Abercrombie Responds to Tween Bikinigate

When I was an angst-ridden, flat-chested teen, summer was a bittersweet time. Sure, we had three months off from school and I lived in a lazy beach town, but access to miles of ocean also meant suiting up in a bikini and showing off my “raisins on a breadboard,” which wasn’t exactly the highlight of the season. So I did what all of my other pre-developed friends did: I bought a ruffled bikini top and went about the business of irreparably damaging my skin. (We certainly didn’t wear sunblock back then.)

But that was me as a teenager, not a third-grader. And as you've no doubt heard, today’s third-graders don’t have to resort to ruffles, thanks to notoriously controversial Abercrombie & Fitch. This year, the retailer's kids' swim collection included the “Ashley” model, an itsy bitsy bikini top with generous padding for instant curves that's available in sizes for 8-year-olds. (Other models feature “lightly lined” cups.) 8-year-olds! Seriously, what is wrong with people?

Responding to the harsh criticism spreading across the web, A&F announced via Facebook (naturally) that they had edited the listing for the "Ashley," changing the age range to “twelve and older.” And as of today, the "Ashley" isn't even available on the website. (My call to the corporate office was received with a curt “nobody in this office has a comment” comment. Shocking!) Sadly, even if Ashley is dead and gone, it’s only a matter of time before A&F (or some other retailer) pushes the bar again.

You can also check out Kelly Wallace's take on the issue in this week's iVillage 5.


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