Monday, October 5, 2009

Victoria's Secret and Children

So I've been thinking more about what I said in my Date Night post about Victoria's Secret. I'm not usually one to feed the trolls and this really isn't about that (see the comments if that doesn't make sense). But when I went back and re-read what I wrote, I realized I may not have been clear. I have no problem with Victoria's Secret. Seriously! I even used to shop there pretty regularly. I went through a phase of really loving cute or sexy panties and pajama's and lingerie. A lot of my early paychecks went to VS. I fell out of love as life became more and more real. While there are a lot of women who "feel more confident" when they have sexy little panties on or who "feel more appealing" because a bra has their boobs pushed up to their necks... I'm just not one of them. I have friends who shop there and I don't fault them for it. It's not for me but it works for them. I have some well endowed friends who find that the bras at VS are most supportive and comfortable. I'm glad they have found something that works for them. Truly! I, personally, don't have a need for VS. None. I have no clue who made my bra but I bought it at Target. My only bra requirement? No underwires. Underwires are bad for my boobs. They might make the girls look good but the wires themselves can be damaging to the under the skin areas of the breast- I learned all about it when I was nursing (plugged milk ducts, anyone?). Some women need an underwire for support. I don't. I buy my underwear in a plastic bagged multi-pack at Target. Whatever is on sale. I haven't bought new pajamas in years. I probably deserve a new pair pj's, in all honesty. But I love all of my old, worn in, stretched out pj pants and camis. I like my under garments to be functional and healthy. No need for lingerie. I don't need it to feel sexy and it does nothing for Jeff. But that doesn't mean I have an issue with the store itself. Obviously it has staying power and appeals to massive quantities of women or else they wouldn't exist anymore. My issue with the 10 year old girl accompanying her mother (assumed) into Victoria's Secret isn't about bras or panties or lingerie or pajamas. Kids will see that stuff at Target, in the laundry, and so on. It's the Victoria's Secret imagery and advertising that makes me uncomfortable. And it certainly isn't limited to Victoria's Secret. There are many stores that feed on low self esteem and poor body image. Our daughters are fighting body image all the time. It seems like we start out at a negative point and fight and fight to get to a normal level of self esteem. So many moms already hate their bodies and unintentionally pass that on to their daughters. Images of pushed up breasts, pouty lips, flat stomachs, fat-free arms and chins, sexy bedroom eyes, mussed up yet perfect hair... all of that creates this "ideal" image of feminine sexiness that is generally unattainable. I'm fortunate that I seem to be at a strong place when it comes to body image. I know it took a lot of concentrated, purposeful hard work on my part. Surviving sexual abuse meant that I really detested the sexual or sexualized parts of myself for a while. I'm at a point now where I realize that self confidence and self love has NOTHING to do with how you look or your appearance and everything to do with the inside. Victoria's Secret doesn't sell the inside. So to my friends who enjoy black lace panties or silk thongs or cotton hi-rise printed whatever... to my friends who like padded, cupped, underwire bras... to my friends who want to wear body shapers and slimmers and trimmers... to my friends who enjoy a sassy little teddy in the bedroom... more power to you!! If that is fun for you, have at it! But if you are doing those things to lay a foundation to improve the way you present yourself, to change your appearance, to build your confidence, to feel better about yourself... money doesn't buy a healthy self image. Our daughters are already exposed to image after image after image of perceived feminine sexuality and sexiness. They are bombarded with photoshopped, cropped, chopped images everywhere they turn. Billboards, magazines, TV ads. Peer pressure adds to it as the compression of all of those images culminates into competition amongst the girls for sexual attention. So what message is sent to an undeveloped, not yet reached puberty, hair still in braids girl when she is shopping for appearance with a respected and loved adult woman?

13 comments:

chrissy said...

well said.......:)

Karen said...

I didn't see the comments from yesterday, but I can imagine.

This was a great post and it would be ideal if more people felt this way!

Lori D said...

I'm thankful you shared your views on this. I know we tend to focus on the negative image it presents to young girls who don't look that way, but imagine the young boys!

