Childrearing

A Mother Of Four Has Launched A Petition Asking Victoria’s Secret To Pull That Stupid ‘Bright Young Things’ Crap

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victoria's secret bright young thingsParents continue to express nothing short of their gag reflex at the the super spring break-y “Bright Young Things” line, reportedly geared towards tween and teen girls depending on who you talk to. But in that savvy contemporary online parenting way, mothers and fathers have now organized against the line in the tried and true Change.org petition.

Diana Cherry from Seattle, WA,  a mother of three daughters and one son, started a petition asking Victoria’s Secret to pull the PINK line, complete with lacey thongs that read “Call Me.” Her issue is that the Bright Young Things collection “targets teens and tweens with the same type of sexy and sexualized products sold in their adult line.” As of this writing, the petition has garnered just under 800 signatures. A Facebook page has also been erected in response to the PINK line.

In her petition, Cherry attests that the proof is in the mission statement:

Victoria’s Secret may claim that PINK is for college women but their Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer made it clear when asked about Victoria’s Secret’s PINK lingerie line that they are trying to reach a teen audience. “When somebody’s 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be? 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,” said Burgdoerfer.

I don’t want a brand like Victoria’s Secret telling my daughters what sexy should be and my son that girls have to look or dress a certain way. Sexualization of girls by marketers has been found to contribute to depression, eating disorders, and early sexual activity — and this new ad campaign is a glaring example of a culture forcing girls to grow up too fast.

However, Victoria’s Secret now claims otherwise:

“Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women,” the company said in a statement to E! News. “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.”

Cherry concludes that “Our children are not sex objects; not things,” a resounding counter to exactly what Victoria’s Secret is proposing — “Bright Young Things.” Those who have signed the petition, many of whom are parents, commiserate their Victoria’s Secret woes in the comments below.

Kelli Clement from Minneapolis, MN writes:

Every. Single. Time I walk by VS w/my 10.5 yr old daughter, we deconstruct the hypersexual images. You wear me out. To quote your itty bitty panties, call me. I’ll tell you why your sexualization of young girls makes me so sad.

Hear, hear.

(photo: eonline.com)

20 Comments

  1. Blueathena623

    March 26, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Even if I believes this campaign is geared towards college students (which I don’t) women aren’t things. We aren’t things. We are people.

    • Sundaydrive00

      March 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

      Yes, it is geared towards college students. That is why they have the PINK Collegiate Collection.

  2. AmazingAsh

    March 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    “Bright Young Things” is hardly a new term. It has been previously used to describe forward-thinking (and dressing) twenty-somethings in the Post Edwardian era. I think parents are blowing the whole thing out of proportion; if you don’t want your 13 year-old wearing things from Victoria’s Secret, then don’t buy them for her. It’s your job to parent, not huge corporations.

    • TngldBlue

      March 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      The problem isn’t the young women buying these items-parents can handle that-the problem is the overtly sexual marketing targeted at children. And we wonder why boys think it’s ok to rape a passed out drunk girl.

    • Tusconian

      March 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

      Excuse me? Regardless of whether someone thinks this campaign is tasteless or not, the fact that underwear and swimsuits are advertised as what they are is NOT why boys think it’s okay to rape passed out drunk girls. This attitude is fifty times worse than selling (gasp) bras and thongs to high school and college aged girls and women. I sincerely hope for their sake you don’t have a daughter OR a son.

    • TngldBlue

      March 26, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      Excuse me? I do have a daughter and that is EXACTLY why this is so
      offensive to me. It’s become normal in our society to objectify women’s
      bodies, these images turn women into just a body to be looked at by
      men. It has been shown over and over and over again that this has a
      great impact on both boys and girls. Young men become
      desensitized to the person in that body. Sexualization of women in
      advertising is a BIG part of the rape culture today. And to then aim
      that advertising at pre-teens and teens is shameful and alarming. That ad above is not just selling a bra & sweatpants to the little 13 year old next door my friend, don’t be naive. Your
      attitude is the reason girl’s will continue to starve themselves to
      death and boys will continue seeing girls as objects instead of
      human beings.

    • AmazingAsh

      March 27, 2013 at 3:28 am

      If you think the ad above in any way says “rape me”, you need to have your head examined. You see much less coverage at the beach (or at the gym). Heck, I go running in less than that. Are you implying that I’m asking to be sexualized by onlookers or that I should wear something more conservative instead of comfortable? I think it’s more important to teach women of all ages to be comfortable in their bodies (whether they be 5’10” and 125 pounds or 5’2″ and 200 pounds).

