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Abercrombie criticized for selling push-up tops to little girls

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Push-up bikini controversy
  • The retailer advertised its "Ashley" bikini top as a "push-up triangle"
  • It has since changed the online description of the top to a "striped triangle"
  • Critics blast the retailer for being age-inappropriate
  • The company declines to comment

(CNN) -- No stranger to controversy, U.S. retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has come under fire for offering a push-up bikini top to young girls.

Its "Ashley" bikini -- described as "padded" and a "push-up" -- was posted on the Abercrombie Kids website earlier this week.

The company declined to comment Saturday but noted it has since updated the description of its bikini online.

The product is now being offered as a padded, "striped triangle." Bottoms are sold separately.

"How is this okay for a second-grader?" asked Rebecca Odes in a recent post on the Babble parenting blog.

"Playing at sexy is an inevitable and important part of growing up. But there's a difference between exploring these ideas on your own and having them sold to you in a children's catalog," she wrote.

Gail Dines, a sociology professor at Wheelock College in Boston, similarly slammed the top, saying it would encourage girls to think about themselves in a sexual way before they are ready.

"It (also) sends out really bad signals to adult men about young girls being appropriate sexual objects," she told CNN affiliate WHDH.

This is not the first time the company, known for its sexy style of marketing campaigns, has found itself in hot water with consumers.

In 2002, the retailer pulled controversial T-shirts after complaints they were racially insensitive. One shirt showed Chinese laundry workers with conical hats and the phrase, "Wong Brothers Laundry Service: Two Wongs Can Make It White."

In 2003, the company -- under pressure from some consumer groups -- said it would stop issuing racy catalogues and halt the publication of its holiday book, which featured nude young adult models in sexually suggestive poses.