That's right, you'd ordinarily think that young boys would eat up the images that are presented at VS. But I'm trying to also present to my son that image isn't just about the external. I recently walked by a huge VS window at the mall with the words "SEXY" below a scantily clad model. Is THIS what I want my son to believe is sexy? I too want him to learn to appreciate the value of a book, and a person, by who they are as a person, which is mostly on the inside.

Thankfully, my ten-year-old son turned away. "Maddie, I don't think that's good to see."

Thank God. Literally.

Dave said...

Total tangent: I was walking past a Victoria's Secret store one morning, shortly before opening time. There was a very old guy -- reminded me of "Mr. Six" from the Six Flags commercials -- cleaning the picture window that faced the street. He was framed perfectly below a window decal that said "What is Sexy?" I wished so bad that I had brought my camera.

Teacher Tom said...

Tell it, sister!

One of my favorite ensembles in our summer solstice parade is are the belly dancers. There are usually over a hundred of them and there is every kind of belly and every kind of beautiful. I love it!

Jackie E. said...

Target actually has some pretty nice underwear if I do say so myself:-) I don't necessarily buy mine in packets but I definitely have purchased several cute items in there. I've also bought a Victoria Secret panty or two in my day too!

I've never been one to be swayed one way or another by what I see in magazines or on TV. I don't know if it's because my mother gave me a great sense of self as a young girl or what but I've just always thought....you do you, I'll do me! If you have big boobs, a tiny waist and long thin legs...great! I have a flat stomach, a muscular physique and a small chest...good for me. You do you, and I'll do me!

So kudos to the Vicky Secret ladies and kudos to everyone in between. There's room in there for all of us!

Love the Dove ads too by the way....

Joanie M said...

I hear you on the no underwires on the bras. There are days, when I get home from work, I don't know whether to remove my shoes or my bra first! I love it when I can set the girls free!

☼¨`*•.♥RocĂ­o♥.•*¨`☼ said...

Wow!
well said!
the ad are pretty strong, I will share them =)

Strange Mamma said...

Everyone needs to see that 'evolution' ad. I wish people realized how much of what they see does not actually exist.

I totally struggle with my body image and I didn't even grow up with all that stuff. My heart breaks for young girls now who feel like they are never pretty enough or worse sexy enough. They have been so robbed of a childhood by feeling like they have to worry about these things at such a young age (or at all, for that matter).

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Just to round out your blog a little, have Jeff post about jock straps and men's underwear. Include photos.

jimandgarret.blogspot.com

♥ Braja said...

Kudos to Dove for these ads....I love the last one, and often wonder what horrific foundations are being laid for the young girls with all the slutty, unchaste, no-secrets openness that exists today. There's nothing good about it. At all....

Huckdoll said...

wow, great post.

i've never thought about this while i take my girls with me to victoria secret, etc. i've always been into sexy (not racy) nighties, etc. from way before they were born to now at 4 years old, wear it around my girls and take them to the stores without even think twice about the effect on them; something to ponder.

those dove ads are great; unfortunately unilever (dove's parent company) is the world's biggest buyer of palm oil (which is the biggest cause of forest destruction in Indonesia (at least they were when these ads came out a few years ago) ~ so it's hard for me to take their 'movements' seriously.

i'd rather see this coming from lush cosmetics or the body shop.

thumbs up for a good message to girls though.

Cheryl said...

Agreed. I myself have thrown a lot of money Vicky's way, but I don't like some of their advertising decisions. And I say this knowing they're not the only store at fault, but I was quite surprised when I walked by one of their storefronts and saw the female mannequins posed in very... shall we say subservient... positions. These are not the subliminal messages I want the little girls in my life absorbing. And maybe people will think I'm hypocritical because I financially support VS, which I know in turn funds their advertising that I don't agree with, but I'm far from perfect. What I do know is that I won't be subjecting the little girls in my life to it. The Dove campaign is wonderful, and fortunately, there are more and more foundations focusing on the importance of girls' body image. Thanks for this post; it's an important one!