UK Matalan accused of 'sexualising' children with girls' clothing range last minute news
MetiNews.Com - Campaigners say it's 'one of the worst ranges for sexualisation of children on the high street'
Breaking News ! Matalan has been accused of 'sexualising' children with its girls' clothing range. The retailer's Candy Couture range is for girls aged nine to 16, but campaigners say some of the items are inappropriate for youngsters of that age. Highlighting cropped tops, side lace denim shorts and a tight black bardot dress, campaign group Let Clothes Be Clothes says 'they are short, tight and skimpy because they reflect adult, sexual designs'. Sharing photos of the range on Facebook, the group said: "This is one of the worst ranges for sexualisation of children on the high street I've ever come across. The Facebook post from Let Clothes Be Clothes (Image: Let Clothes Be Clothes) "We are for choice, and the issue of sexualisation can be subjective - but could you imagine boys being offered clothing like this? "It's not prudish to say these are not children's clothes, they are short, tight and skimpy because they reflect adult, sexual designs. Very irresponsible." The post has attracted almost 200 comments from parents, with many in agreement. The range is for girls aged nine to 16 (Image: Matalan) "This is too much," said one. "These clothes start at NINE YEARS OLD. Crop tops and suggestive lips, lace up shorts and leopard print. Who the hell didn't see a problem with this?" While another added: "This makes me sad. My nearly 6 year old is fitting age 8 clothes and I’m finding it harder and harder to dress her in age appropriate stuff so she lives in leggings and boys' clothes." A number of parents criticised the length of girls' shorts available on the high street generally, questioning why they're always so much shorter for girls compared with the boys' ranges. Some suggested it's society that's the problem, rather than specific clothing, with one saying the problem lies with 'how the female body has been sexualised'. But Elizabeth Evans, an academic psychologist who has studied children's body image for more than a decade, hit back at that view saying: "Children aren't oblivious to the cues that these clothes involve, and therein lies the problem. Clothes that encourage self-objectification - and these ones really do - are a big deal in terms of the formation of girls' body image schemata, particularly for those aged 9 and over." Let Clothes Be Clothes (Image: Let Clothes Be Clothes) Speaking to the M.
.N's Manchester Family, Francesca Mallen, of Let Clothes Be Clothes, a campaign to end gender stereotyping in the design and marketing of childrenswear, said: "The issue of sexual styled clothing being sold to girls has been raised many times over the past decade. No one is judging children for what they wear, but we are right to judge retailers who offer very grown up, tight fitting and skimpy clothing to children. "What is the point after all of a bandeau or lace panel micro shorts on a nine-year-old? Matalan are selling these products under the name 'Candy Couture' which also features lip motifs and ribbed bardot dresses. The boys? Their section is called 'Teenage Boys Clothing' and just features practical and comfortable staples, like hoodies and jeans.
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"Why are girls and boys treated so differently? If you wouldn't let a boy wear these clothes, why would you want a girl to?" She added: "Studies have shown girls are susceptible to cues from sexual imagery, such as music videos and advertising, and as such believe they will be accepted more by wearing such clothing. The problem is, what does this tell young girls at such an important age? Does our worth lie in being decorative? In showing as much of our bodies as possible? Girls and young women feel they are constantly judged, not just in their clothes, but their appearance - and these sorts of clothes only ramp up the body confidence pressure."
River Island was criticised for selling heels to girls as young as five
(Image: River Island)
The criticism comes after River Island was called out last week over selling heels to girls as young as five. But the retailer said it takes 'age-appropriateness, style and function into consideration' in all its children's wear designs, 'together with customer demand'. A spokesperson for Matalan said: "We are extremely conscious and proud of our longstanding role as a responsible family retailer. We always ensure our products are suitable for customers, and carefully consider feedback on all product ranges. "In this instance, these products have proved extremely popular amongst our customers. We understand that not all products will appeal to everyone, however, we aim to provide a range of styles so there is something for all ages."
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