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Wednesday 20 September 2017

Sleazy parents must shoulder blame

It's a sad state of affairs if it's going to take a Government department to stop children buying clothes fit for porn stars. But that's where we're at.

The Department of Children is reported to have held talks with the National Consumer Agency about a code of conduct which would prevent them selling sexy clothes for kids.

If you're thinking that's a bit heavy-handed, you probably don't know the kind of clothes they've been selling. British retailers were found selling crop tops for kids bearing the slogan, "Future porn star" and briefs inviting the observer to "Dive in".

Ah, but that's the UK, isn't it? What would you expect? We wouldn't get up to the same carry-on here. We've barely come to terms with sex between married couples, we'd hardly be selling it to children.

Well, you're wrong. Padded bras were recently on sale here sized to fit girls of nine or 10. Girls who usually don't have as much as a pimple to put in a bra.

So bang in your code of practice, Minister Frances Fitzgerald. At least that's a start.

Yes, it's true that kids have always made themselves sexy before their parents are ready for it. Women of my age all remember mascara opening in their pockets because they had to put it on halfway down the road.

When I was a teenager, I rolled my school skirt up to show off my legs and pulled it down when the fashion changed. And girls now do exactly the same thing. But we are in a completely different place when retailers are selling adulthood to children.

The kids aren't setting the pace anymore. The power has been taken out of their hands. And given to commerce.

So the kids are the exploited ones, running around in a padded bra with a sexy slogan at the age of nine. Which some warped mind in a retail store got some badly paid seamstress on other side of the world to make.

And which some warped mind bought them. Or let them buy. Because it's parents who make all this happen. Parents who don't care or don't know how to care. Who think that caring is projecting your own sick ideas about how you should look on to your kid.

It's all about our horrible confusion of being sexy with being a little girl.

Remember the case of JonBenet Ramsey (inset), the six-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted and killed on St Stephen's Day, 1996, in Colorado? She'd been competing in beauty pageants since she was four.

JonBenet's brutal murder has never been explained and is a tragedy. But one thing's for sure: the odds were against her ever having a normal life even then.

I haven't heard of such kids' beauty pageant in Ireland yet, but it's probably only a matter of time. Still, have you ever looked at the high heels and fake tans sported by some seven-year-olds on their First Communion?

People ask questions if your kid misses school too often. But it seems it's alright to dress your kid up like a living doll.

What's that about? Did their mothers never get a chance to look pretty or what?

Shops are to blame for selling sexualised gear to kids, alright. But parents who think being a sexy woman is really about being a bold little girl are the real problem.

It's a pity the Government can't ban sleazy parents. But it might be hard to enforce.

No, what's really needed is a law which guarantees kids the right to be kids and outlaws anyone who tries to take it away.

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