Another day, another Victoria’s Secret controversy. Who have they pissed off this time, you ask? Native American groups? Former suppliers? Greenpeace? No, this time it’s one of the most intimidating adversaries of all: moms.
You see, Victoria’s Secret’s PINK line, which is purportedly marketed at college-aged women, recently launched a campaign with the slogan “Bright Young Things”. Certain moms are claiming that the company is trying to lure teens and tweens with the ads, and that the product offerings — lacy thongs and panties with “Call Me”, “Wild”, and “Feeling Lucky” scrawled across the fabric — seek to inappropriately sexualize young customers.
“I don’t want a brand like Victoria’s Secret telling my daughters what sexy should be and my son that girls have to look or dress a certain way. Sexualisation of girls by marketers has been found to contribute to depression, eating disorders, and early sexual activity — and this new ad campaign is a glaring example of a culture forcing girls to grow up too fast.”
The CFO and executive VP of the brand’s parent company Limited Brands, Stuart Burgdoerfer certainly didn’t help matters when he was quoted 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.”
We’re on the fence with this. On the one hand, as a behemoth lingerie corporation, Victoria’s Secret does have the obligation to steer clear of both sexualizing children and marketing their more risqué products to the younger set. On the other, high school girls are going to be drawn to products ostensibly aimed at college co-eds for precisely that reason. Plus, the bulk of PINK’s offerings are brightly colored tanks, printed sweats, loungewear, swimwear, and cute undies, and we’re pretty certain the last time we picked anything up from there, we were in 12th grade. Trying to tell a 16-year-old girl that a striped bikini or a hot pink hoodie is inappropriate fare is going to be a hard sell indeed.
As for the company, they’ve issued the following statement through a spokesperson:
“In response to questions we recently received, Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. Despite recent rumours, 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.”
Check out the video below to see the other side of the argument: a mom who believes it’s A-OK for her young daughter to shop alongside her at Victoria’s Secret.