A Letter to Victoria’s Secret From a Father

An open letter to Victoria’s Secret regarding their choice to make an underwear line aimed at young teenagers. (Read about it here)


Dear Victoria’s Secret,

I am a father of a three year old girl. She loves princesses, Dora the Explorer, Doc McStuffins and drawing pictures for people. Her favorite foods are peanut butter and jelly, cheese and pistachios.

Even though she is only three, as a parent I have had those thoughts of my daughter growing up and not being the little girl she is now. It is true what they say about kids, they grow up fast. No matter how hard I try I know that she will not be the little ball of energy she is now; one day she will be a rebellious teenager that will more than likely think her dad is a total goof ball and would want to distance herself from my embarrassing presence.

I know that this is far down the line and I try to spend as much time as I can with her making memories of this special time.

But as I read an article today posted on The Black Sphere, it really got me thinking that maybe the culture that we currently find ourselves in is not helping the cause.

Recently I read an article that Victoria’s Secret is launching a line of underwear and bras aimed at middle school aged children. The line will be called “Bright Young Things” and will 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 trim thong with the words, “Call me” on the front.”

As a dad, this makes me sick.

I believe that this 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 have 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 (or girl) like me if I wear a “call me” thong?

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.

I believe that this new line “Bright Young Things” thwarts the efforts of empowering young women in this country. “Bright Young Things” gives off the message that women are sex objects. This new line promotes it at a dangerously young age.

I implore you to reconsider your decision to start this line.

By doing so you will put young girl’s self-esteem, self-worth and pride above profits.

Sincerely,

Rev. Evan Dolive
Houston, TX


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2,831 thoughts on “A Letter to Victoria’s Secret From a Father

  1. This man is 100% right. Unfortunately, Victoria’s Secret isn’t the only company that favors profits over morale. Today’s society in general is getting raunchier and more crass by the moment. As much as we try to inhibit these things from taking place, we can’t control the tidal wave of reality. This reality is oozing with sex, inappropriate clothing, drugs, etc…

    What we CAN do is educate ourselves, establish a strong sense of selfworth and pass this along to our loved ones and future children. Although it’s easy to place blame and point the finger, we are still able to make our own choices in life and are solely responsible for our future.

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  2. We spend a lot of time empowering the women and fighting for women’s rights in other countries.. let’s get it right with our own young girls before we start claiming to know what’s best. Victoria Secret…. encouraging young girls to wear slogans that promote reckless sexuality is not the way to empower anyone. It would only promote the same confusion that is part of our ridiculous television and media culture.

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  3. Pingback: Not an object. | Travelling Infinity Blog

  4. I agree with ALL the above comments, but be aware that so many mothers are living through their little girls, and I believe they encourage this stuff. Parents are the ones with buying power and are afraid to tell their children “No” .

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    • Absolutely! Writing letters to companies rarely does any good. The only thing they understand is dollars. If people refuse to buy the items in the sizes that teenage girls wear, then they will stop spending money to manufacture the items in those sizes.

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      • parents dont have to buy them there is not an age limit on buying panties and bras the girls will just buy them the line should nnot even be started i totally would not want my baby girl wearing these

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      • Not true… most major companies have market research departments – the average marketing strategy considers the voice (or written word) of ONE person to represent the purchasing opinions of ONE HUNDRED potential consumers. While writing letters will not ‘fix’ any cause if not backed up with socially conscious consumerism.. the letters DO have an impact – not to mention the level of awareness and legitimacy a statement put forth by a concerned adult can lend to any cause.
        Keep writing those letters – to corporations as well as your local legislative representative – and you absolutely can affect change.

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    • Excellent! Thank you for defending our children’s purity. There is so much filth that they try to force on us. But now they have sunk even deeper into the pit by targeting young girls. God have mercy on us.

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    • THANK YOU for saying the same thing I have been saying for a long time. Unfortunately to live in a “free” country, businesses have the right to make anything they want. That does not mean we have to support them with our hard earned dollars. If we don’t purchase their products, they do not make money, and therefore will change their product to something will will support. I agree…vote with your dollars…and your common sense!

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  5. I am so glad that finally someone is standing up to good morals. I really do not know what is going to become of our children with so many media bombarding them with ads leading to sex. I once read, “If you need sex to sell your products, then your products must not be good”. And I think this is so true! But know with so much child pornagraphy, this will only make more trouble!
    We all parents have to instill very good morals to our children and never ever think that a good moral education is “not in”. Morals do NOT go out of style! Now please parents, it is up to us not to give our little girls the money to buy them. If we do not buy they will NOT sell!

