Good Morning, Angels

Publicity photo of the cast of the television ...

Publicity photo of the cast of the television program Charlie’s Angels. From left: Jaclyn Smith, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, and Kate Jackson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember them?  By today’s standards, it was a sweet show, despite being the beginning of “Jiggle Power” on tv, also known as “Jiggle TV.”  Funny, the themes and outfits would probably be rated G now, and yet with all the toning, tanning, muscles, and enhancements on the female tv stars you see now, there’s nothing natural enough to jiggle.

Now we have different angels.

victoria's secret fashion show 2010

victoria’s secret fashion show 2010 (Photo credit: cattias.photos)

Not my definition of angelic, but that’s okay.  I don’t have to shop there, and don’t. We’re all grown up women, and can decide for ourselves what type of underwear we’d like to wear.  I find dental floss up my ass to be uncomfortable, and don’t see a woman picking her butt as an enticement, but whatever floats your boat, or lifts your boobs, or frames your artfully sculpted hoo ha.  God Bless.

But wait.  Victoria’s Secret has realized there’s an untapped market waiting for them. That’s right, jail bait.  Future pedophile victims.  Have I gone too far?  Maybe.  But certainly victims of a society that doesn’t know how to allow children to be children.  Make no mistake, at 10, 11, 12, 13 years old, they’re still children, regardless of when their bodies begin to change.

I would like to hear from the adolescent and child psychology experts who sat on the panel in the Victoria’s Secret meetings, and said this is a good idea.  That there’s nothing wrong with teaching little girls to start objectifying themselves early by wearing padded push up bras, panties that say “Call Me” (WTF happened to the ones that said Monday?), and of course, lacy thongs.

What mother who gives a shit about her daughter’s sense of self is buying her this type of underwear?  Am I being judgmental, perhaps alienating readers who might buy my books down the road?  Yup, and that’s okay.  There are some things I feel strongly enough to take a stand on, and this is one of them.  Am I uptight when it comes to my children? You betcha.  Childhood is short, life is long.  But the lessons learned in childhood last a lifetime.  I’d like them to gain the tools they need during childhood for long, productive, happy, and healthy adulthoods.

Middle schoolers, tweens, are a mass of hormones and changes.  This is the very beginning of independence.  By the time a child is 14, you can see the adult they will become–though they aren’t that adult yet.  What are they prioritizing, what have we taught them to prioritize?  This is the time for young people to develop a sense of self, a sense of conscience, an understanding of their place in the world, and what roles they might step into.  This is a time of self doubts and insecurities.  If we parents buy them these types of garments we are prioritizing sexuality, and dating (or hooking up), over social justice, respect, community, intelligence, productivity, healthy body images, and healthy relationships.  Yanno, to “get” the cute boy, strip down to your skivvies so he can see the message stamped on your butt.  Because that’s what he should be paying attention to, right?  Of course, with all these messages, stripping, and hoo ha infections caused by these special undies, I understand, there was no need or time to study for your biology test.  And now that he/she has broken your heart because he/she has no clue or emotional tools to have a healthy relationship because he/she is also a child, no one wrote that Language Arts paper, either.  Because they’re crushed, the very fragile beginnings of self esteem have been stepped on because Mary is cuter, or John is a better dancer.

This isn’t new, really.  OK, marketing thongs to 10 year olds is new, but does anyone else remember this?

Nothing Comes Between Me and My Calvins

Nothing Comes Between Me and My Calvins (Photo credit: Evil Erin)

Brooke Shields was fourteen years old when this ad campaign for Calvin Klein jeans came out, implying there was no underwear between her and her super tight, super sexy jeans.  That was in 1980.  We should have known better.  But certainly, we should know better by now.  And none of this even begins to touch on the damage done to adult women, who are looking at ads that show models they can’t possibly look like, yet are told they should.

