Primark will turn you into a paedophile, according to The Sun

14 April 2010

To quote an old Robin Ince joke, it's not unusual for tabloid stories to have the same effect as a Magic Eye poster; you stare at the story for 20 seconds or so before you realise: "this is bullshit."

It started off as a reasonably serious story. Primark is accused of exploiting children over its decision to sell a padded bikini top for young girls. The £4 piece of swimwear was produced in sizes for children as young as seven years old - by the measure of any right-minded person, there's really no need for a seven year old girl to pretend to have developed breasts.

Of course it's parents who are ultimately responsible for what their child wears - a point not made by the media here because it gets in the way of the story - but the premature sexualisation of children in society is a serious topic, one that's far broader and deeper than Primark's crass attempts at profiteering and exploitation. Primark have now withdrawn the swimwear from sale.

However.

The way the story has been handled by the press is staggering. For starters, the quote picked up by all the media is one attributed to Shy Keenan, "of The Phoenix Chief Advocates which helps victims of paedophiles" according to the BBC. She is quoted as saying:

"It never fails to amaze me just how many High Street household names are now prepared to exploit the disgusting 'paedophile pound'."

Read it again - that statement becomes more ridiculous the more you look at it. Used in this context, Keenan is accusing Primark of attempting to sell this clothing to paedophiles. Obviously that's stupid; Keenan has used the phrase in entirely the wrong context, but none of the press have bothered to correct it because it's a hard-hitting soundbite, even if it doesn't actually make sense.

But then, to even suggest that Primark are somehow deliberately selling these clothes specifically for the titillation of paedophiles is an outrageous accusation; at worst, Primark has gone too far in following the global trend of exploiting the desire of children to be adults before their time. And what is the paedophile pound, anyway? How much is it worth to the UK economy?

That doesn't stop matters getting more outrageous, however. Here's the Sun's take on it:
Bitterwallet - The Sun and Primark selling bikinis
"Encouraging paedohilia" - The Sun is suggesting that Primark's actions could turn members of the public into paedophiles. In the same way that watching Mamma Mia will turn a straight man gay, presumably. Utter, utter bollocks and another example of a serious point being commandeered for the sake of shameless and reckless scaremongering.

So much of what you read in the press isn't news; it's a manipulated, bastardised version of the truth, a deliberately inflamed opinion or whorish PR. But then I've heard that reading The Sun can give you puss-ridden cock splinters, so you'd do well to stay away.