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  6. I completely agree, this is so wrong on so many levels. I shop at VS, but I’m 39, and am extremly disturbed when I see young girls shopping there, or what is even worse, mothers shopping with their young daughters, and buying them sexy underclothes. I mean if it’s some sweat pants or a shirt from the Pink line, it’s alright, but I think that the lingerie section should be closed off and underaged girls / kids should not be even allowed in there. That is not a place for them, just like a club.

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    • I dunno…when I was a teenager my mom taught me how nice it can be to wear pretty underthings for my own sake, and I value that message. The scanty underwear isn’t the problem so much as the message attached to it by VS advertising.

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  7. A newspaper column by Ann Landers in the mid-1950’s spoke to my generation of young women and is still true today…she said that pre-teens and teens have a difficult enough time coping with pimples on their face. Don’t give them the burden of having to sort out adult ideas before they are emotionally ready.

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    • Agree with Susan Campbell and Ivonka in particular. Teenagers are the wrong audience for this type of apparel. And I also think that a woman should buy and wear sexy lingerie for herself first.

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  8. If somebody wants to buy a product like this, all the power to them; this upsets me because it’s targeted at minors. These kids are at a point in their lives where they are making the very stressful transition to biological maturity. It’s no secret that during this time, many teens are compelled by the enormous concentrations of hormones flowing through their body to seek out sexual contact. Naturally, this makes seeming attractive to potential mates feel like it is of upmost importance. As part of the transitional journey that is puberty, we grapple with identity, security, and trying to find a sense of belonging in the world. I agree with Rev. Dolive here when he says that it externalizes the sense of self-identity, tying in with the teen’s tendencies to value themselves based on other people’s appraisals. To me, the teenagers are an inappropriate (though easy) audience to advertise to.

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  9. I agree that Victoria’s Secret is crossing a line….and a dangerous one at that. I don’t think my little girls’ underwear should say ANYTHING because I don’t think ANYBODY should be reading (seeing) these private clothes. I also don’t want my little girls comparing their healthy bodies to the “perfect” bodies that will inevitably advertise this line. Leave our little girls alone!

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  10. Look, I’m a 21 year old college student at a private university about to graduate. I’ve been wearing Vicky Secret panties since I was 14. I don’t wear them for popularity; I don’t wear them for other people; I wear them for me. I know VS is a lingerie store, and I really enjoy that. I like feeling sexy for me. (Sure it’s an added bonus for my partner.) But I put on VS panties and bras because they make me feel happy and sexy when I’m just having a terrible day. NOBODY should be judged on what they wear. Absolutely NOBODY. Especially women, because that’s called slut-shaming.
    We don’t want our girls to not learn things. As a parents responsibility they should teach their young ones about these kinds of things (that’s right, I’m talking sex), and if you are too cowardly to come to your sons and daughters and teach them about a fundamental (and fun) part of society, then please have someone else teach them about being safe. (www.youtube.com/lacigreen) I learned very early on (13) and I have continued learning.
    Women (and every gender) need to know that being judged in any way, shape, or form is bullying and harassment. They need to know that they are free to express themselves however they want! If means wearing VS panties and bras, then so be it! Society should not take away the rights to be sexy. Because guess what, women can be both sexy and smart. Just look at where I am. And I am an empowered feminist female with awesome grades!

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    • Christine,
      I think it’s wonderful that you feel so empowered and ‘sexy’. However, this line of underwear is being marketed and targeted towards CHILDREN. As a parent (who wears nice underwear, keeps in shape and enjoys sex), I feel there are many, many more important things to instill in my daughters (and son), than how to feel sexy. This line of garments promotes nothing but the further exploitaiton of female bodies at a ridiculously young age. Here’s to a new generation of eating disorders and mistreatment of women! (Thanks Victoria Secret.)

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    • Your right, it is slut shaming as it should be. You’re 21 and it’s an “added bonus for your partner”. Exactly the Rev’s point. We’re making children grow up too fast and society has lost all morality as you have. You think it’s okay to be not married and be having sex (as you implied) and dressing for your partner. If you’re not married, you shouldn’t be wearing bras and panties for your partner. You may be an “empowered feminist female with awesome grades” but you get an F in morality along with the VS where you shop.

