Just two months after Abraham was criticized for having her 7-year-old daughter Sophia pose in bikinis for a photo shoot, with some saying Abraham is “sexualizing” her daughter, the Teen Mom OG star is causing controversy yet again. Ahead of the MTV show’s premiere on Aug. 2, Abraham posted a photo on Instagram of her little girl posing in a bikini.
Several Instagram users left negative comments, saying that Abraham is “exploiting” her daughter and some going as far as saying that the photo is an invitation for pedophiles. One questioned why Sophia is posing in such a mature way and in a bikini. “I know she’s a kid and doesn’t know any better, but I’m sorry I’d never allow my child to pose like this or dress the way Farrah dresses this poor kid,” chimed in Instagram user gamer_1989. “Especially with the sickos on the Internet now.” User ka_kootz wrote: “Stop posting these pics. Just let her try and be normal. Please. Do your thing, but let her be a kid.”
However, many defended Abraham, saying this was just a normal photo of a “sassy” 7-year-old in a bathing suit. Instagram user honeybee1875 wrote: “In all the picture[s] I have seen her daughter in they are no different than any other person’s pictures of their kids. I think Farrah gets criticized more is because she is not liked by most people.” User xobreezy420 agreed: “The only person wrong here is anybody who sees this in a sexual manner. Girls wear bikinis. Girls do model poses. My niece is just like this and my sister is a great mother. Y’all bent because you don’t like Farrah (me either) and don’t want to believe she is anything but a sh**y mother. You guys are sad. I think Sophia looks adorable and y’all are bugging.”
But are bikinis appropriate for little kids?
The question was posed to parents on WhatToExpect.com, with many moms responding that “any age is fine” when it comes to wearing a bikini. Other moms said they don’t mind bikinis on kids per se, but that one-pieces are more functional or that they prefer their daughters wear rash guards, since they offer much more sun protection than a bikini — something their daughters will likely thank them for later on.
Body image expert Robyn Silverman told Today that bikinis can affect a girl’s body image. “It may be no big deal when a child is 1 year old and looks as cute as can be in a baby bikini,” she said. “But as girls grow up, even at ages 3 and 4 and 5, they are getting the ‘Fat is bad,’ ‘Thin is good’ message. Those types of comments can be detrimental. And when you put a girl in a bathing suit that’s more revealing, it tends to invite more comments.”
That said, Silverman says that bikinis can be age-appropriate and that if a parent is fine with the idea, she recommends finding one that the child feels comfortable wearing.