Baumgardner: Victoria's Secret wants your little girl

Baumgardner: Victoria's Secret wants your little girl

March 31st, 2013 By Julie Baumgardner in Life Entertainment

Apparently, Victoria's Secret thinks your young daughter needs sexy underwear, so it has started a new line called Bright Young Things.

"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," said Victoria's Secret Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer in an interview with the Business Insider.

A recent segment on "The Today Show" reported that the company is actively seeking the business of younger and younger females through the use of celebrities such as singer Justin Beiber. Considering the fact that the teenage demographic has approximately $209 billion in annual buying power, it is not surprising that a company would try to appeal to them.

However, if you are the parent of girls, you may question the notion of your young daughter wearing underwear with words like "Call Me," "WILD" and "Feeling Lucky?" on them.

"I hope parents find this as offensive as I do," says Dr. Meg Meeker, pediatrician and author of "Your Kids at Risk." "Marketing cigarettes, alcohol and sex to our kids has been a source of concern for the American Academy of Pediatrics for years, because numerous studies show that advertising changes a teen's behavior. If you make cigarettes look sexy, kids buy them and smoke them. If you market seductive underwear to little girls, they are at higher risk for starting sexual activity."

When advertisers sell sex to our daughters, they encourage them to believe that their identity equals their sexuality. Studies indicate that encouraging girls to be "sexy" can lead to devastating physical health problems and psychological and emotional harm.

"Girls and women are reduced to sexy playthings," says Meeker. "We want our girls to believe that their identity stems from their character, their uniqueness and their intellectual or physical achievement."

In an open letter to Victoria's Secret, Evan Dolive, father of a 3-year-old daughter writes, "As a dad, this ... makes me sick. I believe this message sends the wrong message to not only my daughter but to all young girls. 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. I don't want my daughter to ever think that to be popular or even attractive she has to emblazon words on her bottom.

"I want my daughter [and every girl] to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence. Decisions like should I be a doctor or a lawyer? Should I take calculus as a junior or a senior? Do I want to go to Texas A&M or University of Texas or some Ivy League school? Should I raise awareness for slave trafficking or lack of water in developing nations? There are many, many more questions that all young women should be asking themselves ... not will a boy like me if I wear a 'Call Me' thong."

Meeker says: "Our daughters need to know that their value comes from being strong young women, not sexy playthings for boys. Selling sexy lingerie to adult women may be fair game, but selling it to our little girls isn't."

Contact Julie Baumgardner, president and CEO of First Things First, at julieb@firstthings.org.