‘Lolita’ children’s beds cause a stir in UK

Woolworths stores in Britain have halted the sale of ”Lolita” beds designed for children, after a parents’ organisation complained the name is synonymous with sexually active preteens.

Woolworths said staff members who administered the retail chain’s website that sold the beds had been unaware of the name’s connection with Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 novel Lolita and two film adaptations, including a 1997 one starring Jeremy Irons.

The novel — which centres on protagonist Humbert Humbert’s obsession with 12-year-old Dolores Haze — has led to the name ”Lolita” being translated as a sexually active or flirtatious young girl.

Woolworths cancelled its sale of the Lolita Midsleeper Combi bedroom set on Wednesday, the same day the Raisingkids parents’ group had called to complain about the name, Woolworths spokesperson Lisa Lim said by telephone on Sunday. The set, made and delivered by an outside supplier, costs £395.

”There aren’t many people in the company, in the whole world, who know about the Lolita book or films,” Lim said. ”There might be a few people in the country who have a problem with it, but it’s just a name.”

She said Woolworths would speak with supplier, however, about how the branding of the product came about.

Raisingkids said it was pleased Woolworths had halted sale of the product.

”It’s interesting to see how fast a multinational company can move if it’s worried about its public image,” Raisingkids said on its website, calling the product’s use of the Lolita name ”unbelievably bad taste”.

The group’s website also contained comments by some parents. One member using the name TootsieBlue wrote: ”It’s a simple matter that some people know that the name Lolita has a connection with paedophiles and are uncomfortable with a little girl’s bed being called that.” — Sapa-AP

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