'Let kids be kids': Fierce backlash after Kmart bans child bride dress
Kmart was quick to act following one mother's concerns.
By Practical Parenting Team
October 23 2019
A new campaign calling on Kmart to let 'kids be kids' has been launched, following the store's decision to ban a child bride costume from sale.
The ban followed comments from a Melbourne mother who suggested the $6 wedding dress costumes were offensive and normalised the crime of forced child marriage.
The organiser of a campaign to bring back the costumes, Sally Lord, said many parents disagreed with Kmart's decision to withdraw the costume from sale.
"By taking this off the shelves you have taken away the dream (for) children like my own who wish to dress up as a bride or wear it ... or hack it for a Halloween," Lord said.
The retail giant offered an apology on Tuesday night for selling the costumes, saying it had not meant to cause offence.
"Kmart Australia regrets the decision to range the bride costume," a Kmart spokesperson said.
"It was not intended to cause offence and we sincerely apologise. We have made the decision to withdraw this product."
The costume was made for girls as young as four.
Shannon said the sale of the costumes was "beyond inappropriate" and Kmart had a "social responsibility" to pull the item off their shelves.
"Child marriage means child abuse and torture in its worst forms - paedophilia, child rape, child slavery, child sex trafficking," she said.
World Vision speaks
Shannon's views were backed by World Vision Australia, whose child rights advocate Mercy Jumo said: "Anything that trivialises child marriage is disturbing".
Jumo said we should be "affirming" young girls and encouraging them to aspire and to reach their potential.
"Children around the world dress up. They play," Ms Jumo said.
"But children could rather be dressed up as lawyers, or as engineers, or as doctors. "Are we affirming them to grow and to thrive? Are we protecting them as children?"World Vision says child marriage has a devastating impact on young girls. Credit: World Vision Australia
Ms Jumo, who grew up in Zimbabwe, said child marriage was a gravely serious issue around the world, and prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia.
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18, which is one every 23 minutes.
"Children should be in school. When girls are married they are out of the classroom," she said.
"They have health concerns associated with childbearing and HIV.
"There are so many negatives associated with child marriage."