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When kids dress like little adults

They say sex sells, but now it is children that are buying. Sexy clothes are not just for grown-ups anymore, fashion is now tricking down to pre-teens…

Betty Muindi @BettyMuindi

During a kids festival over the December holidays, Martha Wamayeku was shocked to see a little girl, barely eight years old with her short hair dyed in an eye-catching blonde colour.Her face was clearly powdered, her lips were red and shiny from the gloss, her eyes almost smokey and her earrings dangled playfully from her lobes.

The weather was a little hot that day and that as well reflected in her dressing because you could see almost her entire back thanks to the halter top and pick hot pants that rested just a little low on her waist.

The icing on the cake? The word ‘sexy’ was written on her front-side. “Yes, the girl was something to turn heads around. She was the sexiest girl at the festival, and she is not even in upper primary yet,” says an appalled Martha.

Mother of six and 10-year-old girls, Martha can still not comprehend why a girl so young can be dressed in so sexy clothing, “I saw a couple of other girls same age, some even younger with sparkly high heels and they walked like they had been training on a runway. Parents are no longer waiting until their little adorable girls feel self-conscious about their sexualism.

They can start almost as soon as they can walk on their two feet, even younger! I don’t know about other parents but the scene was too disturbing, I mean what is the demand to make little girls hot?” she wonders.

She thinks that children are supposed to be and act their age, and shouldn’t be rushed into an adult lifestyle before they are ready or willing. On Instagram and facebook there are thousands of photos of children, both girls and boys, dressed as if they invaded their parents’ closets.

As you click through photo after photo, children in sunglasses, peplum dresses, studded shoes, and mini-skirts. Any woman would get envious of the outfits they wear, wishing they came in adult sizes.

Hard to avoid But Nisa Wangui says it is not parents or their children’s fault to dress their children in sexy clothing. “No parent wants their child ridiculed by others for wearing a maxi dress, baggy clothes or ballerina dresses, this is fashion and it is probably going to end with time, there is no excuse for molesting a child because they walked naked,” she retorts.

She also says mature designs for little girls are hard to avoid these days, “Most shops such as Mr Price do not give you a choice as well as there are so many advertisements in magazines and on TV that are displaying provocative clothing,” she says.

The need for attention and peer approval is enormous, but how far should a child go to fit in? Imagine a child going to play with weaved hair, will that child shy away from normal childish activities out of fear of getting their new weave messed up?

Linda Wawira, a child psychologist, warns that how a child dresses as young as age three can have serious consequences including sexual harassment. “I am not saying that revealing clothing should provoke rape but we are living in a rotten society and it is up to parents to protect their children from such ills,” she says.

She says pre-teen clothing featuring sexualizing aspects, such as suggestive writing, slinky material or a revealing cut should be known as inappropriate to children. She notes that some parents dress their children in a certain way because they want to live out their unfulfilled ambitions through their children.

She warns against imposing irreversible marks on their children’s bodies such as piercings on the tongue, nose and eyebrows which could send wrong signals as they grow up or they may not like it when they are adults.

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