Target under fire for sexualising girls, again

Over the last few weeks, Target has drawn complaints over sexualised girls clothing, specifically, padded bras for girls as young as six. 


Target maintained that while the “moulded crop tops” were ranged from size six, the size did not refer to age. Several parents rejected this assertion, pointing out that for their children sizing did closely correspond with age, and that a size six bra would easily fit a six year old child, if not one even younger. 

While there is an argument to be made that there are girls who may be developing earlier and prefer some degree of coverage, there is a difference between coverage and sexualized or more adult items designed to enhance or draw attention to certain body parts in children- particularly those body parts that have not yet developed.

Over the last few years, Collective Shout successfully campaigned against Bonds, who subsequently withdrew their padded bras for six year olds, and Best & Less, who were forced to remove bralettes for two year olds and their “tween age push up bra”, to enhance the breasts of pre-teen girls who may or may not have even developed them.

This isn’t the first time Target has been accused of sexualising young girls. Back in 2012, Port Macquarie primary school teacher Ana Amini posted a comment on Target’s Facebook page, lamenting their lack of age-appropriate, non- sexualised clothing for her eight-year- old daughter. Within a week her post had attracted more than 72,000 likes, with many comments from other parents who were similarly frustrated.  Just last year a Melbourne mother called out Target for inappropriate shoes with heels for toddlers. 

Of course, it’s not just Target- we frequently hear from parents who are frustrated with the clothing options available to their daughters. And it’s not just clothing. It’s a whole culture where girls are encouraged to appear older than they are, to be focused on their physical appearance and to invest time, money and energy into being skinny and hot. Our girls deserve better. 


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  • Kathryn Pati
    commented 2017-06-28 21:48:48 +1000
    Target have been giving me the pips for years. Tight pants for little girls, padded bras as ‘first’ bras with no alternative (some even under wired), skimpy skirts and shorts, it doesn’t end.
  • Tasha Rose
    commented 2017-06-10 05:55:49 +1000
    My comment elsewhere..
    Hi. I was six when I was getting breast buds that were painful and uneven and caused me a lot of stress… so whether or not their simple padded bras were targeted at six year olds, this is a story for the sake of a story imo. By 4th grade I was in a B cup and being treated poorly by teachers because of it… being banned from playing on the playground with the other kids because of breasts that moved a lot and a mother who didn’t care to make sure I was comfortable in my clothes and growing body.
    As soon as my girls have breast buds I made sure they have a lightly lined bra so they feel comfortable in their growth.
    I think everyone just has an axe to geind with Target becausenof the trans issue.
    When they start selling thongs and inappropriately designed underthings for little girls, then there’s a problem.
    Modernly, girls are starting puberty very early and they should have available to them what they need to feel confident and comfortable.

    I’ll add that my oldest two daughters both started puberty at around age 8… There is not often a world of difference in sizing between age 6 and age 8, depending on the kid. I have a 3 year old daughter who still wears 18m and 24m clothing. Six is a size. Drop the axe and think about the comfort of the girls who do start puberty very early. Should they suffer and have nothing because we want to grind after Target? I’m the first to call out sexualization of children… this is not that.

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