On March 22nd, 2013, controversy sparked when Rev. Evan Dolive posted the letter he wrote to Victoria Secret begging them to cancel their new "Bright Young Things" sexy lingerie line said to be targeted towards 13 and 14 year old girls. He writes:
Recently I read an article [from The Black Sphere] 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.”Euw, me too. Last night, after a slew of negative protesting comments on Victoria's Secret's facebook, they deleted them and pinned this announcement to the top:
As a dad, this makes me sick.
In response to questions we recently received, Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. Despite recent rumors, we have no plans to introduce a collection for younger women. “Bright Young Things” was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition.It's easy for Victoria's Secret's PR people to skew their messaging to however they like, so I decided to find out just what was going on.
I found the above ad on their facebook. It's true, "Bright Young Things" is part of their College PINK promotions. Nonetheless, we all know the trickle down effect where products supposedly projected towards college students evoke the envy of high school and jr. high kids. Do kids wish they were older? Is there such thing as a website called Google? Half the work is already done for them! Boom! Double the sales!
Unsure of what to believe, I decided to check it out for myself. Were these panties really as horrible as described? At first, I didn't find much. Then I learned to navigate the site more specifically. These are some great panties Victoria's Secret has to offer young women who are taking off their pants for others to read!
Facebook commenters had noted the choice in models for the PINK brand. They lack the usual womenly curves and contain young faces looking like they may be 15 - 21 year olds. Take it as you wish.
|"Make a move."|
I mean, can you please? I've already stripped down. Do you want to like kiss me or something?
|"Kiss and Tell"|
This is cute, right? The dude thinks, "Oh, that's adorable. I'd love to kiss and tell. I wasn't sure if you wanted me to kiss you or not. But now I know. And you want me to tell my buddies about it! But that's all we're going to do, because this is all so innocent."
Will you be my boyfriend? (Remember, this is the Spring Break line.) ...Only 18+ year olds are going to buy this lace trim thong, right?
Where's the "If You Can Read This, Let's Have Sex" underwear? ...Because that's what all of these really are, right? They work, unless the girl didn't choose to strip herself. In which, the "PINK Loves Consent" faux product line by a group of feminists would be applicable. (Admittedly, I think there's something weird about those too, but I appreciate the thought!)
Why does this just make me think of "Wild cherry"? ...Hm... I'm afraid that doesn't make anything better. But it's cute! My vagina, it's wild! Totes innocent. Also, if I want a sexy night, this is the same as wearing lace. (What?)
|"let's make out"|
If I found these panties in China, I'd think they were hilarious Engrish. But seriously, pants are off, let's make out! Teehee!
|"I DARE YOU" "wild"|
At this point, I don't know whether or not kids are likely to buy these panties because of the marketing. I know that Justin Beiber (who attracts mostly a 17 and younger audience) performed with a bunch of Victoria Secret angels at the last runway show in Fall 2012. It's making people suspicious.
The previously mentioned Black Sphere article began with these words:
I should have seen this one coming. My first red flag went up last November when Justin Beiber, the teen icon that’s worshiped by nearly every American girl under the age of 14, tweeted that he was getting ready to sing at the highly provocative Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Below are his performances. Check out his second one at 4 minutes 27 seconds.
Now that I'm watching it, he's singing at a weird kid-themed Candy Land/Pinball Machine runway show.
The first Victoria's Secret model is wearing girly tricycle handles, then the next is in a comfy Cat in the Hat inspired striped sweater and tail with a bikini, following them is a girl wearing a couple giant pinwheels.
After a dance break, the next girl (above) wears a Superstructs™ skirt reminding me of a science project and afterward, a candy cane girl walks the runway. Suddenly the theme seems to change and the next angel is a cow girl with lasso wings, following a marching band leader, then Alice from Wonderland, and finally, a zebra robot. What do you think? Who is this targeted for? Is it just fun? Or does the fact that Justin Beiber was chosen for the Victoria's Secret Fall Fashion Show with younger models only send a certain message? I mean... fan girls were watching. Be sure of it.
|Did anyone else feel like VS was a black hole in the mall for mom and dad's sexual fantasies?|
Many VS devotees argue that parents are just being stupid and need to push the blame off the innocent corporation and be better parents. They're assuming parents have control over what their kids buy and what they want to buy.
|PINK makes it a much more welcoming All Ages store.|
If Jr. High girls are starting to wear Victoria's Secret, even though a parent can refuse to buy or even forbid their daughter from buying it herself, just like any other trend, the most eager kids will sneak around and buy it anyway ("With what money?" ...Um, allowances?). So how could this become a trend? It's underwear, right? Who's going to see it? Every girl in their gym class when they're changing in the locker rooms could. Oh my gosh, is that underwear from 4th grade? Nice elastic, Loser! I remember when I was in Jr. High, girls were definitely into sexually suggestive clothes. The sliced shirts with strings lacing up the side were big. There were definitely girls who wore thongs, but I never saw any wearing "Call Me" on the front.
Ugh gosh, if VS's marketing is attracting young girls, what does that tell us about the mind set for Jr. High girls wanting to wear panties that say "Feeling lucky" on them? This is a bigger picture problem and if this is working, Victoria's Secret is certainly part of the problem.
But, despite the question of the intended age group, let's think about the very nature of underwear with writing on them. It wants to be read. It's for someone else to read. It would be one thing if it was a girl's favorite band or sports team (which PINK does have). But it's not. It's a command to the onlooker:
Feel free to read the comments below. I've highlighted the ones that I think either hit the marks or are totally missing the point. What do you think?