The Sexualizing of Babies!?

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Look at this picture. Think about the age of this little girl – this BABY girl – and study what she’s wearing. Am I the only one who finds this picture disgusting? Is the advertisement of a slutty bikini on an 18 month old vulgar to anyone else? I came across the picture while browsing Zulily, a website that features collections of merchandise at discounted prices. This bikini was featured as part of a line of swimwear called Babi-Kini, which is featured on Zulily. Here’s Zulily’s description of the line of swimwear:

Babi-Kini creates fun, colorful and comfy beachwear for the mini mermaids and sweet surfers in your life. From Baby’s first string bikini to one-piece suits and rashguard sets, each of their adorable designs is made in the USA using high-quality fabrics in a variety of picture-perfect prints.

Look at the phrase “Baby’s first string bikini.” Why is this even a phrase that would be used to market swimwear to little girls and babies? Why does Baby need a string bikini!?

And here’s the “About Us” blurb from the company’s actual website:

We started making Babi-Kini’s many years ago and have had a blast doing so.  What started out as gag gifts for a couple of business associates has turned into a thriving business.  Everyone who saw the little bikini’s wanted one and so the story goes.  Fast forward several years later and here we are, swimming in itsy bitsy-teeny-weeny-yellow-polka-dot-bikinis, and we love it!  Babi-Kini’s are so fun to design, produce, and sell because they make everyone smile.  You just can’t help yourself when you see them…..they are so darn cute!

Problem #1: These bikinis started out as gag gifts. And then someone thought it’d be a good idea to make them into a real product. Problem #2: “…They make everyone smile…” No they don’t. I’m not smiling. And the people who are smiling at baby girls in sexy swimwear need to be screened for pedophilia.

Has this country not come far enough in how it values females that it can’t be beyond selling sex on a baby!? I’m livid that there is actually a company in the United States that is proud to create and market this type of clothing for baby girls. Isn’t it bad enough that pre-pubescent girls choose string bikinis, inviting men to stare at their bodies before they’re even fully formed? Now we have to lower the age to the newborn level in which we put a string bikini on a girl in an effort to have her look “fabulous” and “cute.” Granted, the company also offers more modest swimwear for girls, like one-pieces, but clearly its target sale is supposed to be the string bikini.

Here’s part of the issue: a baby girl can be on the beach or in the pool in just a diaper and nothing sexual is thought because there’s an innocence there. A diaper is functional and when a baby girl is seen in just a diaper, the functionality of the diaper creates the subliminal message that nothing sexual is being seen. A baby girl’s body should never incite thoughts of attractiveness or sex. NEVER! But when something like a string bikini is put on a baby girl, equalizing her to a grown woman, the image of sex is meant to be thought. And it’s just wrong. Totally wrong.

And shouldn’t we be protecting small children from harmful UV rays when they’re outside at the pool or the beach? Babi-Kini has a portion of their website that references UV protection, but upon clicking the link, there was no information. “Coming soon” was all I got. I can’t help but wonder where the UV protection is going to be so beneficial if it’s included in a string bikini. A baby girl’s nipples, genitals, and butt might be protected, but since that’s all the string bikini covers, it seems pretty pointless.

Let me also comment on the fact that baby girls are not born with the innate desire to show their bodies and bare skin for positive attention, acceptance from others, and affection. At some point during a girl’s growth, she is TAUGHT to show more skin, and with this company, apparently that point in the process of growth is at birth! Baby string bikinis start in a size classifed “birth to 6 months”. Newborns can’t even regulate their temperature well, but let’s roast or freeze the girls in a string bikini, bared to any and all environmental harm. When little girls are put into teeny bikinis at an early age, they’re being taught to show their bodies for affirmation AND they’re being opened up to the scrutiny of adults who are likely horrible people. I’m 100% sure that there are adults out there who would see an overweight girl, no matter how young, in one of these bikinis and think the girl shouldn’t be wearing something like this because she’s too fat. Why would any parent want to open up his/her daughter to judgement and scrutiny at such a  young age? Shouldn’t we be protecting our little girls in this harsh and unrelenting society as long as we can? Is there no more innocence and modesty to be found in this society? As you may be able to tell, I’m totally flabbergasted. I’m upset that I’ve been slapped in the face with images of baby girls, bared for all to see, offered up like pieces of meat.

And then I think personally about my own little girl. Ella Grace is so young and innocent. She’s not aware of her body being a vessel for judgement as she grows. Right now her body is neutral to her. I don’t think she knows to think positively or negatively about it yet, but as her mother, I’m also very conscious of how I talk about her body so that she doesn’t begin to develop any negative body image issues at a young age. We talk neutrally and honestly about Ella Grace’s body to her – we call her vagina her vagina. Her nipples are her nipples. We made the decision to go with straight body talk so that Ella Grace wouldn’t feel like her body was funny or something not worth talking honestly about. We want her to feel comfortable in her body and with her body, but I certainly don’t want that confidence to translate into a sexual showing by her at an early age. Along with respecting her body, I want Ella Grace to learn the value of keeping her body her own for as long as she can. If she’s four years old and showing off everything for all to see, her body is becoming less personal to herself. With all of that said, there will come a day when Ella Grace is old enough to make a decision for herself about whether or not to wear a string bikini or flaunt a little cleavage. But until she’s old enough and mature enough to make those decisions for herself, it’s my duty as her mother to make decisions that protect and honor the integrity of her innocent body.

And now let me leave you with this. I continued to browse the Babi-Kini website and look at different collections of swimsuits. I noticed there was a link for a boys’ collection. I clicked the link and saw one picture. It’s below. Notice this little boy has skin that is far more covered and protected from the elements. This little boy lives in a society in which bearing the torso of a male is normal. Yet this company makes swimwear for a boy that covers his whole torso and his legs down to his thighs while also marketing a small and disgusting set of swimwear for little girls. 

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Why, why, WHY is this society still failing girls and women in how it teaches respect and integrity for females? Babi-Kini is definitely one of the reasons.

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