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10 June 2021, 12:00
The New Look bikinis, from the 915 collection, are aimed at girls aged nine to 15.
Parents are divided over the sales of 'padded' New Look bikinis, aimed at girls aged as young as nine.
The debate over the brightly-coloured two-pieces started earlier this year after some New Look shoppers raised their concerns over the 'padding' in the cups.
One mother shared a picture of the bikinis on sale in her local New Look, writing: "It’s hard enough shopping for my daughters in @newlook with the insistence on all the tops being cropped. But PADDED BIKINI BRAS?! Padded bikinis for 9 year olds. Really?”
Object, a campaign group, has accused the high-street brand of "sexualising children", and have called for the products to be pulled from sale.
There are other people, including parents, who think that there is nothing wrong with the bikinis, arguing that the 'padding' is simply there to create shape and modesty.
The debate has even moved on to TV, with both Good Morning Britain and This Morning discussing the controversial bikinis.
Richard Madeley, who was presenting Good Morning Britain, said he believes that the bikinis do sexualise children.
He said on the show: "I don't understand why anyone would want to imply their daughter was developing breasts when they're not, what is going on?"
@letclothesbe @PinkstinksUK @ObjectUK it's hard enough shopping for my daughters in @newlook with the insistence on all the tops being cropped but, PADDED BIKINI BRAS?! Padded bikinis for 9 year olds. Really? pic.twitter.com/exrriAXmql— Vicky Snowdon (@vef76) May 16, 2021
I’m not for or against it, but the New Look range is for 9-15! My daughter is 14 and been wearing women’s bikinis for at least 2 years as she is developed! Everyone’s body is different it’s all about choice! #GMB— Joanna Mills (@jomariemiles) June 9, 2021
The morning show had Kerry Katona on the show, who agreed with Richard that the bikinis were 'wrong'.
She said she was "gobsmacked" by them and added that "children need to just be children".
Tessa Hartmann was also on the show and disagreed with Richard, Kerry and Susanna Reid.
The Real Housewives of Jersey star argued that she wouldn't "define the foam in the bikini as a pad" before adding that the extra layer "protects the modesty" of young girls hitting puberty.
The debate has continued online, with many parents disagreeing on the implications of the bikinis and steps that should be made forward.
One woman wrote on Twitter: "At that age I got embarrassed when bikinis or swimsuits didn’t have padding because when I got cold my nipples were visible, I would have loved to have had the option."
Another added: "I’m sure this would have helped my friends who developed boobs at age 9/10 to feel more comfortable in their bodies."
Some people – who want the bikinis pulled from shelves – have even argued why girls as young as nine are wearing bikinis in the first place.
New Look have issued a statement regarding the backlash, explaining: "The bikinis in the New Look 915 range are designed with shaped foam cups to offer structure to the garment and to provide modesty for the wearer.
"This type of swimwear is widely available from other brands on the high street. We always listen to our customers and comply with all the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Responsible Retailing guidelines to create products that are age appropriate and best suit their needs."