People have been talking. Captured on Facebook last year was this post written by a young lawyer who wants to see the women he cares about valued for their true beauty:
Dear Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, You are not about beauty or self-confidence or feminine strength. You are the crown jewel of a beauty industry that creates and then capitalizes on self-loathing. It is disgusting. Shame on you for helping to create another generation of body-image obsessed women who undervalue their own worth. Sincerely, Jefferson, Attorney
Next is a snapshot of a conversation with a manager at a Victoria Secret store in PA:
“…I have to tell you that I find your ad displays offensive and would love it if you’d talk to your next level management and let them know that someone came in and voiced a concern. The ad displays are simply pornographic; they are detrimental to the children walking by, I'm offended as a woman, and for men who struggle with pornography they are triggering."
“It's interesting that you see it that way; I feel exactly the opposite because I think the ads are an expression of a woman’s beauty.”
“False, exploitative images cannot truly express a woman’s beauty…our true beauty is found in who we are as women, not in how we look! The average woman is never going to look like that! This type of ad contributes to our young girls having body image and eating disorder issues ...they believe this is how they should look, and that’s just wrong.”
“I will pass this on and let my manager know. I’m sorry that you are offended.”
And another conversation with the management office of a mall in TN that had an indecent display in a Victoria's Secret window fifty feet from Santa’s Village during Christmas time:
“Has anyone complained to you about the Victoria’s Secret window display? I find it extremely offensive and I will not shop here anymore if this is the kind of thing your mall management thinks is appropriate for an environment where people come to shop with their families.'
“Oh yes sir we’ve had lots of complaints. Once we get forty or fifty complaints they tone it down for a week or two. Then after the complaints die down they just put it back up again.”
Perhaps the results would be permanent if they got four hundred complaints instead of forty. And you may have seen this recent post which has by now reached thousands, a pastor and father shares the letter he has written to VS on behalf of his daughter:
“I believe that this new line “Bright Young Things” thwarts the efforts of empowering young women in this country. “Bright Young Things” gives off the message that women are sex objects. This new line promotes it at a dangerously young age. I implore you to reconsider your decision to start this line...(read more here)”
So what's the secret Victoria's Secret doesn't want you to know?
In a report done by the American Pyschological Association task force on the sexualization of girls "sexualization and objection undermine confidence in and comfort with one's own body, leading to a host of negative emotional consequences such as shame, anxiety, and even self-disgust." As for the Victoria's Secret "fashion show," the APA study reports, "the sexualization and objectification of women in the media appear to teach women and girls, all they have to offer is their body and face and they should expend all their effort on physical appearance."
Victoria’s Secret is being exposed for what it is: an industry that cares more about its revenue than it does about protecting the true value of a woman. Even more disturbing is their strategy to target our daughters. We believe it is time to take a stand for the next generation and begin more conversations like these. We believe that all daughters, and sons, should be valued for who they are, not for how they look. We believe that a great nation should invest in the content of its children’s character and not in companies that push hyper–sexual advertising to our pre-teens.
Are you a mother or father? – A grandmother or grandfather? – An aunt or an uncle? – A big brother? If so, it's time for your voice to be heard! Write letters. Make phone calls. Talk to your mall manager or your grocery store manager when you see something that objectifies women. Tell them that sex doesn’t sell to you anymore. And then prove it by taking your dollars to companies that honor women. Together we can remind the retailers of America that women are people and that every woman is Somebody’s Daughter!