Victoria's Secret is targeting my young daughters and I don't like it.
I guess I should be impressed with this store's marketing savvy. Founded by a man to make lingerie shopping fun for men in the 1970s, VS has single-handedly created the sexy underwear shopping culture that dominates our malls. We think nothing now of walking by store windows with photos of billboard-sized boobs bursting out of bras.
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I think it's great that men and women feel comfortable with their sexuality. Adults should be totally free to purchase all the push-up, lacy, leopard-patterned undergarments their kinky consumer hearts desire.
What I don't like is that those greedy PINK paws are now reaching for my middle school-age girls.
VS marketing execs want to snatch up my confident, smart, athletic daughters and repackage them as prosti-tweens wearing pink satin Wonderbras. These candy pink stores are pushing the sexualization of a new generation of girls before they even have a chance to feel comfortable in their own skin.
It saddens me that young girls today think that sexual confidence is a scantily-clad woman who wears glitter and angel wings.
The Limited, which now owns Victoria's Secret, launched PINK 11 years ago. Despite sporting a name commonly used as street slang for female genitalia, PINK is supposedly the younger, more innocent sub-brand designed to introduce the college-age demographic to VS stores.
PINK is dominated by underwear, sleepwear and lounge wear, typically with "PINK" emblazoned across the ass in big, college-style letters. The idea is to build brand loyalty and eventually transition buyers into more adult, multi-syllable product lines ("Angels," "Very Sexy"). The gateway drug for thongs.
But because the younger set constantly aspires to be older and cooler, PINK has completely obliterated the line between girlhood and womanhood. Sixth-graders now feel compelled to have PINK emblazoned across their private parts and a drawer full of sexy bras and underwear.
You may feel like giving VS the benefit of a doubt. After all, a store can't help it if little girls desperately want to grow up, right?
Except for this: At the VS Fashion Show in November, the company hired teen heartthrob Justin Bieber to perform during a segment showcasing PINK merchandise. It's no secret that Mr. Bieber's fans are solidly in the 10-13 age bracket.
Then there's this quote from VS CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer, who spoke at a conference last month: "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 … that's part of the magic of what we do at PINK."
The guy who counts the dollar bills may consider it magical, but to moms of pre-teen daughters, that's just plain old creepy.