WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | News

Fifty shades of controversial merchandise at store teens shop at

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – It’s a popular, racy novel that’s intended for mature readers, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Now along with the book comes merchandise, but some say it’s marketed towards too young of an age group.

Everything from thigh highs with handcuff charms to handcuff and key earrings to suggestive messages that say “Unleash your inner goddess” can be found at “Icing” – a well-known mall jewelry store that many teen girls shop at.

Parents are most concerned about who is selling it and the message behind it.

“I think it’s based on a book that’s pretty trashy,” said Karen Burich. “I wouldn't want my daughter wearing that, not at all.”

The book is known for its erotic story, diving into bondage and sadomasochism. Now the merchandise, chains and all, is being sold at Icing.

“I think it’s exposing our children too young of an age to stuff like this that they mentally can't handle,” said Carie Sommer.

Brook Berg with the Family Resource Center said parents need to pay attention.

“When we expose our children, especially young children to this kind of thing, not only is it confusing but often times they don't really know all about it so that leads to Googling it and asking friends and sometimes not necessarily getting the true story,” said Berg.

One mom said she agrees that being aware is important.

“What they market is up to them but I think as parents, we have to be very aware of what our kids are doing and this is not something I’d let my daughter do,” said Jenny Blaisdell.

But regardless, parents realize it’s a marketing tactic.

“I’m really not surprised that merchandizers are marketing towards young women in such a way and encouraging them to be overly sexualized so I think it’s up to parents to talk to their daughters and just be a good role model on what they expect women to be,” said Katie Weichelt.

The store Icing is part of the “Claire’s” retail chain and on its Facebook page, it says their target demographic for the Icing store is young women 18 and older.

An employee of the Icing said the merchandise has had positive feedback as well, especially from fans of the book series.


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