Gwyneth Paltrow Accused of Sexualizing Kids

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow just cannot catch a break! Less than a week after her cookbook It’s All Good garnered criticism for its oblivious tone, the actress and lifestyle guru has come under fire for the latest product on her GOOP website: Bikinis for four-to-eight-year-olds. The thing is, several British moms think that the two-pieces are way too grown-up for their kids, and that Gwyneth should know better.

This photo is of one of the child models on the GOOP website. To be fair, she does seem to be adopting a rather adult pose, staring off into the distance rather than, I don’t know, playing in the sand. But what do we think of the ruffled black bikini–it also comes in navy–she’s modeling? I know that I’ve seen plenty of two-pieces on the rack at Target that are perfectly inoffensive. But this… this looks kind of skimpy. (And it’s certainly not the first time: Mom365’s own Debate Mom recently wrote about finding children’s bathing suits with pieces cut out on the sides.)

This story brings up the constant question of whether celebrities should be hyper-aware of their influence on trends and the zeitgeist. By nature of their fame they’re tastemakers; Gwyneth encourages that even more by volunteeringtips in her newsletter and cookbook–and now, the catalogue section of her website.

Ironically, the price point ($45) is really reasonable for one of Gwyneth’s collaborations; the problem here is how adult the kids seem. Claude Knights, from the charity Kidscape, told The Daily Mail that “the dangers [of sexualizing children] have been discussed at length, so it is a great pity that such trends continue and that they carry celebrity endorsement.”

Writing for The Telegraph, mother Matilda Reid brings up another point that cuts even deeper: How these bikinis are telling girls that they have to emulate their mothers. “Children are not mini versions of their mother,” she writes, “nor should they aspire to be.” Growing up in Marin County, California, I saw this weird best friend/competitor dynamic far too often among my peers and their mothers. That’s the last thing that little girls need.

Most of all, this story makes me wonder if Gwyneth would consider the bathing suits inappropriate for her eight-year-old daughter Apple. She’s tried out her other GOOP recommendations on her kids before, after all. In response to this backlash, her rep would only call the criticism “absurd.” He added, “Two-piece bathing suits have been worn by young girls for decades.”

[via The Cut]

Photo: GOOP