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40 comments

  • Deech
    They just announced theya re removing these from sale...but I'll give you a week or 3 to catch up :0
  • Andy D.
    Yeah, he mentioned that in the story.
  • Mr G.
    You say that claiming Mamma Mia can turn men gay is "utter, utter bollocks". But so shortly after the release of Mamma Mia butch macho hunk Ricky Martin suddenly, and completely out of the blue, turns gay - coincidence? I think not!
  • Amanda H.
    This item is sexist. They should at least sell padded boys swim shorts.
  • Mr G.
    BTW, I can't believe the Sun failed to coin the portmanteau word "Paedokini" and call the whole sorry affair "Paedokinigate". The public needs to be given such words to avoid using too many syllables - just like we need Subo for Sue Boyle and Scarjo fro Scarlett Johanessen.
  • Mr G.
    You don't really want a seven-year-old lad walking around looking like he's got half a metre of bratwurst down his Speedos. I found it embarrassing at that age...
  • Fatal E.
    Surely by their name and nature paedos are attracted to Children? So bikinis that make the child look like an adolescent would pretect them from the pube dodgers?
  • kev
    how do they know they arent for women with dwarfism?
  • Paul
    Storm in an A-Cup if you ask me!! Geddit? T-Cup... Meh.
  • ScottC
    Dont like the Sun, but theyve done and said nothing of the sort that you are stating - they have reported someone elses comments.
  • SARAH
    while you all may mock and joke the seriousness of the matter is forgotten it is that the high street is to blame for infulencing our children to look older on more sexual for the sake of filling ther pockets, and the papers jump on the band wagon and confuse matters when they should focus on telling the truth after all it is the public that spend there money buying these papers so they shouldnt be full of shit. when somthing realy happens yes the papers want us to believe they are caring but other times they are just like the high stree shops out to make a quick buk.
  • SARAH
    while you all may mock and joke the seriousness of the matter is forgotten it is that the high street is to blame for infulencing our children to look older and more sexual for the sake of filling ther pockets, and the papers jump on the band wagon and confuse matters when they should focus on telling the truth after all it is the public that spend there money buying these papers so they shouldnt be full of shit. when somthing realy happens yes the papers want us to believe they are caring but other times they are just like the high stree shops out to make a quick buk.
  • SJT
    You said that once already....
  • SARAH
    my daughter is 10 and doesnt like wearing dresses or skirts because she says she hates her legs because they are hairy and gets inbarresed as her chest is quite big for her age but at the end of the day who has she got to inpress, NO ONE she should be a little girl not worried about how other people look at her, but thanks again to the high street shops and the papers bull shit thats how she feels. im a mum that want my children to stay children for as long as possible but thanks to sociaty thats taken out of my hands THANKS A BUNCH!!
  • jade
    Okay this is all utter B*LLOCKS and gone well out of proportion. Ive always been aware, even from the age of 7, that when you get cold, like jumping into cold water for instance, theres a possibilty that your nipples are gonna go errect. Ild much rather have my child wearing a padded bikini than have a pervert stare at her nipples showing through the bikini...
  • myiphoneisbroken
    So no mention that (according to the daily mail) Primark are not only removing these from sale, but also donating all profit from the line to a childrens charity (and have, of course, apologised)? Have to say the DM kind of skipped over that bit but least they included it. You are right, the story is majorly flawed. I have a 7 year old sister and she wouldn't even understand what this product is/does, let alone care. Her thought process for liking or disliking clothes is whether they have Hannah Montanna on or are a colour/pattern she likes. The focus alone should be on the parents purchasing these products for their young'uns.
  • Jingle S.
    @SARAH '...the High street is to blame for infulencing (sic) our children to look older and more sexual......' So, parents have no responsibility whatsoever? Come on, have a word with yourself. Surely there are no matters to be confused about if you are a responsible parent who can see that putting your daughter into clothing such as that described is not the way to go.
  • Beer B.
    [...] day just gets more deranged the longer it goes on. First off we’ve had beer for children, then padded bikinis for children – now it’s beer for women! Whatever the sod [...]
  • Paul S.
