While out shopping one day, Angela Fellars noticed something interesting on the racks at Nordstrom: Padded bras in the girls’ section. Enraged, she posted her find on Facebook. Her post has brought up a massive debate online about what is and isn’t appropriate for young girls. (1)
Padded Bras for Girls: Yes or No?
Fellars took pictures of the bras and posted them to Facebook. Labeled 6-6x, she was angry and confused as to why the little girls who presumably would be wearing them needed the padding at all. (1)
These are padded bras for SIX YEAR OLDS — WTAF, Nordstrom & Calvin Klein?Posted by Angela Fellars on Saturday, August 18, 2018
Her post has caused a massive debate as to what is and isn’t appropriate for little girls to be wearing. (1)
Let Kids Be Kids
Many parents commenting agree with her sentiment. They are concerned over the over-sexualization of children and dressing kids like mini-adults. (1)
“This is MeToo era and no swimsuits in Miss America … but padded bras 4 6ers?” commented Jody Nerhood Edwards. (1)
“I’m confused. Why would a six-year-old need a bra. Maybe they’re mislabeled?” said Michelle King. (1)
Much of the debate revolves around what 6-6x means. Some say it is for the age of the children (6 years old) while others say that it is a size and doesn’t actually correspond to age at all. Regardless of what it means, many commenters think it is wrong and they shouldn’t be sold. (1)
There Are Reasons For Everything
Not everyone is as staunchly against the bras as Fellars and some of the others are. For starters, there are several commenters pointing out that 6-6x doesn’t necessarily refer to six-year-olds. (1)
Others have been quick to mention that girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier these days. (1) This is true: Girls are starting puberty as early as eight years old now and getting their periods around 13. A century ago this didn’t happen until the age of 16 or 17. (2)
Those defending the pads are saying that they didn’t want their daughters’ nipples showing through the fabric as they began their transition into adolescence. (1)
“Ana only got bras because her nipples would show through the shirt materials she liked. And then they would still poke out with the simple bras. So the little pad was needed or she was really self-conscious.” one user said of her daughter. (1)
Another pointed out that these are typically what are worn at dance studios.
“So, some of these are being used as sports bras for dance studios (they wear shorts and a sports bra only) so I buy the padded / lines ones for my little vs the thin ones.” explained Ashley Smith. (1)
Furthermore, several pointed out the earlier and earlier onset of puberty nowadays.
“Crazy. Sadly though the median onset of puberty has gotten much younger over the past several decades” said one user. (1)
Another thought that everyone was being ridiculous.
“Having 2 daughters there’s nothing wrong with this. It isn’t a padded bra for adding size or a lift. It isn’t even underwire. It’s for comfort and discretion. Geez lady, get a grip” she said. (1)
The Middle Ground
Not everyone was completely on one side of the fence or the other. Some said that while they didn’t think it was a bad thing to have sports bras and training bras for little girls, they don’t think that the thicker lining or padding is necessary. (1)
“I’ve got an 11 yr old that her momma and grandmother’s buy her padded bras AND underwire! Absolutely ridiculous! She doesn’t even have mosquito bites yet! So when I wash them. I take the padding out and give them back to her. You’re 11 yrs old ..not 25” said one user. (1)
Many users pointed out that the padding in the bra is removable, so they can just take it out. (1)
Padded Bras for Girls: Some Final Thoughts
Every parent has the right to decide what’s right for their children. At the end of the day, children are only going to think something has sexual context if we teach them that it does. Bras are something that eventually, most girls will start wearing.
As a parent, you can either teach her that it is a sexual piece of clothing, or you can explain the importance of wearing a good bra/sports bra and what the different types of bras are for. If your daughter expresses interest in wearing one, find out why. Instead of completely shutting it down, which may lead to her feeling ostracized at school, or teaching her exactly what you are trying to prevent, you can come to an agreement together.
Finally, the reality is it is your decision at the end of the day. That being said, it is not your place to judge other people for what they allow their children to wear. More importantly, it is important not to speak badly about these people in front of your daughters, as again, that will inadvertently teach them the thing you are wanting to avoid: The over-sexualization of women’s bodies.