Angry parents have forced Next to withdraw a T-shirt aimed at girls under six bearing the provocative slogan

 

Angry parents have forced Next to withdraw a T-shirt aimed at girls under six bearing the provocative slogan: ‘So many boys, so little time.’

Hundreds complained that the tops on sale at the high street chain presented youngsters as sexual objects.

Child welfare campaigners warned that the clothes were a symptom of the increasing pressure on children to grow up more quickly.

‘It is disgusting,’ said a spokesman for the charity Kidscape. ‘It is encouraging girls to look at themselves as sex objects.

‘This is not only harmful to their development, it is putting their safety at risk by sending signals saying “I’m fair game, talk to me if you like”.

‘Next is right to withdraw them and parents are right to be concerned.’

One mother, Rachel Brewer, 34, from South London, said: ‘I went into my local store to buy some clothes for my young daughter for our summer holiday and was absolutely horrified when I saw this T-shirt.

‘If my little girl, who is only three, had worn it, she would have been branded a tart. I find it incredibly offensive.’

The T-shirts have been on sale at £5.99 in stores across the country since January as part of Next’s summer ranges. The chain only decided to remove them after being bombarded with complaints.

A discussion on a radio show in London sparked a frenzy of phone calls which jammed its head office switchboard and prompted executives to act.

A spokesman for leading children’s charity NCH said: ‘We are concerned about the trend for children’s clothing and magazines to be quite adult and sexual.

‘Children are already under pressure to grow up quickly and these tops from Next were increasing that pressure.

‘Childhood is important and should not be something that youngsters rush to escape.

‘We wonder why there is a rising rate of teenage pregnancies. Well, there is a connection with this kind of thing. It is very irresponsible of manufacturers to make these kind of things.’

A statement from Next yesterday said: ‘This T-shirt was never meant to be offensive but, as a result of the radio programme making it clear that some people found it so, it has been taken off sale today.’

The controversy follows the removal of a range of sexually provocative underwear for girls from the Argos Additions catalogue after pressure from appalled parents and politicians.

The store was besieged with complaints at G- string pants and padded bras for girls as young as nine emblazoned with I Love Me.

Argos said it would discuss all future children’s ranges with Kidscape.

Last year, Woolworth’s banned the magazine Mad About Boys aimed at nine to 12-year-old girls which features articles on boyfriends and dieting, and has pin-ups of teenage boys.

Critics said the glossy monthly encourages under-age girls to become ‘sexualised’.
Dailymail.

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