Victoria's Secret: Now Contaminating our Pre-Teens?

This issue first piqued my interest when I read Rev. Evan Dolive's open letter to Victoria's Secret about their decision to launch a new line of underwear aimed at adolescent girls.

"The new brand called, “Bright Young Things,” includes lace black cheeksters with the word “Wild” emblazoned on it, green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with “Feeling Lucky?” and a lace trim thong with the words, “Call me” on the front." (The Black Sphere:Victoria’s Secret is coming for your Middle Schooler)
Don't get me wrong - I am a fan of the VS brand. I have used their perfumes, purchased their lingerie and enjoyed their fashion shows. But I am doing it at an age where I am confident enough, and old enough to understand that my self worth is not based on the size of my body. If I am healthy and happy with myself - that is the most important thing.

But definitely at 13 - this was not the case. And I remember feeling awkward, and unhappy and impressionable. And this is how the average pre-pubescent girl feels. And in the highly commercialized and - dare I say - sexualized world we live in - if as an adult women I still battle feelings of self worth - I can't even imagine what they go through now.

Sex sells. That is undeniable. And sure that is not always a bad thing. It's not just hot women that are worth marketing - check out this ad by Coke and you'll see what I mean. But should we be using sex as a marketing technique for children? They after all do draw their impressions of the world from what they see in media (Hello Disney anyone? Who else tried to chat to squirrels?) - and this is what we are teaching them.

I'm disappointed in VS. I admired the brand for being so flagrantly sexy - but making that a GOOD thing. They know their adult market - and gave it a very 'women in control' flavor. But this is not for young girls who are still discovering who they are. As Rev. Evan Dolive says,

I want my daughter (and every girl) to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence. Decisions like should I be a doctor or a lawyer? Should I take calculus as a junior or a senior? Do I want to go to Texas A&M or University of Texas or some Ivy League School? Should I raise awareness for slave trafficking or lack of water in developing nations? There are many, many more questions that all young women should be asking themselves… not will a boy (or girl) like me if I wear a “call me” thong?
I want my daughter to know that she is perfect the way she is; I want my daughter to know that no matter what underwear she is wearing it does not define her.
I believe that this new line “Bright Young Things” thwarts the efforts of empowering young women in this country. “Bright Young Things” gives off the message that women are sex objects. This new line promotes it at a dangerously young age.
C'mon VS. If you want to market to young girls - make it fun, innocent and sweet. Not sexual and lacy.


Comments

P. said…
"And in the highly commercialized and - dare I say - sexualized world we live in - if as an adult women I still battle feelings of self worth - I can't even imagine what they go through now."

Spot on! I don't know what VS is thinking, marketing this stuff to such young girls. I'm all for sexual openness and education, but this lingerie isn't about that, is it? It turns sex into a game, into a "dare". When one is old enough, one may well decide that that is their idea of sex. But at 13? I can only shudder at the impact of this stuff on impressionable young girls.

Very, very disappointed in VS.
Randii said…
First of all, I'm totally with you on this whole undertone of VS being respectable for promoting sexuality because their products are targeted to adult women. So to find out they're switching marketing lines to a younger generation is SO surprising to me. I mean their business is brilliant for the age group they do promote it to, the whole young adults (or hardly!) is so unnecessary.

"I'm disappointed in VS. I admired the brand for being so flagrantly sexy - but making that a GOOD thing. They know their adult market - and gave it a very 'women in control' flavor. But this is not for young girls who are still discovering who they are" - This bit really spoke out to me because it's just so so true, I mean I honestly just find it so bizarre.
Salvinator said…
As a brother of not 1 but 2 sisters i see where this is coming from, my youngest sister has just turned 13 and i see how everything about is beginning to change according to her role models and media she is exposed to. We lost our mom while my youngest sister was just 5 so its not like she has someone to explain all the things she is going through.... so if things like this are exposed to my lil baby sister i am definitely scared of what her self esteem would be like.
I walk around here in the malls and when I'm at Victoria secret, and there is a young teenager next to me, I'm thinking "what the hell are you doing here?, You should be wearing some full coverage cotton panties right now, not what you are holding in your hand " . Pink and VS already had a big young teenage audience and what they have done here is to capitalize on it for more profits.

It's sad that my 6 year old niece knows the word sexy thanks to gangam style, it's sad that these panties are going to be the hottest thing in the teenage world and not a Harry potter book or some chick flick!
Xelene said…
Well written post!! Boggles my mind that in this day and age, where it's possible now more than ever for women to travel roads previously closed to them, companies do this kind of hugely socially irresponsible thing. American Apparel had hoodies a while back with slogans like "Too Pretty to do math". I honestly never liked VS as a brand precisely because I think they gave ADULT women & men the wrong idea on what women usually look like.. so this only disgusts me further. bleh!
Blub The Whale said…
The world is becoming more ridiculous every day. It's a damned shame it is. With products like this and others along with irresponsible social networking. As with other things(like drinking, driving and voting, hopefully not at the same time) I think we need an age limit for social networking. It is this type of garbage that results in the fact that the average individual os now dumber than a tea cup. Not because they don't have the capacity to be intelligent but because all their mental faculties are devoted to pointless garbage. it has even become uncool to be smart. Kudos and a well written and very much needed piece.
Anonymous said…
http://jezebel.com/5992818/the-right+wing-disinformation-campaign-against-victorias-secret

Is all I'm saying...
Shara said…
Well even if it was just a media-drama I think the backlash still taught us all some valuable lessons about the image that young girls are faced with today.

VS may not be marketing to them - but they are still blurring the lines between young and adult. And they are not the only brand guilty of this.
Lea Singh said…
Thanks for your informative post, I linked to it in my own blog post here: http://leazsingh.blogspot.ca/2014/03/a-victory-for-victorias-secret.html

Lea

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