Not many 4-year-olds have a selection of padded bras hanging in their closets. But they could, if they so wished (and their moms bought them for them), because they're available to buy at a department store near you.
This became a talking point after one mom shared a picture on Facebook of a range of Maidenform padded bras in the girls' section of her local department store. Available in sizes 4 to 6x, they're small enough to fit some kindergartners, leading to the question: Is a padded bra suitable for a 4-year-old?
Some moms argue that putting padded bras on girls this young is "sexualizing children way too early" and putting pressure on girls to grow up too fast. However, other parents feel that these bras are necessary to help girls going through early puberty, who need a little extra support to make them feel comfortable and boost their confidence.
Typically, puberty in girls begins between ages 8 and 13. Early puberty (also known as precocious puberty) in girls is diagnosed when the process begins earlier, and it's on the rise. Back in 2010, one study estimated that by age 7, 10 percent of white girls, 23 percent of black girls, 15 percent of Hispanic girls and 2 percent of Asian girls had already started developing breasts.
Remember puberty? It pretty much sucks whether you're 9 or 11 or 13.
It's not fair that some girls have to deal with it at a much younger age, but it happens and the priority has to be making them feel supported — both physically and emotionally. And then there's the chafing — as if having super sore breasts isn't bad enough, having them rub against your T-shirt is horrible. Those little pads inside training bras are a godsend in that respect.
And the moms who buy these bras for their little girls who aren't going through puberty? Hell, it's up to them to decide what's appropriate for their own kid. We all have different benchmarks when it comes to this stuff. The bras in question aren't padded in the way women's bras are; it's more like an extra layer of coverage, and Maidenform (which isn't the only company to sell this type of children's bra) said as much in a statement to NBC 7. They pointed out that the bras were not designed to "enhance" a girl's figure, and the "thin stretch foam" padding was meant to "provide modesty over figure enhancement."
When you take this into account, accusing moms who buy these bras of "sexualizing" their little girls seems way off the mark, no?
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