Massive protests against clothing firm Ellos and its two-piece bikini for girls as young as two months old, resulted in the firm withdrawing the items and apologizing for its error.
“Ellos is a family company. We do not want anyone taking offence from our assortment,” said Per-Olf Gustafsson of Ellos to Aftonbladet.
“We have erred in this case and we will do our best to ensure that there is no repeat.”
Many of the outraged critics of Ellos’ bikini were concerned that the item contributes to the sexualisation of small children’s bodies and that the company has a responsibility for the gender roles that children grow up with.
The Local spoke to Karin Hansson of the Forum for feminist parents (Foff) and asked if this isn’t all a bit of a storm in a tea cup.
“Previously I would have thought that this was outrageous, but now I don’t really know how I feel. The children are part of the adult world and the adult world is sexualized. They have to learn to deal with this too.”
The Local: Do companies have a special responsibility for the gender education of children?
“Companies are also citizens. The responsibility is a democratic one and we all share it. The whole society.”
The Local: So how can that democratic responsibility be taken?
“I wish everyone would stop buying these clothes. But it is not easy finding anything else. You could go to some alternative store in Stockholm maybe but which parents have the time and can afford that?”
The offending item was a two-piece pink bikini in a 1950s pin-up style designed to enhance the bust.
Per-Olof Gustavsson declined to comment on just when he considers the suitable age to start with bikini tops for girls.