A 'spicy milk style' trend in China is driving parents to dress their young daughters in backless dresses and crop tops. State media is having none of it.

A 'spicy milk style' trend in China is driving parents to dress their young daughters in backless dresses and crop tops. State media is having none of it.
China's social media is appalled by a new trend where parents post photos of their kids wearing revealing clothes.d3sign/Getty Images
  • Chinese social media is reeling from a trend where parents dress their kids in "spicy" clothing.
  • State media has come out guns blazing against the concept, calling it "soft pornography."

Some parents in China are dressing their young daughters in backless dresses, crop tops, and miniskirts — and the internet is having none of it.

Several state-affiliated outlets issued scathing commentaries this week slamming "spicy milk style," a term used on Chinese social media to describe children posing in clothes originally designed for adult women.

The trend went viral on Weibo, China's version of Twitter, after state-owned paper Legal Daily discussed on Monday the case of a calligraphy teacher in Beijing who noticed one of her students wearing black stockings and a low-cut, bareback dress.

Her students are between six and eight years old, per the outlet. "Does a child of that age need to dress like that?" the teacher, identified by her last name as Zhu, told Legal Daily.

When the teacher confronted the girl's parents, they disagreed with her concerns, Legal Daily reported. The outlet cited further examples of parents posting photos of their children making sexualized poses in tube tops and pearl necklaces.


The outlet wrote that the clothing might look "cute and funny," but called the poses "extremely unsuitable" and accused parents of chasing clout by using their own kids in "soft pornography."

Backlash and concern over the sexualization of minors

"Spicy milk style" has since been struck with a tidal wave of online backlash and concerns over minors being sexualized. The trend received 130 million views on Weibo this week alone, per data seen by Insider.

"There are so many perverts and pedophiles nowadays, and still there are parents and businesses who will make things easy for them," one person commented.

"So whose aesthetic is this? Is it the child's own aesthetic? I think it's the parent's," another wrote.

Others were disturbed by the trend's name itself. "What is this spicy milk style? In all honesty, this term was coined by a psychopath," one user wrote.


"Spicy milk style, really disgusting buzzword," another commented.

State-owned outlet People's Daily said fashion retailers selling such clothes were "fanning the flames" of putting "sexy clothes" on children, and that parents were "blindly following the trend."

"Tight skirts, low-cut dresses, high heels. Can you even imagine this on a girl who's just four or five years old?" the outlet wrote on Tuesday.

Kindergarten teachers reported hearing their students discuss wearing miniskirts to attract attention, People's Daily added, without specifying which schools or cities these children studied in.

China Daily, a Communist Party-owned paper, criticized arguments that families have a right to dress their children however they see fit.


"Freedom of dressing is by no means unlimited freedom," it wrote on Wednesday. "Children's clothes are not miniature versions of adult clothing."

At least one store was suspended for selling these clothes

By early Friday, searches for "spicy milk style" on popular Chinese e-commerce platforms yielded mostly results for women's clothing, though several stores still featured child models posing in makeup.

Legal Daily reported that at least one children's clothing store was suspended for three days and fined, though it contested the punishment. The outlet did not name the platform.

Some children's clothing items also appear to have been discontinued on online stores, though it's unclear at exactly what point they were discontinued.

A 'spicy milk style' trend in China is driving parents to dress their young daughters in backless dresses and crop tops. State media is having none of it.
A camisole in a child's size has been discontinued. It's unclear when the top was discontinued.Screenshot/YesStyle

Under leader Xi Jinping, Chinese authorities have taken an increasingly active approach in discussing standards and norms for families and children. In 2021, the country's education ministry introduced a ban on "effeminate men" from national TV, saying it plans to counter the "feminization" of young men and boys.


In Chinese public schools, children are taught "Xi Jinping Thought," a set of the leader's ideals meant to run in parallel with Mao Zedong's own teachings.