Victoria's Secret has launched a new ad campaign and this one is quite clear that it is targeting our younger teens, the ones who are barely out of middle school. Have a look for yourself. Let me tell you that I am not pleased. Nor do I think parents of young teens should be pleased. The girls themselves might not know enough to be displeased because they are very young but this is not going to be good for them. I hate to say it but maybe they will understand when they are older. Did I really just say that? Oh goodness!
The new ad campaign is called "Bright Young Things" a surprising moniker indeed because there is nothing "bright" or "intelligent" about sexy apparel and underwear for young girls who are not yet fully aware of the power of their sexuality. I suppose though that the "bright" refers to the color of the garments. It's a clever play on words though. The models in this campaign appear younger so our young teens will identify with them. The new line includes "Spring Must Haves" which will appeal to young teens who clearly must have what their friends have. Some of the items include very minimal and sexy bikinis and towels with phrases like "Call me" or "Kiss Me" on them. Really, now?
There are several reasons why I am concerned about this new line of clothing:
1. Do our young teens need yet another source of competition? Do they need another exclusive club where you either have the right set of garments or don't? Are we further encouraging exclusivity? Sadly, girls of this age are very prone to the entire concept of fitting in or not. We are now giving them tiny and sexy items to fit into -- or not. Believe me, they already have enough trouble fitting in at some of the exclusive lunch tables in their middle and high schools. And, I mean this both literally and figuratively.
2. Young teens are NOT aware of the full impact of their sexuality. I know this. They talk to me in the confines of my office all of the time. They have a bit of an idea but not a full understanding. Until they understand the power of sexuality they should NOT be wearing these items which may get the boys hot and bothered.
3. I suspect that as we sexualize our girls earlier we will see an increase in depression and eating disorders among the younger set and the other issues that are part and parcel of being a teen girl. Just watch the trends with me over the next few years.
4. Now, I ask you this. Why are our young teen boys not being marketed to in the same way? I am glad they are not being encouraged to wear skimpy swim trunks etc. but whoever is looking out for them should be looking out for our girls.
5. There is already enough heat being generated between adolescent teens and eventually the summer sun will contribute. Do we really need to add to it with this sexy clothing line?
Please weigh in. I would love to hear your opinions.