Though Victoria's Secret is known for its risqué fashion, the company is drawing wide criticism for its alleged new “tween line” aimed at middle-school-aged girls.
News has recently begun circulating that the lingerie mega-store was going to launch a new line called Bright Young Things, a collection that would target pre-teen girls.
It was reported that this new line would feature “lace black cheeksters with the word 'Wild' emblazoned on them, green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with 'Feeling Lucky?' and a lace trimmed thong with the words, 'Call me' on the front.”
Despite the company's insistence that “Bright Young Things” was just a slogan used alongside spring break to promote its PINK line, and not a new collection for young girls, parents have taken to social media to express their outrage.
Evan Dolive, a Houston dad, wrote an open letter to Victoria's Secret on his blog that has gone viral. “I don’t want my daughter to ever think that her self-worth and acceptance by others is based on the choice of her undergarments,” he wrote. “I don’t want my daughter to ever think that to be popular or even attractive she has to have emblazon[ed] words on her bottom.”
He continued: “I want my daughter to know that she is perfect the way she is; I want my daughter to know that no matter what underwear she is wearing, it does not define her.”
Diana Cherry, a mom in Seattle, on Monday started a petition on change.org that has already received more than 5,000 signatures.
“I don’t want a brand like Victoria’s Secret telling my daughters what sexy should be and my son that girls have to look or dress a certain way,” she said in her petition. “Sexualization of girls by marketers has been found to contribute to depression, eating disorders, and early sexual activity—and this new ad campaign is a glaring example of a culture forcing girls to grow up too fast.”
Victoria's Secret posted this statement on its Facebook page: “In response to questions we recently received, Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. 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.”
But the company's chief financial officer, Stuart Burgdoerfer, made some controversial comments at a recent 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,” he said, “and that's part of the magic of what we do at PINK.”
Cherry said though the company claims that PINK is for college women, “Burgdoerfer made it clear when asked about Victoria’s Secret’s PINK lingerie line that they are trying to reach a teen audience.”
Former Charisma Editor Lee Grady wrote on his Facebook page, where he linked to the change.org petition: “Oh, so since a girl moves on campus it's okay to wear something that basically says, 'Rape me'? This is sick.”
Cindy Chafian, president of The Mommy Lobby, insists that Victoria's Secret is lying about its target audience, and says the products are aimed at young teenagers.
“Moms are not dumb; we know who they’re marketing to,” she told the Daily News.