    Scott - please read the Sun's article and find me a quote that says the clothing was "encouraging paedohilia”. You won't. These are the two quotes from the Sun's editorial: "They said little girls wearing them would be sexualised and made attractive to predatory perverts." "Primark was last night accused of encouraging paedophilia by selling the padded bikinis for girls." The closest any of the quotes from interviewees gets to those statements is this: "Kids may be learning how to look sexy in an adult way but no one is teaching them what to do if they receive unwelcome robust adult attention." No mention of paedophilia. No mention of predatory perverts. And I imagine that yes, a seven year with breasts would get attention from adults, the majority of which would be wondering why the hell a seven year old has breasts. It takes a huge leap from that quote, and a massive amount of scaremongering, to reach the conclusion that a swimsuit "encourages" paedophilia. It's the Sun interpretation, not a quote of any sort. And if you'd like to explain how you can even "encourage" a person to develop such a specific psychological disorder, I'd love to hear it. Sarah - please go back and read the story. The exploitation of children in this manner isn't mocked at all.
  • Johnters
    Jesus. No one is looking at your kids anyway. Chill Winston. I spent most of my childhood in the buff, and not once did someone try to paedo me.
  • Yue
    I'm actually surprised the Sun didn't picture a kid wearing it. They're all a bunch of pervs on that paper, guaranteed titillation despite the story's content. bet they loved this one.
  • Fatal E.
    I'm guessing you don't read papers Sarah, since you are boarderline illiterate. Lets all hope you don't help your daughter with her homework.
  • psst
    F.E, talking of illiterate I won't point out the 'boarderline' in your post is supposed to be spelt 'borderline' ;) :P
  • Paedo-Finder-General
    There was a spoof documentary programme in the '90's called Brass Eye, that did a Paedophile special, which caused outrage in the media. The media's reaction to this is EXACTLY what they were spoofing in that episode, and the media didn't get it then, and wont get it now.......Chris Morris is a genius!
  • Nobby
    I don't think little girls should wear these bikini tops. Or their mums.
  • shinkyshonky
    I see the twatty papers get it wrong again...they love their soundbites Seriously you have to question parents who would let them wear the (made under duress for equilavent of 99p)bikini`s...just show `s how fucked up it all is oh and sarah...you haven`t been spraying paediatrician on any primark shops....... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/wales/901723.stm
  • Hugh J.
    I put a sock down my panties for extra size. Does that make me a peadophile?
  • Nobby
    No, it makes you a sock cock. On another point, does it balance out your arse?
  • No y.
    marketing has gone full circle. Sexualised products for kids, tecky kiddy toys 4 adults.
  • JP
    It's sort of ironic that Paul has taken "encourage Paedophilia" to mean "turn people into Paedophiles" - pretty sensationalit and "Sun-esque", no? "Encourage a disorder in someone" does not specifically mean "bring about a new disorder in someone". The Sun may well have meant that the clothing encourages the current behaviour of existing Paedophiles - which is fair enough. (Disclaimer: I loathe tabloids. But I enjoy pointing out irony more than I loathe tabloids.)
  • c. s.
    welcome to PAEDO-GEDDON!
  • SARAH
    @Jingle Jangle Scarecrow actualy i do dress my daughter like a little girl not a hoe and whilst my spelling may not be up to scratch my morals are!!!!!!!!!!!!!! obviously unlike yours.
  • Nobby
    @SARAH, the papers are not in it to make a quick buck. They have been around a long time and don't make money very fast. Yes, they exaggerate stories, since that makes people talk about them and buy the papers. But just as you don't have to buy revealling clothese for children, you don't have to buy the tabloids either.
  • Fatal E.
    That was intentional - It just wouldn't be a post mocking spelling and grammar without a spelling or gramatical error in it. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
  • numptyj
    WTF IS DIS REAL?
  • SARAH
    @NOBBY OK NOT A QUICK BUCK but you no wot i ment, AND I DONT buy them or reveling clothes for my children but the children are still infulenced by what they see around then these days, its all crap if you ask me kids should be kids the pedos should be tourched and the shops should be boycoted and maby i should brush up on my spelling if there are idiots out there that would rather center on my spelling than the point being made, primark are in the wrong pearents are to blame if they buy them and the papers are full of shit, the end.
  • andy y.
    Sarah would you like to try out my ducking stool?
  • Paul S.
    JP - "encouraging paedophilia" isn't the same as "encouraging paedophiles"; if The Sun meant the latter but said the former, they really ought to be more careful. Either way, it's still outrageous horseshit - we can both agree on that :)
  • Jingle S.
    @SARAH You really are a bit of a spesher aren't you? Perhaps you'll want to read my original post and reconsider your response to my post. You may want to wipe the ketchup off your face and move the pizza boxes out of the way while you're doing it as well. Or is Mummy 'cooking' tonight? I hear Iceland do a great range of salt/sugar/fat-laden chod for divs like you to feed your kids.
  • Nobby
    @ SARAH, so you think that people should be torched / burnt to death as punishment? Why not go all the way and change the law so that kids that steal sweets from the newsagents have their hands cut off. And women that post rude words like shit on a public internet site are banned from the internet, and forced to eat only soap for a week.

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