Target misses the mark

A Port Macquarie mum has unwittingly started a Facebook campaign against the ‘trampy’ nature of Target’s children’s clothing range. Ana Amini, a primary school teacher, wrote on Target’s Facebook page “Dear Target, Could you possibly make a range of clothing for girls 7–14 years that doesn’t make them look like tramps… You have lost me as a customer when buying apparel for my daughter as I don’t want her thinking shorts up her backside are the norm or fashionable.”

The public post has since disappeared, but before it was hidden or removed it received more than 44,000 ‘likes’ and 2300 comments. Mrs Amini, who wrote the post after trying to shop at Target for her eight-year-old daughter, said she was “overwhelmed” by the response.

“I wasn’t expecting this kind of response, but I do hope they listen to the feedback and do something about it. I’m obviously not the only one who thinks their clothing is inappropriate for little girls.”

Target has since put up a post inviting its customers to provide feedback on its childrenswear range, which groups children from 7–16 years old together. The complaints are specifically being directed at very short shorts, short skirts and dresses, strappy tops and the predominance of the colour black.

Read more at the Herald Sun’s article Outrage over Target’s ‘hooker’ clothes for girls

Opinion – It’s time to say no

All around the world scientists, psychologists and marketers are undertaking studies to find out how advertising and popular culture are affecting the way children view the world. One such study in the UK has found that brands and logos are very important, but only to some children. One of the biggest factors in how important fashion and brand names were to children was family attitudes.

It’s easy to blame a large retail outlet such as Target for stocking inappropriate children’s clothing. But Target is not trying to start new trends. When it comes down to brass tacks, Target, and stores similar to Target, are all about making money. Which means that Target stocks skimpy, inappropriate clothing not because that’s what it thinks children should be wearing, but because that’s what parents are buying for their kids.

And I think that’s the really important part of this issue—it’s up to the parents to say no. Whether that means not letting kids watch too much commercial television, or saying no to that micro-mini skirt, being a parent is about protecting your kids from having to grow up too fast. Television shows such as Dance moms and Toddlers & tiaras, which show mothers facilitating their daughters’ participation in beauty pageants and high-level dance competitions, are a prime example of what can happen when parents aren’t the ones in control. The children on those shows look like mini adults, and the result is decidedly creepy.

Luckily Australian society hasn’t reached the point where it can make a reality TV show similar to either of those mentioned above, but if the clothing being stocked in Target is anything to go by, we may be headed in the same direction as the USA.

Who do you think is to blame? Target, for stocking inappropriate clothing, parents for buying it, or the television networks who push inappropriate celebrity images at children?