underpants for the underage

I will not be the only blogger who writes about this latest “ooh aren’t we edgy” marketing campaign; there are bloggers with far bigger platforms than mine who will draw attention to the latest entry in the “How Low Will Corporations Go” sweepstakes.  You thought perhaps the JC Penney “I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother does it for me” shirt was lame, right?

Is your daughter too pretty to do her homework?

And I imagine you weren’t real happy about the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch had a campaign to sell padded swim-suit tops…to 8 year olds. Because really, let’s start training these girls early that it’s all about the boobs, girls, all about the boobs–and thus every swimsuit should, without a doubt, resemble a personal flotation device. (You’ll be happy to know that the company altered the description of the swimsuit top from “padded” to “lightly lined.” Which totally makes it okay.)

But now? Now we may have a winner in the Tastelessness Sweepstakes. I present to you the latest line of underwear being marketed by that bastion of tastelessness, Victoria’s Secret:

It’s a whole new line of undies that seem designed not so much in the “delicate unmentionable” category as they are in the what-the-fuck-were-you-thinking category.  Here’s another beauty:

Victoria's Secret: Pull "Bright Young Things" From Shelves

Couldn’t a gal just, you know, text some guy her number instead of dropping trou to present her request?

The undies are part of the new “Bright Young Things” line being launched as part of the VS PINK line; the ad campaign features scantily clad girls women frolicking in what are being billed as “Spring Break Must-Haves,” which is why I guess the collection also includes some fabulous beach towels, like this one:

At the risk of sounding like a crotchety old lady muttering into her hearing aid, I’d like to suggest that from meet to kiss there should be more than one step. It seems appropriate that a beach towel carries this message, which is about being utterly and completely passive: just recline and let things be done to you: be called, be met, be kissed, be pinked. It’s like the girl is some kind of puppy waiting to be adopted from the pound: like me like me like me, all tail-waggy and dewy-eyed. And let’s not even contemplate what “pink me”  means, shall we?

Oh I know, there we go again, we shrill humorless feminists, we mothers whose memories of youth vanished when we zipped up that first pair of comfy mom jeans. I mean, it’s just a towel, for god’s sake, it’s just a pair of underpants.  Reeeelaaaaaxxxx, right?

Or as this oh-so-clever article from E! Online (ever a reputable news source) says, “don’t get your panties in a twist.”  And here’s why we should all just chillax, according to the article:

Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women,” the company said in a statement to E! News. “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.”

So, in other words, they’re not trying to make teens too sexy before their time.

The misunderstanding originated when the company’s chief financial officer, Stuart Burgdoerfer, said at a conference, “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.”

The Bright Young Things just got caught up in the fray.

So no worries on the underpants front, folks, those sexy-pants messages are safe from your high school daughters.  Victoria’s Secret isn’t trying to turn 15 year old girls into sexy college students, absolutely not. I’m sure that store clerks will be carding their customers to ensure that no prepubescent lassie will be buying underwear that says “I Dare You.”

But hey, as “part of the magic,” I think that PINK should by all means encourage college girls women to emblazon sexual challenges on their scanties, and to splay themselves on beach towels that encourage objectification, passivity, and … pink-ing, whatever the hell that is.

Okay, sure, it’s just a stupid marketing gimmick and it’s just an overpriced pair of underpants that maybe don’t mean much. But the body that will wear those underpants? That body has meaning; that body has value.

Or at least, it should have value.  Unfortunately, the folks at Victoria’s Secret seem to have missed that point.


A petition to pull these pants off the shelves (as it were) is circulating the web; you can find the petition here.

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8 Responses to underpants for the underage

  1. Arnebya March 26, 2013 at 11:51 pm #

    Oh, poor us. We who have lost our youth and now want to make the lives of younger, hipper, better bodied girls, OH, SORRY! women, less fun. How dare we! We should have no issue with our daughters (they’re in college, after all, away from us, less likely to be inhibited, you know) donning panties that DARE someone to…what exactly? What is the dare? Oh, but come come now. Why do we care what the dare is? It’s just something flirty to say, something fun and not at all offensive or scary or wrong. We should simply close our mouths, shake our canes in particular “Get off my lawn” fashion. Perhaps we should be saying, “Get outta my pants?” No, that won’t work. Darn. Doesn’t sell.
    Arnebya recently posted..What Do You Remember From Kindergarten? (Updated with winners!)My Profile

    • Deborah Quinn March 27, 2013 at 12:11 am #

      I’ve always wanted to start a line of sweatpants (and hell, maybe underwear too), sort of along the lines of the Juicy Couture pants, but I’d call them Sarcastipants: so across your ass you could have “IRONIC” or “MORDANT” or, for the larger-framed gal, “SARDONIC.”

      If you wanted to stop whomever from getting into anyone’s whatevers, the underwear could say things like “have you called your mother today?’ or “How many kids do YOU want?” or “My parents are in the FBI.” I think they’d sell like hotcakes.

  2. Lady Jennie March 27, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    I love your diatribes. Just the perfect mix of humor, sarcasm and wisdom!
    Lady Jennie recently posted..Life in the Trenches – Chapter 12My Profile

    • Deborah Quinn March 28, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

      Thank you…I know that VS wants us to believe that these products aren’t targeted for young girls, and probably they’re right: not TARGETED, but what do they call it in the military? Collateral damage–young girls in those stores, reading those catalogs….that’s what they see & then that’s a factor rolling around in their heads when they think about themselves as female. And it worries me for all our daughters …

  3. Christie March 27, 2013 at 1:00 am #

    Maybe there are larger platforms, but there’s no more articulate blogger on the planet than you. You nailed this. I seriously can’t believe this. With all due respect, who the F shopes at VS? I want my pants to say “Inscrutable,” and yes, my ass is big enough for that.

    • Deborah Quinn March 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

      I stammer, I blush. Thank you for the kind words! I think inscrutable as a butt-patch is PERFECT.

  4. Malia Enfort April 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    yeah, I feel soooo sorry for me, wanting to overcome my age and not being at age I’m supposed to be to wear age-limited clothes
    Malia Enfort recently posted..sherpa forumMy Profile


  1. because we all know that girls can’t do math, right? | MaNNaHaTTaMaMMa - August 6, 2013

    […] weathered the ridiculous JC Penney shirts, the disgusting Victoria’s Secret underpants…and corporate America keeps right on swinging back, hell-bent, it seems, on sending the […]

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