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?