|Girls' padded bras for sale at|
Kohl's Department Store
Snapping a picture of the bras with my cell phone, my blood pressure went up. I have so many issues with this. And questions, too. Why do stores push the notion that young girls should artificially enlarge their breasts? Just who is benefiting from the girls wearing these bras? Do girls feel more popular and well-liked if their breasts appear larger than they really are? Are manufacturers making these bras, and the retailers selling them, because they are actually in demand? Apparently the answer to that last question is "yes."
But it's not just about the bras. Look at any girls clothing store, and you can see short skirts, short shorts, skinny jeans, skimpy bikinis and bare midriff shirts all marketed for kids. And while my beef with clothing may technically fall outside the "media and family" theme of my blog, I think it relates with the messages that the mainstream media sends to all of us about young girls and women. After all, the media promotes fashion, trends and ideas about body image, and those ideas eventually translate into product sales.
Girls are particularly vulnerable to messages that they see in the media. According to Miss Representation.org, "three out of four teenage girls feel depressed, guilty and shameful after spending three minutes leafing through a fashion magazine." But perhaps more important are the messages that girls receive at home. Does mom worry incessantly about her looks, or does she model a healthy, and happy, view of herself? Does dad criticize mom's or daughter's body, or is he accepting and encouraging? Do mom and dad endorse purchases of short skirts and padded bras prematurely?
We may not be able to change the world, or how the world grades girls' bodies, but we can make a difference at home. Through sensible purchases, candid discussions, and a loving and accepting environment in which girls can be girls, we can help our daughters develop at their own pace, discovering that they have value beyond their appearance.