    • TngldBlue

      March 27, 2013 at 5:00 am

      Did you not read the comment above? I NEVER said what she is wearing says rape me nor did I say what YOU wear sexualizes YOU. You and Tusconian obviously have no understanding what the sexualization of women actually means or the role it plays in the rape culture, do some research. Haven’t you ever heard the old saying “sex sells”.

      Here’s some info for you so maybe you can understand why some have such a problem with this type of advertising geared toward girls & why it’s not as easy as teaching women to be comfortable in their own bodies (although believe me, I’m trying with my daughter):

      http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/01/five-ways-rape-culture-exists-unnoticed/

      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/overcoming-child-abuse/201203/the-sexualization-women-and-girls

  3. AP

    March 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I think people are totally overreacting, too. I am a grown woman, and I find a lot of the lingerie at VS to be tacky and tasteless. But the fact that some of their items are tacky and tasteless doesn’t taint or contaminate the items they sell that I do like. I just don’t buy the things I don’t like. Is that really that hard?

    Also, the uproar about “things” is silly. They have a line “Sexy Little Things” that sells “Sexy Little Panty, etc.,” and a line of “Pretty Little Things,” that sells flowers-and-lace lingerie. The “things” is referring to the lingerie, not the person wearing it.

    • Stellargirl

      March 26, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      I would be with you, except “young” is a term that makes it seem like the slogan is applied to the person, not the object.

  4. Sundaydrive00

    March 26, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    The PINK line has been around for over 10 years. I doubt VS is going to get rid of a billion dollar line that has been around for over a decade just because some parents are offended that teens wear underwear, bras, and lounge wear.

  5. CalmDownGuys

    March 26, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    I buy VS all the time(I’m lying, I can rarely afford that stuff). I’m 17. My mom doesn’t care. I think it’s cute and I don’t feel at all sexualized. Now, before everyone attacks me, I’m about to earn my AS at 17 years old. I’m then going to university to major in polisci on a prelaw track to become a lobbyist for women’s rights and issues. So don’t tell me I don’t understand women’s issues. Every free topic essay I’ve written for my English classes has been about rape culture, virginity movement, oversexualization, etc. But you know what? This is underwear that… guess what… goes UNDER what I WEAR. So no one’s gonna actually see it unless I want them to(and if I get raped, I doubt my attacker will take the time to read my underwear). And considering most of their underwear doesn’t have words on it, there really isn’t much to read. How about these parents ban their kids from buying these things and teach them how strong they are, especially if the demographic is like 16+? Why is your 10 year old in a lingerie store? Why is your 13 year old in one? Don’t take them with you and if you find it so offensive, don’t shop there. But don’t be so obnoxious and ask for on the their most profitable lines to be discontinued because you don’t wanna be responsible. Overreacting much?

    • Profmom

      March 27, 2013 at 8:06 am

      While I applaud your goals and ambition, as a Women’s Studies professor I implore you to do more reading & research on the objectification of women and the resulting impact on children and young adults. It is not about the underwear and it is not about victim blaming. The overall comments on this article, with the exception of a few, remind me that we have much work to do in educating people on what these images do to impressionable children and how they shape their views of females for their entire lives.

    • CalmDownGuys

      March 27, 2013 at 10:47 pm

      But isn’t banning anything that might mildly offend a parent also focus on what women should look like? Yeah, you’re not baring skin or wearing a witty, subtly sexual message, but you’re saying that they only way to be presentable and worth something is to cover up and lack humor. That’s not going to help women. That’s just going to add to the “don’t wear this and you won’t get raped” idea, which isn’t true. Plus, that gives youth the impression that girls who do wear these things are trashy, slutty whores who are beneath them. Is that any better? Of course not, because then when a girl does get raped, people will dismiss it as “her panties said ‘call me,’ clearly she was asking for it.” So maybe images will give lasting impressions, go parent your child. Teach your son not to rape and to respect boundaries and that only a yes is a yes. Teach your daughter that she can wear whatever she wants and she’s till amazing and strong and smart. If people just took a second to talk to middle schoolers and high schoolers on these things, images wouldn’t have such a huge impact. But instead, our society chooses to ban things and cover things up and think that solves the problem. But it really just creates a new one.

    • Kitty

      November 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      Even though this is an old post, I’d like to point out that Victoria’s Secret, as a huge mega brand, has a huge marketing department. They pay commenters to show up to online articles like this one and claim to be happy VS shoppers, or just people who think the criticism is stupid. They DO NOT have to disclose that they work for VS.

