Having heard the latest uproar caused by Victoria’s Secret’s Bright Young Things lingerie line, I decided to check it out for myself. Many parents are outraged by what they see as a blatant attempt to market sexy lingerie and undies to their underage daughters.
The attached video from ABC News makes clear, by showing underwear models in close-up shots that give the impression you are viewing the perky derrieres of fourteen year old girls, this marketing campaign looks to be aimed at a young audience. Not that all of the Victoria’s Secret runway show are not prurient in nature. They are. But there is a difference in marketing to those over the age of consent and young girls. Despite Victoria Secret’s protestations that Bright Young Things are only being marketed to college-aged women, it appears they have a younger audience in mind, namely tweeners and teens. Check it out and see for yourself:
ABC News’ Christina Ng reports:
Items in the PINK campaign with the slogan “Bright Young Things” reportedly include underwear with words and phrases like “dare you,” “feeling lucky” and “call me” on the front and back. PINK is the line of items at Victoria’s Secret targeted at younger women…
A Texas father of a 3-year-old girl wrote and open letter to the company that has gone viral.
“I don’t want my daughter to ever think that her self-worth and acceptance by others is based on the choice of her undergarments,” Evan Dolive wrote. “I don’t want my daughter to ever think that to be popular or even attractive she has to have emblazon words on her bottom.”
“I want my daughter (and every girl) to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence,” he wrote. “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?”
Ng further reports that “Victoria’s Secret insists that the “Bright Young Things” was just a slogan used to coincide with spring break and not a new collection targeted at younger girls.”
Sorry. I do not buy that.
From the time females are toddlers, we are infested with sexualized images of women. Girls need the opportunity to develop mentally, emotionally and physically at their own pace and after their own hearts – not to be fed the notion, or deal with peer pressure, that encourages girls to value themselves only for their appearance.
One of the moms in this video complained that we should “just let kids be kids.” While there is no way to insulate young girls from the messages with which they are bombarded through social and mainstream media, marketing campaigns and products such as Bright Young Things by Victoria’s Secret only exacerbate the problem.
Per Ms. Ng:
Comments made by Victoria’s Secret chief financial officer Stuart Burgdoerfer in January are also drawing fire.
“When somebody’s 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be?” Burgdoerfer said at a conference, according to Bloomberg. “They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at Pink.”
“Cool” is not manifested by wearing underwear that says “dare you” or “feeling lucky” or “pink.” Cool is about believing in yourself and thinking you have a lot to bring to the table, not whether you are imitating the alleged actions of these “older” “college-aged” women or not.
The words advertised on this underwear for women (or girls) are questionable in any case. The message reads “trashy” at any age and is not about owning one’s sexuality as much as supporting an adolescent male fantasy about how sexually active women behave.
It is also important to note that kids have access to technology that is well past their maturity level. 25% of young girls use their Iphones to send nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves over the internet. “Sexting,” is not a high self-esteem decision – and has sometimes been accompanied by deadly consequences.
I have no objection to capitalism, but if indeed Victoria’s Secret is looking to increase their market share, why don’t they market sexy lingerie to older women? We are still pretty hot ourselves and not invisible and not dead. When was the last time you saw a Victoria’s Secret model over 40 or 50. They might be surprised at who is out here. How’s that for an idea?
Anita Finlay is the author of Dirty Words on Clean Skin, a shocking exposé examining how women are treated in the political sphere and by big media. Available in print and Kindle editions on Amazon — 3 months at #1 in Women in Politics Books.
Like Anita Finlay, Author on Facebook.
Follow @AnitaFinlay on Twitter.