Dating and early acting out of sexuality, by its very nature, is emphasizing exclusivity.  How does this make sense for young people who are searching desperately to be included?  It might seem like nothing, innocence, “puppy love.”  But it isn’t nothing, it sends a message about what is most important.  Kids of this age need to find safe ways and places to be included.  How about respect?  How does that fit into this equation?  Certainly, we aren’t teaching respect of self or others when we place value on prepubescent sexuality.  How about self esteem?  Doesn’t this bring us right back to encourage girls “not to be too smart,” and boys to value their sexuality over other, tangible, long term and contributory accomplishments.  How about caring about other human beings, not just cataloguing them?  Yes, let’s all cry about America slipping further down in academic standing when compared to other countries.  Bottom line, with this type of message, we’re teaching our kids that commitment to self and others doesn’t matter.  Because 12 year olds can’t commit to a long term, healthy relationship.  Why?  Because they haven’t yet learned how to commit to themselves, their future.  For the love of all that’s holy, their brains aren’t finished yet, even if their boobs/butts/dangly bits are almost there.

Will there be a separate fashion show for the prepubescent line?  Will it be photographed, filmed, televised?  What’s that?  You think that might be icky, uncomfortably close to child pornography?  You should be thinking that, because it is.  These garments are designed to be looked at, encourage fantasies so they will be purchased.  There is no reason for these sweet whispers of lace and cotton to exist outside of sexual ones.  I’m saying no thanks, I’m saying fuck you Victoria’s Secret.

Hey, you, adult woman!  You don’t get to complain about men objectifying you, not taking you seriously, not giving you equal pay for equal work, and not holding up their end of child rearing if you’re feeding into this crap, and teaching another generation that these priorities are okay.

Perhaps we should bring corsets back.  You know, the ones that literally warped the rib cage and cut off oxygen.  Obviously our girls don’t need those brain cells anyway, since we’re teaching them to put their sexuality above other aspects of their development, or sense of self.

English: Corsets

English: Corsets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: FIG. 15.—The effect of bending forwar...

English: FIG. 15.—The effect of bending forward, when seated, with and without corsets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

52 comments

  1. Had a young woman (?) in Cleveland start chatting me up at a bus stop. I was interested. She started complaining about her boyfriend, which is always good in such situations. She said it was a doomed relationship from the start, since he was so much oder than her…after all, what did she and a 17 year-old have in common? The four year difference was too much for her, and the almost 17 year difference between our ages was too much for me. Formative years vs. Golden years…and, the winner is –
    Later…

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    1. It’s sad. There are studies out there proving that early dating and sexuality plays a huge role in future lack of success. Kids are kids, they’re curious, hungry, pushing boundaries and trying to figure it out. The adults are supposed to be helping them figure it out, not push them over the edge. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some One had pushed this teenie over…I’m not oblivious, but she had made herself up, poofed, puffed, and situated her packaging to the point where she looked like a saucy Grad Student, or apprentice Hooter’s Gal. Britneyization at its worst.
        Later…

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        1. My heart aches for her, and the many, many kids who are given the message that this is what their priorities should be. There’s a whole lot of learning and foundation for a hopeful future that gets skipped in this scenario. A house of cards, at best.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I heard os much outrageous chat from young women of college age that I got a bit numb to it. Showed them a video about how toxic many make-up products were to their innards and outards, and nearly all said they couldn’t give up their chemicals because they would be left behind in the charms race.
            Later…

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          2. I’m not surprised, but damn it, there has to be a line! Prepubescents, I don’t think it’s too conservative to ask the line be drawn with them outside of it?!

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          3. Agree totally. But, try to legislate morality or anything similar… Several of the customers at a rehab center I was associated with picked up their heoin habits in Federal Prison. How far can a person be locked down to prevent them from doing themselves harm. Pandora’s Box is open, and the lid is lost.

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          4. The difference here, to me, is that this isn’t about legislating the morality of adults. Society is supposed to protect the most vulnerable members. Umm, that would be children.

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          5. It’s about legislating or controlling an advertising strategy that gets people at a younger and younger age to hook them on an idea of what this or that product will do for them. And if a 14 year-old who is having that crisis of self-hood thinks a push-up bra, body glitter and red lipstick will improve her chances of landing “the guy” status symbol – game over. Took a class in advertising, and hadn’t even thought about how they target young people with no brand allegiance set in yet. Ooooohhh, no job too dirty for an advertising agency.

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  2. Reblogged this on The Voice from the Backseat and commented:
    My blog doesn’t generally talk about these kind of issues, but as most of you know, my daughter is almost 12 years old and I find what you’ll be reading about here to be absolutely appalling- horrifying- fill in the adjective of your choice. The impact this could have on our children, our daughters at such a vulnerable age, cannot be understated. I have been privileged to call “Mrs Fringe” friend since our girls were preschoolers and I find it important to share her words here.

