Now at the mall: 'Fifty Shades' merchandise

Handcuff-themed bracelets and other items are being sold at Icing stores, causing some parents to worry about whether the material is appropriate for teens.

By Kim Peterson Feb 20, 2013 8:45AM
'Fifty Shades of Grey' on display at a book shop in central London on July 19, 2012 ( WILL OLIVER/AFP/GettyImages)Given the unbelievable popularity of the "Fifty Shades of Grey" novel, a line of related merchandise is perhaps inevitable. But what isn't so predictable is that the merchandise would be sold at mall stores frequented by teens and tweens.

Items based on the bondage-heavy novel are being sold at Icing, a jewelry and accessories store owned by Claire's. According to a Fox news report, those items include handcuff-themed bracelets and t-shirts with the phrase "Looking for Mr. Grey." Icing's collection also includes a classical-music CD with songs selected by "Fifty Shades" author E.L. James.

Claire's would not comment to a Fox news reporter on the issue, but emphasized on Facebook (FB) that the Icing stores are targeted to women over the age of 18. Claire's namesake stores cater to younger teens and girls.

Icing's Facebook page received dozens of comments on the issue. One user called the move "very poor taste and decorum," while another asked, "Why would you promote this to young teens who shop at your store?" Other users defended Icing, saying it is not a store for children.

Claire's isn't the first company to try and capitalize on the success of the erotic bestseller. Hotels around the country have debuted "Fifty Shades" packages, and there is a board game where players earn "inner goddess" tokens.

The book has even made its way into college courses. American University is offering a class based on the novel that promises to discuss sexuality, health, public relations and marketing.

But hotels and college courses are not normally the territory of teenagers. An inexpensive jewelry store at the mall that offers ear piercing, however, most certainly is. "That’s bananas to me," said Missy Suicide, founder of the Suicide Girls website, in an interview with New York Magazine. "If the mall store is selling bondage-lite accessories, that’s a different sort of world."

It's a world that some moms of teens and pre-teens aren't too comfortable with. The One Million Moms website is urging members to email Claire's and demand that the "Fifty Shades" line be removed. "Attempting to make sex and bondage cool and profiting by it is wrong when teenagers are frequently visiting the store," the website says. "Older teens may be their target market, but many tweens enter their stores and are influenced by these items as well."

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Tags: Retail
22Comments
Feb 20, 2013 10:37AM
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If Icings is in fact for adults then it is the parent's responsibility to make sure their tween and young teenage girls do not enter that store without them present. I don't think Icings should remove the merchandise in a store that is meant for adults. If parents are so concerned then make them shop at Claire's which is in fact for teenagers. Stop complaining and be responsible parents. Oh, and before you ask...yes I am a parent and I have enough sense to monitor where my kids shop and what they shop for.
Feb 20, 2013 11:02AM
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Everyone should quit their bitching. It's up to the parents to keep them out of stores they don't want them in. Don't punish the bushiness that caters to adults because they can't keep a bouncer outside. Oh and if we're really going to whine and complain about this, here's some food for thought: Hot topic, Spencer's. The two stores teens and tweens frequent. hmmmm and what do they sell again? Anyone??
Feb 20, 2013 11:41AM
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Have you been into Spencers?  There is quite a bit of raunchy stuff in there.  You can watch the teens and tweens going in that store constantly.  It's a far cry from 50 Shades jewelry.
Feb 20, 2013 11:44AM
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This is another example of people attempting to shift what is "parental responsibility" on to business owners.  TO PARENTS:  If you raise your children up properly, with respect for themselves and others, then you have nothing to worry about......

