Retailers ban 'sexy' underwear for children under 12

Thongs, black underwear and padded bras have been banned for sale to under-12s by high street retailers after a backlash against the sexualisation of children.

Marks & Spencer, Next, Tesco and other chains have agreed to guidelines that bar them from stocking clothes that "sexualise or unduly gender stereotype" children under 12.

The guidelines are published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) today as the Government releases a review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children, which is expected to recommend several steps to reverse a trend considered by many parents to be damaging and weird.

David Cameron ordered the review by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers' Union, following a series of examples of leading retailers using sexual or inappropriate branding on children's products.

In two speeches, in 2006 and last year, Mr Cameron criticised the sale of a range of padded bras and sexy knickers for the under-10s by Bhs (quickly withdrawn), a "Lolita" bed aimed at six-year-olds and T-shirts for primary age children that carried the Playboy logo. He described Bhs's padded bras and sexy knickers as "harmful and creepy".

The guidelines rule out slogans and imagery with "sexually suggestive, demeaning, derogative or political material, or phrasing that could be interpreted as such."

Colour ranges and cut must be "age appropriate", they stipulate, forbidding first bras being black or having padding or under-wiring.

The eight-page document says: "Knickers and pants must provide modesty; thongs are not appropriate for children."

It advises marketing directors: "Photography should feature children in natural poses in a childlike environment, appropriate to the age range concerned. When make-up is used, it should be as natural as possible."

Argos, Debenhams, George at Asda, John Lewis, M&S, Next, Peacocks, Sainsbury's and Tesco have signed up to the voluntary initiative. Primark – found in an investigation by Channel 4 to carry the most sexualised of children's products – and Sir Philip Green's Bhs and Topshop chains, have not, because they are not members of the BRC.

Retailers hope that, by announcing these moves on the day of the launch of a government review into children's sexualisation, they will pre-empt any criticism.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Owen Farrell scores the first try of the Premiership final
rugby unionLive: All the latest from Twickenham for the Premiership final against Bath
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood
footballDanny Higginbotham: Tim Sherwood must play game of two halves to cause major upset
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor