A Letter to the CEO of Victoria's Secret


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I wanted to write to tell you my thoughts on the new teen lingerie line you have produced. I have spent my life watching models with curvy bodies and perfect figures line the runway. With this image of the “perfect woman” constantly thrown in my face, it has been difficult to find happiness and peace with my body. We live in a world that tells women that what is on the outside is more important than anything else she has to offer. We do not live in a world that celebrates women. The passing of the 19th amendment furthered women's rights, the feminist movement brought out voices of women all across America; however, women are still repressed, and it is other women who are doing the repressing. A woman is not celebrated for being smart. She is not set on a pedestal for her accomplishments. A woman today is seen by other women as something to sized up and compared to, then judged accordingly. It is not men who are doing this to us. It is a combination of other women, and the media.
As women today, we cannot go a day without having the image of a sexualized woman thrown in our face. We are constantly being told that “sexy” is the only thing to be, and the only way to be sexy is to look like the airbrushed models on the covers of magazines. With such an impossible standard it is no surprise that women suffer from so many eating disorders, depression, and self-satisfaction issues.

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As a prospective mother, the idea of raising a daughter in a world with this media terrifies me. How am I ever to raise confident, smart, self-assured girls when, for every positive message I give them, the world gives them ten negative? The sexualization of women is being aimed younger and younger, and is indeed moving from women to girls. By putting teen idols such as Justin Beiber on the stage of the recent Pink fashion show, and using younger, more youthful looking models, your company is encouraging young girls to sexualize themselves. The message being sent is not one of self worth, it is one of a need to be aesthetically pleasing to men. The message is that what you have to offer as far as brains and personality is meaningless. If you don’t have the body of a photoshopped mannequin, you are of no worth. 
As I am only one individual with one voice, I fear that I will never be a powerful enough force to get my message across to you. However, mine is not the only voice calling out in protest. Mothers across the nation are taking actions against your attempt to make their 15- and 16-year-old girls feel like sex is the only way they can find love. News stations across the country have featured your new line, questioning your ideals and how your advertisements are affecting teenage girls psychologically.

At this critical time of development in a girl’s life, when she is truly developing who she is and what she believes in, teens need role models, not runway models. They need someone to stand up and show them what an education can do for them, to be an example of what hard work and dedication will get them. They need people who look inside and see their true beauty, not someone to tell them they are overweight or not sexy enough to ever be loved, or even be paid attention to.  

And so I am putting my voice together with the masses. Together with mothers across the globe, together with teenage girls who struggle to love themselves. From boys who want to marry self-respecting women, to daughters who want strong role models, I am asking you to consider the effect your marketing has the minds of our youth.

Update: I got a response in the mail a few weeks later. On pink paper. I was informed that the teen line was in fact a "college line" and thanked for my concern.

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