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  3. My girl is 14 at her school they call the group of girls who dress that way sluts. I tell her no woman or girl should ever use that word about another woman or girl. but the point is there. these girls have no respect from their peers, they might get attention from a certain type of boy exploring I doubt they will be considered a destination.
    I am so proud of my girl, bursting with pride really, sure I have done my best to guide her all these years but she’s out there on her own everyday at school in a world that is vastly different to how it was when I was young and she’s making great choices.
    Undies should be bought for comfort for everyone!

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    1. ❤ Love hearing about your self confident girl, even more that you let her know she can't/shouldn't be a part of degrading other females.

      I can't say it enough, parents need to think about what messages they're sending when they make these types of choices. They might think they're helping their daughter "fit in" (so important at that age), but they're only feeding into exclusionary behavior.

      Cotton for all!

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      1. It’s a fine line, Amy has the right coat and the right sort of handbag to help her fit in and feel part of her group. she came home the other day rejecting not her groups but other kids obsession with the right labels, she’s evoling 🙂

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  4. Yeah. Just want to add, the kind of youthful awakening attraction we used to call “puppy love” has nothing at all in common with the mechanical sexualization that is being promoted in these marketing campaigns. That type of sexualization is no more healthy for adults than it is for children, but given the state of mass confusion about sexuality that exists, it is not at all surprising that children are being inhaled into that vortex.

    Yes, I have opinions on this one.

    It is something I grieve for.

    Good for you, Mrs Fringe, for calling this one out.

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    1. Thanks Kyla 🙂 I have strong opinions here. Living life on the fringe has encouraged me to put much thought into what I can control, and decisions made as a parent, in the hopes of the best possible chance for my kiddos to have better opportunities.

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      1. That is so true!! There is such innocence in those first little crushes and so forth, and to see that innocence stripped away with exposure to the growing culture our children are exposed to, and then stuff as specific as this, is heartbreaking. 😦

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  5. I have a 12-year-old niece and love the way she is unconcerned about this stuff – so far. Her self esteem is in her creativity and her energies go into making art and texting her friends – the landscape she faces is so much scarier than the one I faced at her age. I see this stuff and it worries me that seeing it might make her believe that she is less than amazing – that it would rob her of the last of her childhood. Very good post Mrs F – very powerful.

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    1. Thank you. I’m not sure if it’s really so much worse, all this stuff was there when I was a kid too–with less supervision. But maybe that is what makes it scarier to me, knowing what can be, kwim? And of course, feeling like we should know better at this point. Your niece sounds lovely, and I’m guessing she’ll be just fine. Your family is a strong one, and she has an excellent female role model. 🙂

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  6. Yes yes yes I couldn’t agree more, I do not get parents buying such items for their children little girls need little girl clothes not slutty girl clothes.

    People complain that children are growing up too fast but what do they expect when they make/buy clothes that should be worn by girls in their late teens to early 20’s not by little girls…….

    If people didn’t buy these types of clothes for little girls the companies would stop making them, common sense they are not going to make clothes that don’t sell.

    Some parents need to wake up and see their little girl is dressing like a street walker and not a little girl and toughen up and be the parent and not the childs friend………

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    1. It’s actually hard to find clothes that are truly age appropriate for preteens. 😦
      I worry for children who don’t know how to value themselves, and what it is that should be valued.

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  7. I left a strongly worded comment on Snapin’s reblog and will leave a copy of the email sent to Victoria’s Secret here:
    ————

    YOU HAVE CROSSED THE LINE

    Seriously? Little girls? You have crossed the decency line when you even CONSIDER products that encourage the sexualization of children.

    I am in the market for ALL new lingerie, and I promise I won’t spend so much as a penny with a company to which money is more important than humanity, self-esteem and SAFETY.

    I can see the headlines now: Court decides it wasn’t rape – 10 year old ASKED for it by wearing CALL ME thong.

    Do none of you have girl children or have ALL of you swallowed the corporate Kool-Aid.

    You have a serious marketing problem on your hands now. I wish I could say, “good luck” but I wish you the opposite of same.

