Gwyneth Paltrow. Photo: Jason Merritt
First she was in trouble for not letting her kids eat carbs. Now actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been accused of sexualising children.
Paltrow's website, Goop, is promoting a range of bikinis for girls as young as four.
The Melissa Odabash bikinis are normally worn by celebrities like Rihanna and Paltrow herself, but the latest range is designed for little girls.
Bikinis for girls" from Gwyneth Paltorw's website goop.com
The two-piece bikinis, produced exclusively for Paltrow's site, has children's campaigners up in arms saying it sexualises young girls.
The black halterneck swimsuit, which costs $45, is covered in ruffles and comes in sizes for girls of four, six and eight.
The website says the design is perfect for little girls who want to match their mothers, as the top is an exact copy of the adult version – also sold on the website.
Attempts have been made in recent years to curb the sale of sexually suggestive clothing aimed at children.
Claude Knight, of UK charity Kidscape, says: "We remain very opposed to the sexualisation of children and of childhood. The dangers have been discussed at length, so it is a great pity that such trends continue and that they carry celebrity endorsement."
Managing director of Women's Forum Australia, Kristan Dooley, says: "Women's Forum is deeply concerned about the impact a highly sexualised and media-saturated culture is having on young girls today. Premature sexualisation of girls is linked with serious mental health problems such as eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression."
A spokesman for Paltrow called the criticism "absurd" saying "two-piece bathing suits have been worn by young girls for decades".
Dooley counters: "Little girls naturally want to emulate their mothers and dress up like them, this is normal. However, young girls have little understanding about what it means to be sexy and they don't understand sexualised behaviour or the consequences of dressing in a way that draws inappropriate attention to their bodies."
"It is important that mothers and other adults accept the responsibility of protecting their daughters and ensuring they dress in ways that are appropriate to their age and innocence. Scaled down versions of women's clothing that are intended to arouse sexual interest are not appropriate for young girls," she says.