Monday, October 20, 2014


My daughter came home last week and requested a trip to the mall.

Specifically, a trip to Victoria's Secret.

So I said, "Simmer down, Valentine. Why in the world do you want to go to Victoria's Secret?"

I mean, it's not like Victoria's Secret is actually a secret, but I was still surprised to hear her ask to go there. I decided a long time ago to ban Victoria's Secret from my closet--a one-women protest, if you will--because I don't like the way they advertise. I saw a S&M (mannequins, obviously) display (not at my mall, but at a mall) that was in the store-front. The store front. I'm not saying don't do a S&M display, just do it inside the store, so that those who want to can choose to go into the store and then if they don't want to see it, they can leave, and kids and teenagers who are navigating this confusing world of sexuality aren't so over-exposed--at least not until they're older and better able to handle what they see.

Apparently my demonstration against VS has been heard by one person.


And it's not an actual banning, because I still have various VS items in my closet--one being a Pink sweatshirt we found at Once Upon a Child for $5. I guess the ban really meant I wouldn't go to the store to buy their stuff.

"I think their Pink line is cute," she said, "and I want a Pink sweatshirt."

Of course. I should have known the Pink line, geared toward younger girls and college students, would draw her in. Victoria's Secret has some master marketers.

So I begrudgingly pulled up VS on my computer, to look at their Pink line. First of all, the sweatshirts, which I'm sure are made in a sweatshop by 5-year-olds somewhere overseas, are like fifty dollars. And second, it just feels weird to be looking at Victoria's Secret, even if it is just for a sweatshirt, for your middle-schooler.

Ultimately, I decided to keep my ban. For now. I might change my mind later, but she gets just as excited when I mention shopping at JCPenney. And I firmly believe in recycling and reusing, which means that we frequent stores like Once Upon A Child and Playtos Closet for second-hand Pink apparel.

But honestly, I still have an issue with Victoria's Secret. They do have some master marketers, who are able to reach into the recesses of our brains and pick the single most well-known insecurity of the female population--body image--and then exploit it ruthlessly. Who doesn't want to look like a sex kitten on the beach? (Although the poses are a little awkward, especially the spread-eagle, sand-on-my-rear, possible-wardrobe-malfunction-if-I-move, come-hither ones.) But VS is one of the main offenders when it comes to branding a specific beauty box, and then making sure we all want to fit perfectly inside.

I probably don't speak for everybody, but I know I speak for some when I say there is a secret part of our heart that tries really, really hard to fit the Victoria's Secret Mold of Beauty. But I have found that there is freedom is discovering that there are many different definitions of beauty, and accepting your own person as one of those definitions is like setting your soul free.

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