High street shops to ban padded bras and 'sexually suggestive' clothes for young girls
By TIM SHIPMAN
Last updated at 2:08 PM on 4th June 2011
High street shops will be told not to sell padded bras and sexually suggestive clothes to children under guidelines to be unveiled on Monday.
The tough new rules coincide with the publication of a Government-commissioned review into the sexualisation of children by Reg Bailey, head of the Mothers' Union.
They reflect public disquiet about the marketing of suggestive clothes and sexual slogans targeted at young children.
Controversial products have included High School Musical-themed underwear with the slogan 'Dive In', Playboy stationery, and crop tops for young girls bearing the slogan 'future porn star'.
Mr Bailey's review, also published on Monday, demands that retailers sign a voluntary code of practice with clear rules on how to sell to children, rather than relying on the good taste of their buyers.
Tesco and Sainsbury's have already signed up to the new deal drawn up by the British Retail Consortium, along with George, the clothing range promoted by Asda.
Major high street stores including Marks & Spencer, Next, John Lewis, Debenhams, Argos and Peacocks have also agreed to comply.
The BRC's guidelines say: 'Slogans and imagery including licensed images and brand marks must be age-appropriate and without undesirable associations or connotations – for example, sexually suggestive, demeaning, derogative or political material.
'Humorous slogans need to be tested against a broad range of views as they can cause unforeseen and unintended offence.'
The guidelines warn that underwear ranges 'require the utmost care', ruling that 'knickers and pants must provide modesty. Thongs are not appropriate for children'.
Too much, too young: This padded bra is a fashion accessory targeted at eight-year-old girls and deemed 'not appropriate' by the report
And in a crackdown on products which seek to treat girls like women, they say: 'Vests and crop tops should also be designed for modesty with no need for structural support.
'Under-wiring is not necessary or appropriate for the smallest cup sizes. First bras should be constructed to provide comfort, modesty and support but not enhancement.
No mention should be made of enhancement or under-wiring in any children's ranges.'
Foreword: Sarah Teather, Lib Dem Minister for Children and Families, said she hopes the guidelines will be adopted by BRC members
Mr Bailey's review calls for a ban on children's swimwear in shop-window displays next to 'sexy' adult clothing.
It says: 'Sexualised and gender-stereotyped clothing, products and services for children are the biggest areas of concern for parents.
'By far the most contentious issue has been the availability of bras and bikini-style swimwear for under 16s.'
It says children under 16, including celebrities and sports stars, should be banned from acting as 'brand ambassadors' to sell products to youngsters – causing them to pester their parents for products.
The review found that 55 per cent of parents thought adult clothes styles for children 'encourage children to act older than they are'.
In a foreword to the guidelines, Sarah Teather, the Liberal Democrat Minister for Children and Families, writes: 'I hope that all the BRC members who operate in the children's market will adopt these guidelines for their business and that non-members will see the benefits of this kind of approach.'
Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: 'Retailers are parents themselves and don't ditch their ethics at the store door.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1394123/High-street-shops-ban-clothes-sexualise-little-girls.html#ixzz1OJc1Ahxi