Summer is on the horizon and all across the country women, particularly young girls, are actively searching for new bathing suits. Aside from specialty swimwear and department stores like Roxy and Nordstrom, many venture to Victoria’s Secret.
Since the age of 16 years, I have refused to step foot in a Victoria’s Secret. Known for its flashy lingerie, runway shows, bright colors, and provocative advertising, I recognized at an early age that the marketing tactics of Victoria’s Secret were not only an easy and cheap way to sell lingerie, but also just downright embarrassing.
I have a lot of friends who are very brand loyal to the store, so we can assume for argument’s sake that they’re doing something successful.
Research surrounding health and obesity is heavy on the news these days and America’s obsession with food and the food industry has become a major topic everywhere from politics to classrooms to homes. I find it astonishing that through all of this, Victoria’s Secret has yet to make any effort to tone down their use of half-naked, unrealistically skinny women.
We’ve all heard debates about Barbie’s unrealistic proportions and their effects on young girls. Why hasn’t Victoria’s Secret made any effort to change how they promote women in their advertising and catalogs?
In March, criticism erupted for the brand’s new campaign, “Bright Young Things,” targeted at young girls through their PINK line of clothing. The campaign featured a line of underwear with phrases such as, “dare you,” “call me,” and “feeling lucky.”
Evan Dolive, a father from Texas, wrote to the brand stating, “I want my daughter [a 3-year-old] (and every girl) to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence. Decisions like should I be a doctor or a lawyer? … Should I raise awareness for slave trafficking or lack of water in developing nations? There are many, many more questions that all young women should be asking themselves … not will a boy (or girl) like me if I wear a ‘call me’ thong?”
Victoria’s Secret responded, saying, “Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. Despite recent rumors, we have no plans to introduce a collection for younger women. ‘Bright Young Things’ was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition.”
I’m sorry, but isn’t that just as bad? Why doesn’t the brand just write, “I’m easy” or “Get me drunk and take advantage” on their underwear and actually admit to the type of culture they are trying to promote?
I also find it difficult to believe that they can’t even fathom, let alone recognize, how their brand affects millions of young girls. Even the magazine Seventeen admitted years ago that their average reader is actually 14 years old, not 17.
I think it’s important for brands to stay relevant and to continually evolve. After all, tastes change and new generations come along and become new and prospective consumers. I find it arrogant that Victoria’s Secret not only refuses to evolve into something more positive, benefiting society as a whole and young girls in particular, but they’re also in denial of their brand’s image on girls and women.
I also think we can all agree that the last thing our society needs to be promoting is the college spring break culture. We have much bigger battles to tackle then what suggestive phrases should we get 20-year-olds to wear on their bums.
This post, written by me, was originally published by Beneath the Brand on May 23, 2013.