    I rarely use this term, but it is the ONLY one that applies here: SHAME ON YOU.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
    – ADD Coaching Field co-founder –
    (ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

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    1. Thanks Madelyn. Joanne Rambling made an excellent point in another comment. If people weren’t buying these things, they wouldn’t stay on the racks very long.

      As I wrote in my post, in many ways, this isn’t new. I remember the outcry when the Calvin Klein ads came out with Brooke Shields. Kids have been receiving mixed messages for a long time. In some ways, I think we’ve made quite a bit of progress–look at the percentages of kids going to college now, compared to thirty years ago. But we still have a long way to go, too many kids being distracted and lost.

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      1. You make so many good points in your article (which I posted to FB as well, btw.). THANKS for being out there with this issue.

        Ya’ know, I’m okay with GROWN-UPS buying as many of whatever it takes for them to get it up in the bedroom — with companies that manufacture and sell same.

        I’m NOT ok with the covert/overt message that “being sexy” is a legitimate goal in life – sometimes the ONLY legitimate goal in life.

        But, hey – I don’t get to run the world.

        HOWEVER, when the safety, security and self-esteem of our collective CHILDREN is on the line in a manner that has NO purpose what-so-ever but to line the corporate pockets of pedophiles by marketing sexual paraphernalia to CHILDREN, I draw the line out-loud, pulling no punches, and calling it by name.

        Make no mistake – sexy underwear IS sexual paraphernalia and anyone who sexualizes children is a pedophile.

        At THAT point, their fist has collided with MY face and they have defecated on MY world. I do not want to live in a world where it is ok with ANYONE that little girls (or little boys) are sexualized – not in other countries, of course, but right here in supposedly civilized AMERICA – the land of the brave and the free? NO. WAY.

        I see this as so clearly wrong and dangerous to everything I hold dear that I can’t see ANY other side to this issue, and am willing to “unfriend” anyone in my world that attempts to even HINT that it might be ok. I do not want to breathe the poison air they exhale.

        Pedophilia is NOT ok. It’s a disorder. My ONLY comment to pedophiles and promoters: get help, don’t pass it on to the next generation.
        xx,
        mgh

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        1. I agree with so much of what you write.

          I think feeling sexy, embracing and expressing sexuality is great. But preadolescents and adolescents are not adults, and often don’t and can’t understand the repercussions of the decisions made.

          I feel this is a huge conversation we need to be having, as a society. How to respect our kids, allow them to grow, allow them to make decisions (and mistakes) so they can learn, while still providing the protection and safety net they need.

          There are way too many kids in our country who don’t “get” to be kids, facing poverty, hunger, neglect, abuse, or prostitution. When we are lucky enough to have children who aren’t faced with these living evils, how about we use this time to teach them about their world, good and bad, so they can go on to make healthy decisions for themselves?

          Like

    2. Thank you for your post on my blog, and you nailed it in your email to VS, especially with that line re the potential headlines… Because sadly, I can see it happening. 😦

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      1. Below is my email to The Limited, which owns VS (choosing “press” from their dropdown “what is this about” menu)
        =======
        If nobody in your organization understood the need to leash the deviants running the show, there is probably nothing I can say that will make you stop to reconsider — except, perhaps, that I will never shop at a Limited Corporation store again unless and until you stop this nonsense, I will NEVER again shop at Victoria’s Secret, and I will use my visibility to encourage others to join me in boycotting your entire organization.

        Little girls are NOT “untapped markets” for sexual paraphernalia. Don’t kid yourself, sexy underwear IS sexual paraphernalia, and it belongs in the hands and on the bodies of consenting ADULTS. Anyone over the age of 16 who sexualizes children is a pedophile – by definition.

        The sexualization of GIRLS, desperate to fit in and be “liked” (not screwed) by boys, undercuts the development of healthy self-esteem in both sexes long before these children, releasing adult hormones and developing adult bodies ONLY, understand the implications of what they’re “selling” and what they’ve been SOLD.

        The viral proliferation of internet snapshots among teens and tweens will morph into underwear shot cyber-bullying — and the internalization of YOUR shame will follow them the rest of THEIR lives. I suppose your corporate capitalists will attempt rationalize THAT as “unintended” collateral damage of their “right” to “market.”