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    • You are only 21. So there are still a lot of things you don’t understand yet. Learning about sex at 13 is frightening if it means you had sex at 13. I hope that’s not the case. A young pre-teen does not need to be “sexy” just yet, maybe not for a long time. Hopefully with a father that cares about her like hers apparently does, she will understand that we are not defined by being “sexy.” I’m sorry for you if that’s the definition of you. What’s on the inside should define us not only as women, but as human beings. I myself am defined by the One you can’t see. And that’s the definition of me. For my husband, I am sexy. But I have no need to be sexy for the world. And this is new for me. I’m not judging, but sharing what I now know to be true and real.

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    • Sweetheart, I don’t know where you were educated but you are sadly lacking in some areas. Guess what? Making judgements about people is not harassment but rather a mechanism of life. At some point a person needs to judge another person…. “are they worthy to be a friend, a boyfriend, a spouse?” Making judgements are an important part of life. You mention slut shaming. Do you mean that if I impress upon my daughter that being a slut, dressing slutty and acting the part are shameful she might not do it? You better bet I will. Maybe then she can avoid things like teen pregnancy, stds, and basically ruining her life. I’d say our problem these days is we don’t shame enough, thats why 13, 14 and younger girls are turning up pregnant or willing to sleep around.

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    • Christine you sound like a vicious, rude disgusting spoiled biatch. I’m glad this father wrote that letter to V.S. and for you information, Miss I’ll-do-what-i-want-when-i-want, you sound like a spoiled, self-centered, snob. If you read the article a little closer, you will see that this man is talking about girls! not women, GIRLS WHO ARE STILL MINORS! Do you advocate for that?? Protecting these youngs girls is far from harassment and/or bullying. It’s teaching these young teen girls that class, dignity and not having sex until they are old enough is the right way to go! Apparently, you don’t have the luxury of having a parent like this man! You should be ashamed of yourself for thinking and believing otherwise!!!!!!!!!!

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    • Within your post you state exactly why this line is inappropriate for young girls. Middle school aged children should not “feel sexy” and be wearing clothing to promote them feeling that way. You keep referring to “women” in your post, but these are not women, they are children, and what VS is doing is sexualizing children. This is not about oppressing someone sexually, it’s about not promoting and advertising products to children who are unable to appropriately process what “feeling sexy” means and then what to do with those feelings. “Women” should have every right to buy sexy underwear that says whatever they’d like and not be judged, but it is irresponsible for a corporation to promote sexual products for children.

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    • While I agree with you, I also must say as a mother of 2 girls (27 n 12) that I encourage my daughter’s to be very proud of themselves and who they are. At the same time my youngest daughter going into VS to buy some lacy thongs that send a wrong message to her and others is NOT ever going to happen. I teach them self respect and to have some dignity and class about themselves and I find that a thong with a “call me” for my 12 yr old lacks dignity and class, not only in her but me, if I buy them for her. If she wants to buy them when she is older then I’ll tell her to go for it, if it makes you happy, but while I’m her mother and she is MY responsibility she will never own them. There will come a time when you decide to be a mother, and I think you’ll see what we as parents mean when we say that this line is not an option for our young daughter’s. Good luck to you and keep doing you for you and what ever makes you happy.

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  11. Thank you for writing this. I totally agree with you. Let’s encourage young girls to remain innocent, and responsible. We do not need sexy undergarments for young girls.

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  12. Way to go Dad for standing up to them and SHAME on you Victoria Secrets for making a really bad decision. As the mother of a teenage daughter, becoming a woman, she doesnt need more reasons to grow up faster and feel less of a person, if she isnt, thin and wearing sexy clothing and under garments. With the media portraying women as sex symbols, Victoria Secret. you are condoning this “perfect” body image on our young girls…..again shame on you!!!! Will never buy your product!!!

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  13. I agree completely. If they launch this new line of clothing for this demographic it should be protested. The last thing I want my daughter thinking is that her worth lay in her sexuality when it is her mind, personality, her belief in God, and her morals that define who she is. And the thought of messages like “feeling lucky?” and “call me.” begs the question who will be reading them and why would my middle school aged daughter be in a position for a boy to be reading them? I feel like this promotes sex at an age that is far too young and puts the thought into little girls heads to show off their underwear to boys leaving them vulnerable to situations that someone their age CAN NOT handle. Like date rape or just rape PERIOD. Then who’s to blame? The boy will say that she invited it because she was wearing clothes that provoked him and it becomes the parents fault for letting her wear something no boy should’ve ever seen in the first place. Shame on them for ever thinking about this marketing strategy. What my daughter wears is my choice until she moves out and that’s a long way off considering she’s only two. And thank you for the info. I will be sure MY daughter won’t come within 5 miles of a Victoria’s Secret store until she has moved out of my house. I have 3 children to raise. I’m not going to raise my daughters children too. And Victoria’s Secret isn’t going to pay for the life of a child because they promoted the sexual conduct of middle school aged girl that led to her pregnancy (or worse).