Feb 20, 2013 10:51AM
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I think,Once, teens find out its a book and not Eye Shadow then they'll leave!
Feb 20, 2013 11:54AM
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Everyone that purchases books understands that when a book is wrapped - it means the contents are not to be seen by the masses - it's really the only thing someone could do to help getting that material out of young readers hands (in reponce to the comment about the books).  As far as this line in Icing goes - for the love of god and all that's holy!!!  Stop buy pants that your daughter has to pour herself into in the morning, a shirt that covers her belly, and butt floss for undies - I would certainly start there before I start screaming and dancing over a handcuff bracelet!  LEARN TO BE PARENTS AND NOT THEIR FRIENDS!!! Guide them as to why you aren't buying stuff for them - LEARN TO SAY NO!!!  And one more very important thing, simply because you do not want your daughter doing or wearing something - doesn't mean everyone around you should follow YOUR rules you set out for your life style...  calling a company for a matter like this is beyond **** and shows how many Moms cannot be mothers. 
Feb 20, 2013 11:48AM
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If the book had removed what you call "raunchy sex parts" then there would be no point in reading it.  It's a very good read and stimulates the imagination which I think is the purpose of reading fiction.  There are son many other books out there with the same subject matter and other stores in the mall, like Spencers, that sell worse than what you will see at Icing.  If its not for yu, than its not for you, but it is for some.
Feb 20, 2013 12:02PM
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Guess these folks have never been to a mall where there is a Spencers...
Feb 20, 2013 3:14PM
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I am going to take both sides of the story on this one...

 

1. I am all for parents being responsible but you people are a bit silly. It is a mall. If I can't let my teen go to a mall by him/herself, where can I let them go? And if they are by themselves, I can only hope they listen and don't easily give into peer presure if one of their friends wants to go in. I can track receipts to an extent if they actually buy anything with a credit card but I can't control them looking. If a store is truly for 18+, then they shouldn't let kids under 18 inside without an adult. If you know you have tweens walking your store without adults, don't tell me you are an 18+ store because you aren't. You are "an anyone with money" store (nothing wrong with that except lying about it as so many stores do). I'm tired of hearing stores claim to be for 18+ when everyone knows they don't care how old they are.

 

2. Nothing described in this article is worse than what you can see at Victoria Secret and every mall I have been into has at least 1 VS or similar store with pictures of models in lace lingerie. If you are going to complain about "Icing" products, you should be all over VS too.

 

Now that I have successfully taken both sides, I'll get to my overall opinion. If you don't like it, tell your kids to stay out. If you can't trust your kids to do what you say when you aren't around, don't let them go to the mall without you. The fact of the matter is between TV, radio, books, stores, friends, etc, your kids will see and hear worse pretty much every single day. Rather than shelter them, teach them so that when they see things you disagree with, they know how they should react. They are teens and will make mistakes but that is how they learn. The more you teach instead of shelter, the fewer mistakes they should make unless they are just stupid.

Feb 20, 2013 12:11PM
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I'm all for free enterprise and marketing of items especially designed for women. Teens entering and purchasing these items..t-shirts, bracelets or other items obviously have little or no knowledge of the specific area of The Mr. Greys area of expertise. Then again it is just an item of attraction. Who Knows what lies ahead.
Feb 20, 2013 7:40PM
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OOOOOOHHHHHHH  BOO HOO HOO.  If ya dont want your kid lookiin at stuff at the mall, dont take em there on saturday morning drop em off and pick em up later in the afternoon.  Quit trying to be a buddy to your children and be a parent for Gods sake.
Mar 2, 2013 3:12PM
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Have any of you even seen the stuff at Icings? I went there last Saturday to purchase some of the stuff and it was all quite tame. The handcuff bracelet is made of mostly beads connected with little tiny cuffs that could barely be called fingercuffs. The other bracelet is the same beads but has a saying on it that says, "Find your inner Goddess." Harmless. The t-shirts are no different than the t-shirts anybody else wears. They're not tight or show off your middle. Then there was a blindfold which looks just like the sleep mask I where. I also purchased a keychain shaped like a key. Again harmless. So before all of you "Responsible parents" start bitching...check the stuff out to see if it's worth the gripe. Don't judge it based on your lack of knowledge of a book.
Feb 20, 2013 4:59PM
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It's an Obama conspiracy to see how many teens need free whips and chains to go along with the condoms.
Feb 20, 2013 11:04AM
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Not surprising that  someone came out with 50 Shades merchandise based on the books...

I always joked that Tarjay should cross merchandise handcuffs, ties, and masks with the books.

But actually selling the products in a store frequented by tween and teen girls is tasteless.

Not to be a prude, but this development is further evidence of the erosion of American morals.

But then again, many kids today resemble Mad Max movie actors with face tats and piercings.
Feb 20, 2013 10:55AM
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Extremely wrong.  The books should have required ID stating that you over 21 to be able to read.  I am not a prude and a pretty free thinker but I started to skip all the racy **** just to get to the end of the book.  If you took out all the weird sex acts the books would have been probably 100 pages each.  The jewelry is completely unnecessary.
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