There’s a ton of clamoring on the internet today about Victoria’s Secret’s new campaign: Bright Young Things. Specifically, the international panty dynasty is being blamed for objectifying women, increasing violence against women, the demise of models’ physical health and so forth. I think it’s a bit much, and here’s why.
To say Victoria’s Secret is responsible for obectifying women seems a bit unrealistic. This has been happening for centuries. As much as Victoria’s Secret would probably love to have the power to stop or start something that epic, they don’t. Stopping objectification of women begins at home, one parent and child conversation at a time.
To say Victoria’s Secret is responsible for models that are dangerously thin and too young is also not true. Models have long been expected to look a certain way. Like it or not, it’s part of their job description. I’m not saying it’s right. It just is. However, this expectation has been in play long before Victoria Secret existed. Observe. Twiggy and Penelope Tree in 1966, both 17.
To say that Victoria’s Secret is responsible for increasing violence and rape against women is also untrue. My daughter has had every licensed character and pop star on her panties since she stopped wearing diapers. Does that mean Disney and Hannah Montana are promoting violence and rape? No. Participating in the belief that what someone wears invites violence is a little too close to “she asked for it” for me. Rape and violence is about power, not panties. As parents, it’s our job to educate our children about personal safety.
Additionally, the idea that tweens and teens are “dictating what should be purchased” in every household across America is absurd. At least in my home. But it’s kind of amusing to imagine all the companies selling to that demographic somehow creating an underground society where teenagers are secretly ruling the world of commerce while parents are fast asleep. I can appreciate it’s a half-trillion dollar a year industry, but let us keep firmly in mind that the people swiping the card at the registers are adults, or adults who have willingly handed over their money/cards to the kids purchasing these products. If parents don’t want their kids to purchase something, they have the power to say “no.” Or in my case, “oh huh-uh.”
Personally the most offensive notion I heard was in the video on Huffington Post entitled “Can Sexy Underwear Kill Women?” The following words were said with someone’s mouth: “what about a single mother or single father who doesn’t have time to oversee everything that their children are doing” Oh. Does this mean as a single parent I’m supposed to rely on Victoria’s Secret advertising campaigns and product lines to be my co-parent? I didn’t see that service advertised on their website – the one where they instill the values and beliefs I want my daughter to have. That’s my job, and I’m happy to do it. With her father, very successfully, and very amicably, even though he lives a few miles away. To that speaker’s credit, he did suggest time spent attacking companies and starting petitions is time that might be better spent talking wtih children. I agree. That’s why I’m going to stop here with this final comment.
While I don’t plan to buy any of these panties (because we’re at the Justice stage right now), I’d be much more comfortable purchasing products from a company that features teenagers doing this (from the Victoria’s Secret campaign in question),
as opposed to teenagers doing this (from Abercrombie and Fitch’s 2012 summer catalog “XXX Wet, Hot Summer Fun).”
Where I come from, planet Earth, parents are responsible for raising their children, how they behave, what they believe, and what they wear. Not companies.
Photo credits: I did not take any of the images in this post. I do not own any of the images in this post. I found them with a simple google search. If you own any of these images in this post and are super pissed they are in this post, I am super sorry, and I will take them down immediately if you e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS I am not a journalist. The opinions expressed here are the result of the dismay I experienced after I read and watched some stuff my father would have called a “bunch of horse shit.”