Victoria's Secret, that wildly successful maven of lingerie and women's clothing, has launched an innovative line of sexy under-garments aimed at a very young demographic. Apparently, painting the world pink and putting wings on bikini clad “angels” is not enough for Victoria's Secret, who will now market their lacy, racy wares to little girls under the banner, Bright, Young Things, which features bikinis, etc. emblazoned with provocative phrases like, “Call Me”, “Wild”, or “Feeling Lucky”. This is wrong on so many levels.
The company defends itself against understandable criticism of their questionably fashion forward efforts by stating they are marketing Bright, Young Things to college girls, not adolescents, a flimsy excuse at best. College students are young women, not little girls, and definitely not young things. Victoria's Secret's advertising campaigns, while allegedly aimed at women, are clearly targeted to men; no fancy excuses or public relations spin can alter Victoria Secret's promotion of women as objects, i.e. things, useless, merit-less without men, and good only for you-know-what.
As an adult, as a parent, I reject the far-reaching implications of Bright, Young Things. This is not the image of women I have tried to instill in my sons! I am so appalled by Victoria's Secret's college girl/little girl campaign that I am nearly tongue tied! Thankfully, I have found someone who is not.
Reverend Evan Dolive, ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Interim Minister at Bethany Christ Church (Disciples of Christ) in Houston, Texas, recently wrote an open letter to Victoria's Secret. Eloquent and to-the-point, the letter is meaningful not because it was penned by a pastor, but because it was written by a dad, a man who wants a good life for his daughter. If the numbers are correct (the letter was viewed on Reverend Evan's blog more than two million times!), there are lots of parents out there that want the same for their children.
Here, with Reverend Evan's kind permission, is his letter to Victoria's Secret. He speaks the truth. Read it. Understand it. Pass it on!
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
Learn more about Reverend Evan Dolive (and his letter to Victoria's Secret) at www.evandolive.com.