Padded bra available in the girls section of Dunnes
The children’s section of a department store should be filled with toys, clothes, and coloring books…so why is Dunnes Stores marketing lingerie to preteens? A walk-through of the kids section of Dunnes’ Stephen’s Green location yields several clear examples of padded bras and matching frilly knickers available in childish prints, a combination that seems incongruous and just plain disturbing.
The sexualization of children is an issue that crops up all too often these days, with the likes of baby beauty pageants and Bratz dolls routinely making headlines. Earlier this week, the Metro Herald reported that Take That singer and X Factor judge Gary Barlow had to ban music videos in his house because their content had become too racy for his three children to watch. Barlow linked this to the bawdy dance moves displayed by young X Factor hopefuls, presumably culled from such videos. Children imitating Beyonce or Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas seems harmless enough until you realize how much our society has latched on to these images and turned them into marketing tools aimed at what is arguably the most impressionable demographic. Dunnes peddling padded bras in the kids department is a prime example.
Padded bra available in the girls section of Dunnes
That a preteen girl is now expected to have (or look like she has) breasts is worrying. So is the lesson that a young girl’s power is derived from her sexuality – now taught before she even fully grasps what sexuality is. We have somehow skipped from bras, which after all serve an anatomical function, straight to lingerie, which is intended for titillation. That’s grand for adults, but when a girl who has not even started her period yet is expected to pad her bra, something is very wrong. When the first brassiere she ever wears is designed not for her own comfort, but to render her attractive under a male gaze, what is that telling her?
Furthermore, it teaches young boys that it’s okay to regard girls as sexual objects. When I was a preteen back in the mid-90s our only option was the classic white cotton ‘training bra’. Nothing else was made in our size, because, as my mother phrased it, ‘you have nothing to put in it!’ But I suppose my generation was lucky in that we didn’t live with the expectation that girls of 10, 11, or 12 years of age face today to don frilly knickers and matching push-up bras. Of course there are some girls that age and even younger who genuinely need to wear a bra. This is not the issue. It is the design and the marketing of products that are indistinguishable from adult sexual attire wrapped in pink, bubbly, childish packaging and sold in the children’s section next to fuzzy slippers and teddy bears.
This is hardly a new issue. In September the Irish Independent published this article citing Dunnes’ (and Penney’s) sale of children’s padded bras. But considering that this week we found several sets of them prominently displayed in Dunnes’ St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre location (though it should be noted that Dunnes did not appear to have such products for children as young as three as noted in the article), it doesn’t seem to have done much good.
Blame who you want in Hollywood or the music industry for sexing-up the popular culture consumed by today’s ‘tweens’ and teens; that is a far wider issue. The truly ridiculous thing here is that a popular family brand like Dunnes is participating in marketing such attire to girls who are simply too young for it. I know people will say we’re grumbling here, that we have no sense of humour, or that it’s simply a fashion statement, but you wouldn’t see, say, men’s boxer shorts adorned with lip prints in the boys section. Admittedly, there are few comparable products which could be aimed at young men to illustrate the point, which should only highlight their inappropriateness.
Unless people speak up and tell Dunnes Stores that selling padded bras to children and preteens is not acceptable, nothing will change. The IFN will be sending a letter to Dunnes Stores to voice our outrage over this issue and we’d encourage anyone who agrees with us to do the same. They can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin - IFN Co-ordinator
Excuse me but they are made for her comfort. Girls as young as 8 are starting puberty and the minimal amount of padding on those bras (which is aprox 1 cm)which does not make them push up bras is there to provide comfort, cushioning and protection to developing breast buds.
30/11/2011 02:47:03 am
I disagree with Sharrow.
15/7/2013 08:26:55 pm
you say girls of dunnes audience wouldnt need a bra until 14 or 15 but your breast buds grow for about 2 years before your period and the averege age of a girl getting her period is 12 or 13 and that would mean that breast would be developed enough for a bra by the age of 10 or 11
17/7/2013 12:26:23 am
these bras are padded very lightly for modesty reasons. they are not lingerie , the are girls underwear aimed at girls starting puberty and offer a very very light padding for comfort. When retailers start selling black lacy bras with matching thongs for young girls, get worried. Until then take a good look at these and welcome that underwear is now modest and pretty whilst still being in young girlish colours and prints and that our daughters can feel good about their changing bodies in without being embarrassed or ashamed. it is not promoting girls sexually at all, this is rubbish. Moral standards are taught in the home, by parents and are not dictated by under garment and certainly not by retailers. I was 12 when my breasts started to grow and my mother tried to keep me in vests and crop tops far longer than was suitable. I needed a fully padded bra from age 13 and there were zero options available at that time.
27/7/2013 02:42:46 am
I'm 12 and I am currently wearing a dunnes stores bra. I have got to big for a training bra. So how you think its inappropriate is beyond me.
Well,there are two sides to this story.one being Yes,some if their stock is quite inappropriate and shouldn't be on sale for such a young age ab d should be made more suitable aka less women's sexual under garment mini lookalikes .but two being some girls need them for self reassurance and it mightn't always be their choice as all their is are those bras in the shop.but if I may say I'm 12 and wear a 34a Dunne's bra and I bought it in the women's section and its fine the pack consists of one white and one light pink and so not look trashy of sexually enhancing,they simply do what their purpose is:give support and protect the persons breasts.thank you for reading.kassia
5/10/2020 10:51:23 pm
31/5/2021 06:36:15 am
This helps me a lot. Thank you!
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