Push-up bras for tweens: the illusion of breasts for the youngest girls

We magnify the body, we perfect the silhouette, we help to cheat

That was said about push-up bras by a woman who manages a French company which invented them.

A bra now being marketed to girls who haven’t even hit their teens and, mostly, will not possess anything that needs support, let alone need a lacy push-up number.

In yet another example of the sexualisation of girls, Best and Less is selling the Tween-age Push-up Bra. Tweens have been defined as aged 6-12.

tween push up bra

Now, as most people know, push-up bras are designed to show off cleavage. Obviously the inventors of the tween push-up bra don’t care if there is no ‘cleavage’ to start with. They will help a young girl cheat and make it look like there is. Underwire padding, boosting: helping create the illusion that this little girl is much more developed than she really is.

And why would you want to do that exactly?

Why would a child need to have her body magnified? What is a perfect silhouette for a child? Why would a child be required to cheat? Why adultify little girls?

We are telling little girls that their bodies are not acceptable as they are. And that their bodies are supposed to draw attention, primarily male attention. The earlier these messages hit them, the more ingrained they become. They are being groomed to see their bodies as sexual objects.

Normalising and encouraging the appearance of breasts on prepubescent children puts them in danger.

We are witnessing the disappearance of spontaneity, unselfconsciousness, curiosity and fun in girls - qualities that were once valued for their role in developing a strong sense of self identity; enabling girls to journey into adulthood in a natural and healthy way. But now they are body conscious - indeed self-loathing - at younger ages, wracked by fear and self-doubt, wondering if they are good enough.

The manufacturers of the push-up bra for little girls know this, and are preying on it.

They need to be held accountable. Tell Best and Lest what you think. Email:feedback@bestandless.com.au, Ph: (02) 95613400.

Some mates and I are about to launch Collective Shout to name, shame and expose corporations and marketers who objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services. Stayed tuned.

Update: Push up tween bras pushed off shelves

I’ve been involved in a few campaigns against the sexualisation of girls, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a company act on complaints as quickly as this one did.

On Tuesday I posted a blog about a ‘tweenage’ push-up bra sold at Best & Less. A number of people got active and wrote to the company to protest. Adolescent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg was one of them. Here’s his letter (warning, anyone offended by the term ‘cretin’ should not read further):

I am a child and adolescent psychologist who has worked for 25 years in the field. I am incandescent with rage with the bone brained individual in your company who thought it would be a brilliant idea to sell push up bras to prepubescent girls!

There are so many reasons why this runs counter to what we know is in the best interests of young girls - it is difficult to know where to start.
I can only refer you to the American Psychological Society Taskforce report on the impact of early sexualisation  and hope that you reprimand the cretin who made this decision and immediately withdraw the product.

Sincerely

Dr Michael Carr-Gregg 

Then I received this response from Best & Less.

Dear Melinda,

We are writing to you regarding your recent blog and comments relating to bras labelled “Tweenage”.

Best & Less prides itself on its strong family values and has strict guidelines relating to the sale of products for young people. As such Best & Less does not stock or sell push up bras for children.

The bras in question were intended to be a women’s petites range from sizes 8AA through to 12B. They were made to current Australian standards for women’s bras and were displayed in our women’s underwear department. Regrettably an error resulted in the incorrect branding and labeling of these bras as ‘Tweenage’. As a consequence, they were removed from sale in all of our stores across Australia as of yesterday, 2nd February.

We have taken procedural steps to avoid any future branding or labeling errors of this sort.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Christine Ryan

Best & Less

That’s one hell of an error in the branding and labeling department. But the company has at least responded to community concern and acted quickly, unlike others who have featured on this blog (responses from Roger David: zero).

I hope all of you who have taken any kind of action against corporate sexploitation will be encouraged by this outcome.

Originally published at melindatankardreist.com


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  • Melinda Tankard Reist
    published this page in News 2021-01-05 15:16:41 +1100

You can defend their right to childhood

A world free of sexploitation is possible!

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