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  14. Bravo Rev Dolive ! I have three daughters and I so appreciate your words. We need more fathers like you who will have the courage to say no to a culture that exploits children for financial gain and attempts at blurring the boundaries between right and wrong.

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  15. Hey pop Victoria’s secret isn’t going to raise your daughter, you will. Teach her the right way, the right values-biblical or not-and it won’t matter what her underwear says because pop has enough confidence in his parenting skills that he knows she will make the right decisions.

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    • Mya, yes “pop” will raise his daughter, but unless he can somehow keep her in a bubble, she is going to be influenced by what is around her. Advertising and merchandising has taken on such a sexual influence that it is very difficult to lead children away from it. I, for one, will not buy another piece of anything from Victoria Secret. I began boycotting Abercrombie & Fitch many years ago when they came out with catalogs sexualizing teenagers, and I will continue with VC. I may only be one person, but I’m the only one I’ve got!

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  16. congrats to this dad and shame on this company to even entertain this idea never mind considering to go ahead… don’t you have daughters or your friends or your families have daughters? think about it! put that idea in the trash can… target the adults leave the kids alone.

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  17. This father was seriously missinformed! They are not starting a line some at middle schoolers! “Bright young things” was a slogan used for their Pink line which is actually aimed at college aged women. People need to get their facts straight!!! I ❤ VS!

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  18. Children need to engage in age appropriate activities and wear age appropriate clothes. Parents, we must be the adults and steer our children into clothes and activities that we know are healthy and appropriate. I like the letter and support the writer whole heartedly.

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  19. I actually DON’T agree with this father POV. I think that is SOCIETY that decides what is “sexual” or not, not a child. My 9-year-old niece bought a shirt that featured a melting ice cream cone, and the words “Eat Me” emblazoned on the front. This could be completely taken as a sexual message. In fact, when she was wearing the shirt, I did get stopped by someone and questioned as to how I could allow her to wear such a message. So, I asked my niece why she had wanted the shirt in the first place. And she explained that her and her dad always went out for ice cream as a special thing to do. And when he passed away, she bought the shirt so they could still have ice cream together. A completely innocent take on what could be construed as an uber sexual message. The people who need to relax are those who look at these messages as sexual in the first place. if you take away the meaning, you can change it.
    If you teach your daughters strong values, and don’t teach them to be victims- but instead, to be warriors- they will make decisions that you are proud of. And while you might be thinking that “WILD!” emblazoned across the cheeks of your daughter’s bottom is sexual, she might be thinking that the colour is great and the font is fun.
    My first pair of “adult-style” underwear was a black thong with a kitty on the front. I had NO idea that the kitty was symbolizing my vagina. I just liked cats. Plain and simple.
    If you want to stop the sexualizing of young women, then stop reading sexual innuendo into things that may not be sexual in the first place.

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  20. The psychological damage that can be done to preadolescent and adolescent girls by marketing underwear with such overt sexual content is just unconscionable. What is VC thinking? I haven’t shopped there in years and will not again. Money rules!

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  21. I thought I was going to disagree with this article until I saw that the new line was targeting Middle Schoolers. Yeesh. Too far, Victoria’s Secret. Too far.

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  22. I agree with Evan I have a one year old lil baby girl I don’t think it’s a great idea put urself in our shoes u would not want ur Precious innocent little baby girls mind to think the only way to fit in is to wear these things at 12-17 years of age. It sad how parents don’t care about their children these days but there r some that worry about our kids growing up to fast. I just hope my baby girl will not Purchase these kind of Undergarment until she is well on her own. I do hope u all Reconsider ur line.
    From
    Mother who cares deeply about her daughter.

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  23. I have been mentally writing VS for years…when my middle-school aged daughter became attracted to it’s allurements. And I have since boycotted VS for it’s failure to take a stand against drawing in young innocent girls to become aware of “sexy”…something they ought not give a second’s thought to, until they are married, or at least adult.
    I found my last quality brazier at Soma, and am grateful for thier modest, dignified approach to advertising intimate wear. Go Soma!!!
    Thank you, Reverend, for writing such a good letter. I’ve been promoting this idea by avoiding VS and I hope other moms will help promote innocence more by financially supporting other businesses that aren’t so “in-your-face” with sexual images of girls and women. We are above this but need to be actively supporting the right direction.
    So grateful for this good beginning.

