Does the world need bras and bikinis in toddler sizes?

September 19, 1990|By Kathleen Parker | Kathleen Parker,Orlando Sentinel

It is difficult to recall exactly what one wanted as a four-year-old.

More than likely, I wanted whatever my 7-year-old brother had. That might have included a bow and arrow, a football, but most likely one of those Indian heads made out of a coconut.

If I'd had a big sister instead, I assume I'd have wanted whatever she had. The very things I later acquired a Barbie doll, a Bride Doll, a Palomino you know, one of those plastic horse models that lined the shelves of girls who never got a real pony.

(Ah, yes, the girls who never got a pony. We are legion. We're still bitter, Dad.)

In any case, I am quite certain that never not in my dreams, not in my fantasies, not in my most magnificent make-believe moments did I ever want a lace bra with matching ruffled bikini panties.

Which makes one wonder just what is going on over there at Christian Dior.

The good folks at Christian Dior have recently come out with a new lacy ensemble for the preschooler. That's right, teensy-weensy bras and panties in lace and ruffles for the teensy-weensy girl in your life.

Now she can put on her makeup and paint her nails while dressed just like the mannequins at Frederick's of Hollywood.

Hmmmm, isn't that special?

The impetus behind this absurd marketing move allegedly is the desire of little girls to look like their mommies.

I don't know who these mommies are, and I don't know who these little girls are. Most mommies I know save the lace and ruffles for those times when 4-year-olds are sleeping. And most 4-year-olds I know are too busy learning how to skin the cat to concern themselves with lace-and-ruffled bras and panties.

The promotional material for Dior's new underwear shows three little girls looking wistfully innocent, with their hair tied in bows and their faces made up just enough to suggest a modest flush.

They are wistful, no doubt, in memory of innocence lost.

Do we really need to encourage the notion of little girl as sexual plaything?

Some might also argue that this is much ado about nothing. But, what are we telling a tiny child when we give her a bra?

The real question is, why are we as a society so eager to encourage a child barely out of diapers to dress and act like a grown woman?

In fairness, couldn't we let little girls be little girls just a few minutes longer?

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