I read Huffpo, I have Facebook etc. This week I’ve seen this letter circulating around. It’s a letter to Victoria’s Secret from a Father, critical of their decision to market a line of racy underwear to young girls.
Ok, I read this article. And on the one hand I agree. It is sorta skeezy. But at the same time, rather than expect the world to change to protect our daughters, which it won’t, as long as there’s money to be made marketing to them, I’d focus on raising kick ass daughters with an iron clad sense of self. Then it won’t matter. We can’t go around saying that what a woman wears doesn’t matter if we’re going to be all outraged about what’s written on her panties, and VS making sexy underwear for young women. A teenager wearing ‘call me’ panties is entitled to the same respect, and legal protection as one in granny bloomers. Does it matter or not? Standards apply across the board. By getting our knickers in a twist, we sort of tacitly support the message that a woman’s virtue can be defined by what she’s wearing. Further, that we have a right to decide for OTHER girls what’s appropriate. If a girl’s sense of self worth is damaged by someone’s line of racy underwear, then you’ve got bigger issues than just what’s written on a pair of undies, IMHO. If your opinion of her value is affected by what’s written on her underpants, you need to take a good long look at your own moral compass. So yeah, another lame marketing exercise capitalizing on the insecurities, and sexualization of young girls. *yawn*. We can do better than banning suggestive underwear for young girls though. We can raise young girls who know that they are so VERY much more, and boys who know that the value of a girl is defined by a hell of a lot more than what’s written on her underwear. That’s on US though, not Victoria’s Secret.
Also- we begin to emerge as sexual creatures around puberty. That’s not a moral issue, it’s a biological reality, and it’s a genie nobody can put back in the bottle. There is nothing inherently bad or immoral about sex or sexuality. It’s our attitudes towards it, ignorance of it, and all the emotional issues tied up in it that make navigating that minefield so tricky- for example, accepting sex as an easy substitute, when what we really need is intimacy. Tough stuff, even for adults, much less teens. But ignoring or denying the sexuality of young people isn’t going to help. Moral outrage isn’t a solution. Make them all wear potato sacks, and the issue will still be there. That’s kind of what puberty is about. Reaching sexual maturity. (emotional maturity is a separate issue) Teenagers don’t need to BE sexualized. They are already SUPERCHARGED, no matter whose name is in their underwear. This would be the case with or without movies, music or mass marketing. Our efforts would be better spent teaching healthy attitudes towards sex and sexuality as part of our whole self image-for both genders, fostering respect with regards to sexuality, giving our young adults the tools they need to protect themselves, recognizing what is abusive or unhealthy, physically and emotionally, and preparing them to make good decisions even when we parents aren’t there to do it for them. That’s not VS’s problem. It’s ours.