I Am NOT a Thing

“I am NOT a thing!”

These words came out of my 8 yr old’s mouth when I was talking to her about why I was upset about underwear. Underwear created by Victoria’s Secret supposedly for college aged women (according to a statement on their Facebook Page), but in reality 15-16 year olds (according to a statement by Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer), and by associations younger teens and tweens. The slogan for the new line of underwear is called Bright Young Things.

Things. Not girls, women, ladies, chicks… things. Ponder that for a moment. You are no longer a girl or a woman but a THING. Feel free to start to get mad now…. A THING doesn’t have feelings, a THING isn’t a person who can be violated. A THING can be used, discarded, laughed at… without feeling remorse.

I explained to Gabby that it had nothing to do with the actual lace and cotton, but about the words on that lace, the girls who the underwear are meant for. Girls who shouldn’t have inappropriate messages on their underwear to be cool and who shouldn’t worry about being sexy. And while I know that other companies have tries to tap into the tween demographic by using over sexualized products to sell, Victoria’s Secret is a lingerie company that also happens to sell sweats and tee shirts on the side. They are in the bra and underwear business.

Maybe you still think that parents are over reacting and that this line isn’t aimed at tweens, that college women are the target audience? How about the fact that Justin Beiber was the performer during their fashion show in November. I know tweens…. I have classes of them who very loudly vocalize their music preference, and Justin Beiber is their guy. College girls? Not so much.

Today alone I have read at least 5 blog posts, watched 2 news reports, and listened to a live conference regarding this topic. I am happy to see people talking about this because so much is at stake. It is not about the underwear alone. It is about the message we are sending to young girls about their body and their self worth. It is the message we are sending boys about the value of our girls. Is a girl only worth something if she is sexy?

Many commenters blame the parents. “If you don’t like it then don’t buy it” was written by many. And to a certain degree I completely agree. But companies need to take some responsibility for their marketing and products. Specifically marketing padded swim tops to 7-11 year olds, makeup to 8-12 year olds, and high heeled sneakers to 6-12 year olds is wrong.

It is a slippery slope of little girls wanting to be older younger and younger. Your 8 yr old daughter comes home and tells you the “cool” girl at school got her legs waxed and that she now wants her legs waxed. You explain that it isn’t appropriate, that body hair is normal and natural, and you let it go. However, at school your little girl is now getting made fun of for having hairy legs, she gets called names and is picked on. And thus the unattainable beauty standards viciousness begins.

So what should you do if you are a concerned/pissed parent? Well go here and sign the petition to start. Boycott companies whose products oversexualize young girls. Write letters, blog, and spread the word about this serious matter. But most importantly educate your girls about the importance of just being a kid and why it is better to wait for grown up stuff until she is grown up more. Say no to padded bras, mascara, high heels, thongs, and such to tweens and even young teens.

Want more resources?

This book is a good place to start, along with this one.

Also, this tee shirt says it all to me- a message I would be proud to have my daughters wear.

6 thoughts on “I Am NOT a Thing

  1. Great Resources! Thanks, Connie. I will say most of my underwear and bras are from VS…and I think some of the ones I have with words on them are fun. HOWEVER, I am in my mid-30’s! I struggle with promoting and marketing to young girls (not necessarily young women–which I consider college-age). It perpetuates the stereo-type and problem that women should be sexy and slutty. We’re damned if we do and damed if we don’t. Media makes this so difficult for us to change things. It is upsetting to see some young girls (tweens, even) in sweats that have writing on the butt…as if we need to call more attention to the female body. We continue to feed into these messages that we are “things” by buying and wearing such things.

    1. Lol, I am an Aerie fan for my undies and my tops come from Lane Bryant. (Thank you pregnancies for adding a cup size each time!) However I do enjoy their PINK line for sweats and tees. You are right though, it is definitely a vicious cycle. I don’t know where to begin fighting it but I know that they crossed a line. =)

  2. Thank you for the book recommendations. As a mom of girls, are there any other books you’d recommend in general?

    I can’t believe that I’m having such a hard time right now finding an affordable one-piece swim suit (that isn’t super-frilly) for my TWO YEAR OLD. And even when shopping for 2T underwear, I wonder why the designs are often just on the butt, where my daughter can’t even see them. Sigh. I thought I’d have a little longer before I’d have to start dealing with this crap!

    1. Hi Lisa! I definitely would recommend the books on this list: http://towardthestars.com/ProductList-Parenting_Girls-220-sub_cat.html. I used to take so many things at face value, Disney Princesses, cute little purses with fake makeup for babies, and such. But thanks to many of these reads I think twice about the messages I am sending. (For the record we love Disney Princesses, it is just that I explain a lot more now) =) As for the bathing suit and underwear, we get ours at Target and Old Navy but I have rules such as no string bikini for the older two. Hope this helps and thanks for reading the article!!!
      ~Connie

      1. Thank you, Connie! I hadn’t thought to look at Target online and just found a cute Circo suit there. (Old Navy has some nice stuff too, but I wasn’t able to find the size I needed.) As far as books, I just added some titles to my library list. I appreciate it!

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