      This type of “brand protection” or “reputation management” is ubiquitous on the web in 2014, so people should realize that a LARGE portion of internet comments in general are bought and paid for. I have read a lot of articles about VS, and they always have a large group of obvious shills (like Miss I’m 17 above) working the comments sections.

      If you (general you, not you Profmom) think a multi-BILLION dollar corporation wouldn’t hire fake shill commenters, you don’t know anything about modern marketing.

    • Edify

      March 27, 2013 at 9:58 pm

      Part of the problem here is that you don’t even have to take your 10 or 13 year old into a lingerie store for them to be exposed to this imagery and its naive to think the influences of media and advertising don’t have a long lasting impact. In fact, that impact is what these companies rely on to sell to a person over and over again.

      Also, your comment on your attacker not taking time to read your underwear really feeds into the myth that its going to be some guy in a dark scary alley. Your attacker could be a guy you’ve chosen to show your VS lingerie too who then doesn’t respect your decision to say no.

    • CalmDownGuys

      March 27, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      Yeah, I’m aware a majority of rapists are people you know. That wasn’t at all the point of what I was saying. My point was that this is just a bunch of busybodies looking to whine over something. I’ve actually been molested. By a guy who had never seen my underwear. Banning certain clothes and underwear just add one more thing girls “should do to avoid being sexually assaulted/raped/molested.” It’s more about saying “if you never wear this, you’ll be okay” when that’s not the case. These parents feel that if they make these things go away or if they ban their daughter from wearing them, then they’re little girl will never be a victim. And if you tell your daughter that girls who wear that are less than, then they will start thinking of girls who wear VS as trashy, slutty whores. And that’s never okay. You’re focusing on what women wear, and that’s part of the problem.

    • Edify

      March 28, 2013 at 5:54 am

      Your focus is so narrow. I’m not concerned that VS and this imagery is going to lead my daughter to an inevitable sexual assault and I’m also not forcing a value judgement of trashy slutty whores onto girls that wear VS. That’s their choice, their decision, their life. This article and the petition don’t even mention assault or rape. That thread has only come from various commenters, including yourself, and is in no way related to why I believe there is harm in the portrayal of women’s sexuality in advertising and media that’s being directed at young girls.
      Sexual imagery is used to sell young girls a wide range of items and ideas. I’m concerned that being inundated with campaigns like this from VS and others is only going to show our children (girls and boys) that there is one homogenized version of sexy which is not easily nor naturally achievable for most girls. I don’t want the bombardment of sexual imagery and discourse to push my kids into tieing their value and self esteem to their sexuality. Further, I want my kids to be able to be kids and sexualised ideas are invading their space at such young ages. There is plenty of time to worry about sex when you are older. We don’t need marketers to bring this to children even earlier and unfortunately, this problem really does go beyond VS targeting young teenage girls.
      Listen to ProfMom above and read more into this subject and then try tell me that I shouldn’t try to protect my kids against it.

  6. Big Sigh

    June 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I’m gonna say something that’s probably a big shocker for a lot of those folks out there right now who are extremely offended by this sort of thing. When I was about twelve, maybe thirteen years old, I needed some bras and I needed them bad. You know what my mother did? She took me into VS and bought them for me. No, not “Pink” brand, which I deemed as “too sporty and prep” for me–right into the big girls section with silk and lace galore. I bought those, I wore them day in and day out, and yet I never once felt or perpetuated that I was an “object”. How on earth? My mother taught me that what you wear and how you wear it is your choice, not anyone else’s. She taught me to be comfortable with myself and not give a damn what anyone else thought. The lesson I learned was one of the most important a girl can learn: “I’m not wearing it for /you/.” I’m not wearing my makeup and heels, lace and straps, baggy jeans and sweatshirt, tight and “skanky” nor loose and conservative clothes for you. I’m wearing them for me, because I feel good in them. If I had felt good in plain beige cotton from Wal-Mart, I’m sure my mom would have encouraged the hell out of that decision. She used this as a time to teach me that I /wasn’t/ an object, and it didn’t matter how I looked. Is it important to not sexualize these girls? Yes, but it’s important to not shame them for their choices, either. They should be able to wear what they want, and if you’re scared of them leaping into early sex, explain to them what it is and what it means. If you’re scared of boys raping them, then don’t bother with teaching your girls “don’t look rapeable”, which clearly isn’t working. Teach your boys not to rape, that a woman doesn’t owe them sex or anything else regardless of what she wears. It’s her choice–and that’s exactly what VS promotes. I don’t believe they’re even marketing it towards tweenie-boppers either, as most of the women in their ads definitely appear to be over 18.

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