children in the past click here.