I’m thinking of moving my family to Amish country, or, better yet, to a remote island in the Galapagos. Anywhere to get my 6- and 9-year-old daughters far away from corporations that want to sexualize them as soon as they hit their tween years.
The last time I was this outraged about girls’ clothing was when Abercrombie & Fitch offered a padded, triangle bikini bathing suit to girls as young as 8 years old. This time it’s Victoria’s Secret’s brand Pink, and the launch of their latest bathing suit line. The advertisement shows skinny young models barely out of middle school frolicking in tiny bathing suits. The new tag line for the ad campaign? Bright Young Things.
Victoria’s Secret’s Pink line was launched in 2002, allegedly targeting 18 to 22-year-olds. But Victoria’s Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer was recently quoted at a conference as saying, “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.”
Ah, yes Stu, the magic. It’s magical to call young girls “things” and sexualize them when they’ve hardly hit puberty. I wonder if Stu has daughters. I’m also wondering, are these corporations too stupid to realize they’re sexually exploiting girls … or too blinded by dollar signs? Given that tweens and teens in this country have billions in spending power, I’m guessing it’s the latter.
Of course, since the uproar about “Bright Young Things,” Victoria’s Secret is now insisting that the target market for its Pink line is college-age women. Right. That must be why it chose Justin Bieber, a favorite of my 6-year-old, to sing at its fashion show in New York City last year. Justin sang while models strutted down the runway wearing the candy-colored Pink lingerie line with — I’m not making this up — pinwheels and toys attached to their bodies. Also, show me a middle school at recess, and I will show you at least a half a dozen girls wearing Pink brand sweatpants or hoodies. So who’s kidding whom about the target market?
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