        Science now understands that KIDS are at increasingly greater effect of their impulses until they are about 20, when the brain fully matures; ADULTS are supposed to have developed a bit of pre-frontal cortex override of primitive impulses.

        How can it be that you your *entire* upper management team lacks brakes? I’m wondering if the problem is that most of you lack something else that would make you brave enough to JUST SAY NO.

        Pedophilia is NOT ok. It’s a disorder. My ONLY comment to pedophiles and promoters: get help, don’t pass it on to the next generation.

        Madelyn Griffith-Haynie

        ONE last point to anyone who mistakes their intentions: Justin Bieber as the headliner for their fashion show? Tween idol Jusin Bieber? Really.

        I will ALSO add what I said to my friend Barry, a college aged junk-yard dog if there ever was one, when his little girl got old enough to want to date, which worried him mightiliy: “Karma sucks, huh?”

        MEN: you KNOW what sexualization of young girls implies. Where are your voices on this?

        FOR MOMS who might tend to agree with the “nobody wants their daughter to be ‘the girl in the ugly underware'” rationale for promoting the Pink line to her own tweens: PRETTY and “sexualized” are NOT the same thing.

        Badges of rebellion are worn where ADULTS as well as other kids can see and read. Unless you want your kids flashing their underware, which sends an altogether different signal to an altogether different brand of deviancy, think again.

        Like

  8. Reblogged this on ADD . . . and-so-much-more and commented:
    Not “on topic” with this blog, but important enough to make an exception.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ENOUGH already! Victoria Secret has lost it’s mind, and I simply cannot refain from encouraging a boycott of a company that prioritizes profits over self-esteem, SAFETY, good sense and common decency.

    We used to have a word for those who sexualize children: PEDOPHILES. And now we have a company who wants to supply the [extremely scanty] outfits. To GIRLS. They call it an “untapped market.” I call it a disgrace.

    Whether you have little girls or not, ALL of you have mothers or sisters. Please THINK about what we are saying about humanity when we do NOT speak up and slap hands.

    Do we REALLY want to raise a generation of girls who are pimped out as objects?
    Do we REALLY want to raise a generation of little boys who believe that getting laid is the most important part of being a man?

    Jump over to read Mrs. Fringes article. Then send a strongly worded email to Victoria’s Secret – and buy your OWN sexy underware ANYWHERE else. Little girls do NOT belong in CALL ME thongs.

    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
    – ADD Coaching Field co-founder –
    (ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Like

  9. Whats next diaper thongs? I hate when little girls don’t dress like little girls. My son informed me that they (him and his male friends) call the girls at school that wear short skirts or shorts and Uggs EskiHOs, 13 males don’t even find this attractive. I really hope this fails There has to be enough parents with common sense (right???)

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    1. @Susan – lol re: “diaper thongs” – but grimly. I can see crotchless underwear next – after ALL, it certainly bypasses anything moist and damp promoting vaginal infection, right?

      But then, they might get some push-back from the companies that market sprays etc. for “that infuriating itch, um . . . you know . . . down “there.”

      xx,
      mgh

      Like

  10. While this may be new for Victoria’s Secret, it’s unfortunately not really all that new for the world. As someone who goes to the beach in summer, seeing toddler girls in skimpy bikinies is all too common. And then there’s Toddlers and Tiaras, which to my mind is child abuse. Victoria’s Secret is just following a very disturbing trend, one that needs to stop. I’d boycott them, but I don’t buy from them in the first place!

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  11. I’d like to say I’m shocked that preteens are modeling underwear meant for older women, but I’m not. We scream protect our kids when on the other hand some women allow their children to become too old..much too soon.

    Ah, what a message we send our girls; we teach them morals and then sell them out to the public dressed in provocative undies. And, then these moms wonder where they went wrong in their child’s upbringing. Didn’t mean to rant.. well, yeah I did.

    Great post..I really enjoyed it!

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    1. Thanks, cranky. 🙂 One of these days I’m going to add a page to the blog, with links to favorite posts, or something like that.
      I think it is really hard for teens right now. In many ways they’re infantilized (do you need help with your paper, writing college apps?) and on the other hand they’re expected to know how to have an adult level relationship, have more and more pressures added without any true sense of responsibility and independence. Either way, I can’t help but feel we’re dropping the ball here somewhere.

      Like

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