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Sweaty Betty criticised for ‘unnecessary sexualisation’ of young girls in children's range campaign

The images have been labelled as 'inappropriate' and 'provocative'

Sarah Young
Tuesday 15 May 2018 12:48 BST
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(Sweaty Betty
(Sweaty Betty

Activewear brand Sweaty Betty has been criticised for the “unnecessary sexualisation” of young girls in campaign images for its new children’s range.

A photo shared on the retailer’s website to promote the new range shows three young girls modelling tropical print outfits including crop tops and workout shorts.

But the images have since been criticised by commenters on Twitter as “inappropriate” and “provocative”.

“I love your products, but I can’t buy from you again if you think this is an appropriate way to present kids’ clothes. Bad enough that adult women are expected to be sexy whilst exercising but now kids too?” one person wrote.

Another added: “Oh my gosh, @sweatybetty what are you thinking? Unnecessary sexualisation is bad enough, sexualising a kids’ range is even worse. What sort of message does this send out?”

Someone else agreed commenting: “This is wrong in so many ways. Way too provocative, way too voyeuristic with the middle crotch shot. And why? Are we not years past this for goodness sake. Keep up @sweatybetty.”

The children’s range, which is available in ages 11 to 13 and for toddlers aged between two and four, has also come under fire from Kate Dale, strategic lead at Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign who says the campaign could put girls off exercising.

“Women come in all shapes and sizes and all levels of ability – it’s important that they don’t feel they have to look a certain way or wear certain clothes to be active,” she told HuffPost UK.

This comes after This Girl Can’s research found that 75 per cent of girls and women want to be more active but are held back out of fear of judgement around how they look.

“They’ve told us what they see in advertising and magazine as ‘an ideal’ can stop them even starting exercise,” she explained.

Addressing the launch of the new range in a blog on the brand's website, Sweaty Betty founder, Tamara Hill-Norton, said that the promotional images feature her two daughters, her niece and a model, and were intended to be “light-hearted.”

“Since I founded Sweaty Betty, our core values have always included empower women of all ages through fitness, so I knew I wanted to encourage teens to lead a more active lifestyle in a fun and playful way,” she wrote .

“This shoot is quite a step away from our usual more serious and active images, and it was incredible to see the girls all laughing together creating these really light-hearted images.”

The Independent has contacted Sweaty Betty for comment.

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