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Cotton On Kids activewear range sparks outrage - can you see why?

Angry parents have called out Cotton On Kids over "inappropriate" activewear, but not everyone agrees.

An advertising campaign from Cotton On Kids has come under fire, with many Aussie parents calling out the brand's new range for being "inappropriate" for children.

Sparking the uproar was a recent Instagram post shared by the popular retailer to promote a collection of activewear, featuring young girls in colourful leggings with midriff-exposing crop tops.

The images sparked a debate in the comments section, with many parents suggesting the styles are not suitable for the size 1-16 children they're designed for.

"Why do little girls need to be flashing their bellies so young?" one parent complained. "Why are we putting children in crop tops? This is absurd!" complained another. "Sexualising children again Cotton On?" another criticised.

Girls wearing Cotton On Kids crop tops
These outfits from Cotton On Kids have ignited a fiery debate among Aussie parents. Source: Cotton On Kids

Parents clash over Cotton On Kids crop tops

The collection also received its fair share of positive feedback, however, with many parents saying how "cute" the range is and commenting that the leggings and matching crops are perfect for active kids who do dance, yoga and gymnastics.

One Aussie designer from fellow kids activewear brand Sunny Active, which also sells crop tops for kids, questioned parents in the thread about how the clothing can be perceived as inappropriate. "What is sexual about a crop top? It's not a push up bra," she commented. "My girls love wearing crops to acro, gym and dance classes because it gives them freedom of movement."

'Calm down'

Many mothers agreed, going so far as to say that anyone who sees a child in activewear as sexual is the person with the problem. "If you think a belly is sexual then there's something wrong with how you view little kids," commented one. "It's a crop top, not nipple tassels, calm down," another mum scoffed.

Safe environment is key: Expert

Monash University's Professor Kulkarni AM, Director of HER Centre Australia, which is dedicated to health education and research in women's mental health, says that sexualisation of girls can have a negative impact, however it's necessary to take into account the environment in which a child is raised.

"True precocious sexualisation of children can have detrimental effects on their mental health, especially if there are factors in their lives that increase their vulnerability," Professor Kulkarni told Yahoo News. "For example: girls who are only praised for their looks or body, and not for other characteristics or achievements and who live in a chaotic household without clear boundaries, poor emotional validation and limited loving care - can experience early life trauma with negative impacts on their self-esteem and mental health in later life. We want all our children to have healthy emotional and physical development to prevent a poor quality of life in their later years."

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