An open letter to Victoria’s Secret regarding their choice to advertise an underwear line at young teenagers.
Editor’s note: Two weeks ago, a dad wrote a letter to Victoria’s Secret about “Bright Young Things”, which turned out not to be a new product line but an ad campaign for its “college-age” Pink Line targeted for spring breakers.
According to Business Insider: “There never was product that was called ‘Bright Young Things,’ no product line was called that,” an unnamed spokeswoman told Women’s Wear Daily. “It [the undies] was just part of a normal Pink product line. I’m not sure why people thought that it was something else.”
And spring break is just for college students.
The Daily Beast wrote:
The models for the new range are noticeably younger than those of the regular Victoria’s Secret brand.
Up until now, the company has made no secret of its interest in targeting a younger audience.
“When somebody’s 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be?” Victoria’s Secret CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer said at a conference in January, according to Business Insider. “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.”
The Pink line includes typically sexy VS underwear with messages like “Call Me”, “I Dare You”, and “Wild”. Sounds like the kind of thing you put on heart-shaped Valentine’s candy, not genital covering. This kind of advertising–sex messaging to teens–is nothing new, but sex messaging on teens?
Here’s the letter, originally run 3.22.13, that fueled the backlash against the line and the ad campaign. It’s still valid, despite the misinformation.
Dear Victoria’s Secret,
I am a father of a three year old girl. She loves princesses, Dora the Explorer, Doc McStuffins and drawing pictures for people. Her favorite foods are peanut butter and jelly, cheese and pistachios.
Even though she is only three, as a parent I have had those thoughts of my daughter growing up and not being the little girl she is now. It is true what they say about kids, they grow up fast. No matter how hard I try I know that she will not be the little ball of energy she is now; one day she will be a rebellious teenager that will more than likely think her dad is a total goof ball and would want to distance herself from my embarrassing presence.
I know that this is far down the line and I try to spend as much time as I can with her making memories of this special time.
But as I read an article today posted on The Black Sphere, it really got me thinking that maybe the culture that we currently find ourselves in is not helping the cause.
Recently I read an article that Victoria’s Secret is launching a line of underwear and bras aimed at middle school aged children. The line will be called “Bright Young Things” and will feature ” lace black cheeksters with the word “Wild” emblazoned on them, green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with “Feeling Lucky?” and a lace trim thong with the words, “Call me” on the front.”
As a dad, this makes me sick.
I believe that this sends the wrong message to not only my daughter but to all young girls.
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. 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. 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.
I implore you to reconsider your decision to start this line.
By doing so you will put young girl’s self-esteem, self-worth and pride above profits.
Rev. Evan Dolive
—first appeared at EvanDolive.com
—photo by Bruce Guenter/Flickr