I was having a browse in the Marks and Spencer lingerie section this afternoon. I don’t personally find that M&S bras fit me terribly well, but with Belle approaching those awkward teenage years I thought I would check out the training bra section, just to see what I was getting myself into.
What I was looking for was that next step up from the crop top – something that’s barely worth wearing but that makes the teenager wearing it feel like they’re not just wearing a vest. What I wasn’t expecting to find was padded, underwired bras in a size 28AA.
Padded and underwired??
28AA isn’t even a size, so why on earth does it need underwiring? What the hell would a child need padding for??
I kept looking, sure that I must be missing something, but absolutely every entry level bra they had was either padded or ‘moulded’. I’m not sure what the technical definition of moulded is but it basically seemed to be another word for padded. It certainly wasn’t the soft, flexible cotton I was hoping for.
I asked a member of staff, wondering if I was looking in the wrong section, and even they were confused.
“Hmmm,” she said, “it doesn’t look like we have anything without wire. You don’t really need underwiring at this age.”
No, you do not, so why make teeny tiny underwired bras at all??
“I was really looking for something a little less inappropriate,” I said, “something without padding.”
The sales assistant agreed.
“Absolutely,” she said, “you want something soft and without wires.”
We both looked at the racks of mini push-up bras sadly.
“We don’t have any of those,” she said.
Am I being unreasonable to be so outraged by this? At what point did a design team sit down and think “I know, let’s create a range of underwear for pre-teens, girls barely out of primary school, that completely sexualises them unnecessarily and is uncomfortable! Hoorah!”