Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Padded Bras

Clothing store Primark has landed itself in sea of controversy by selling padded bikini tops for girls as young as seven years. The Children's Society criticised Primark for "premature sexualisation and unprincipled advertising". David Cameron commented that it was "completely disgraceful". I'm interested in that phrase "premature sexualisation".

If by "premature sexualisation" they mean that padded bikini tops are going to make seven-year-old girls more aware of their impending sexuality, I would disagree. At least I would say that a padded bikini top is no more likely to make them aware of their potential breasts than seeing their mother in a bra, or adult bikini. A seven year old girl knows that she will develop breasts. No seven-year-old understands what that means in sexual terms. A bikini top on its own will not change that because it won't teach the child anything about what breasts are sexually.

If "premature sexualisation" means that these tops make seven-year-olds seem more sexualy mature in the eyes of adults than they acctually are, well of course it's true, that's self evident. Is it important? I'm not sure. Several news services are carrying the story and it's interesting to see how they report it differently. The Telegraph carries the report, and makes much of the fact that there has been, "criticism that the items were encouraging paedophilia". That is clearly a concern if it's true, but I would suggest that paedophiles looking for seven-year-olds are probably by not looking for breasts. I'm not saying that the statement is wrong, just that I don't understand how the link is established.

It's not that I think that padded bras are OK for children, I don't. I think there is something sinister about parents who dress their girls as women. But it's cultural and everyone seems to have missed that point. No one bats an eyelid when you put a seven year old boy in a little suit and tie at someone's wedding reception. I would suggest that it's possible, even probable, that the padded bra on a girl is no more damaging to the girl in itself than the suit and tie is to the boy. It's just tasteless. And it may or may not encourage unwanted attention from adults. That said, it's none of my business what other parents dress their children in, and Primark as a business, must react to the supply and demand pressures of the market. I dont' think it's a big issue myself, just interesting.

Primark has withdrawn the range and said that they will make a donation to children's charities.

Something less cerebral; check out this student stop-frame video. I think it's really funky. Thanks to Dickie for that link.

Let me tell you a story about Mothercare, the crappest children's goods comapny on the face of the earth.

You may know that we ordered furniture for the boy's bedroom in early March. The idea was to get him installed by his birthday in Mid March. We didn't quite make it because the goods we ordered from mothercare take 10 days to be delivered. I'm not blaming Mothercare for that, although, 10 days does seem kind of ridiculous. I guess we should have got our act together earlier. The order was for a chair, a bed, two storage drawers to go under the bed, a bed guard (to stop him falling out), and some bed linen.

Astoundingly Mothercare can't arrange for all the order to be delivered together, so it arrived on about three or four separate days. OK, that's hugely inconvenient for working parents, but again, I can live with it if I have to.

The delivery man dropped one of the parcels as he delivered it. It was the bed side rails, one of which was damaged and had to be replaced. Also, one of the front panels for the storage drawers arrived incomplete, so I couldn't assemble it. It only required two plastic inserts to allow the fixing of little metal posts. Mothercare can't send the two plastic inserts apparently. They have to send an entire drawer front.

So we reordered the bed rails and a storage drawer front. The rails arrived, several days later than we were told they would. The drawer front didn't.

So I called them about the drawer front. They had no record of it being ordered, but I needed to talk to Laura who would call me back, but she didn't. So I called the next day to find out what was going on, or at least speak to Laura. Laura wasn't there, but we did establish that the drawer front hadn't been ordered and I still needed it. Another seven days of course.

They actually managed to give us a day of delivery for the new drawer front, but it was the wrong day. The dragon stayed in the entire day waiting for it and it didn't come. It came unannounced the following day. Luckily I was there to receive it. Sadly it was the wrong piece. They sent a drawer back panel, not a front one.

So, that's where we are now. It's been over a month. We have a complete bed now, but still only one storage drawer. I called again today. Apparently a complete drawer is on its way (ordered on 12th I'm told), and a £20 gift voucher. I'm guessing £20 will just about cover the cost of all the phone calls I've had to make chasing the bastards.


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