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  24. I agree completely. I have a daughter that is 5 and she will never wear this line. Those teen years are already hard enough and there is enough peer pressure out there without adding this kind of underwear. I also think that it is up to the parents as to whether these items are purchased and/or worn. I know girls do things behind their parent’s back (I did when I was a teenager) but most teens don’t do their own laundry so parents would see these undergarments when doing laundry. If parents don’t buy them or get rid of them if they find them, then the girls can’t wear them. Thank you for writing this letter! It’s good to see others standing up for good morals.

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  25. I learned of this letter to VS because my teenage daughter posted it on Facebook. I’m so grateful that she is taking a stand on such issues among her peers; but I am constantly concerned about the social pressures she and my sons face to compromise their morals. I have never bought anything from VS and never will and further more, am embarrassed when my children and I walk passed the larger-than-life posters of scantily dressed models in Victoria Secret’s stores. Please respect the purity and innocence of children and help families who want to raise their children with high morals!

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  26. Saw this on Facebook. It is common place for companies to advertise to age levels of customers. Just look at the cereal isle in Kroger, Wal-mart, HEB. Super sweet cereals are at their level so they can reach right out and grad a box. Even at sporting goods stores you will find some of it. But for a lingerie company to have such disregard for THEIR target customers…appalling! It seems like VS is only making articles for a certain build of woman. My wife has a difficult time finding anything there due to her size. The Pink line is deplorable in it’s own right. Sure makes it harder to tell the age of ladies these days. Young ladies are already maturing faster and younger every generation, YOU don’t need to perpetuate the problem. I have a daughter and four neices, and to think of any of those little girls wearing something like that sickes me because of all the sick minded pedophiles out there. Victoria Secret…I implore you to NOT run this line of clothing. It only degrades women and damages the developing self-esteem and self-image of young ladies! And no matter the age, she is always a lady.

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  27. Not only that, Victoria’s Secret sends all women the message that our worth as human beings is defined by our sexual appeal to men and our sexuality is defined by our adherence to societal standards of “attractiveness”.

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  28. First of all, this father is clearly trying to do the right thing for his daughter but I’m sorry, I don’t think its corporate America’s responsibility to ‘send the right message’ – (for the most part) they never have and they aren’t about to start now. These massive organizations simply create lines, products or services etc that we as a society will buy – which of course is the entire reason for being of any company. The excessive money invested by V.S. marketing department to determine whether this line will fly or not has assuredly proven that America wants this ‘questionable’ messaging. Let me be clear, the responsibility is up to YOU, the parent. You don’t like what they are trying to sell, sure, write a letter if you’re inclined (I’m willing to bet that no matter how many letters are written this line is launched regardless) but more importatnly send your message the only way corporate America truly understands – DONT BUY IT. The fine reverends 3 year old cannot buy this products herself, nor will she be able to until she’s of working age and actually chooses to purchase the products with her hard earned money………….by that time I’m sure that the strong morals, values and decision making processes he has instilled in her will give her all the tools she requires to see these products are wholely unapplealing to her. Do I agree with Victoria Secrets messaging? NO. Do I think that targeting young girls with psuedo-sexual terms on undergarments that they don’t really understand is a valiant idea? NO. Do I think its up to any organization to only promote highly ethical products and services? NO. The world is full of shady organizations that push harmful products – some consumers complain about corporations targeting children, people its legal, if you don’t like it get involved politically and lobby for regulatory change. I’d rather teach my child how to THINK about whats right for them and whats not right for them. Now as you read this post and as you balk at the fact that a male would disagree with Mr. Dolive (and all the subsequent posts) know this…………I am the proud father of a beautiful, vibrant, incredibly intelligent and thoughful 5 year old girl. I take great pride in the fact that I am heavily involved with what she reads, what she watches, what she eats, how much excersise she gets and who her friends are. Trust me when I tell you this…my daughter will not grow up placing value on superficial crap that any American company has every right to sell to us because I spend every teachable moment I can letting her know that she is strong and powerful person who’s intelligence, social IQ and hard work wiill get her ahead in life, not what logo is on her sweaters……….or undergarments.

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  29. I agree with you. They sell sex and that’s fine if you’re 18 or older. Lets let kids be kids. If they are going to sell to 12 year olds, then separate the ADULT section from the teen section. Oh and by the way, “Wild and Feelin Lucky” is not something I would have let my daughter wear, Why not the Days of the Week, like I had as kid. Thank god my daughter is grown now, I don’t envy any parent of a youngster.

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  30. I agree with you and I hope VS listens but unfortunately all that matters to them is the bottom line no morals at all. Most teens already shop at VS I dont want the sweats and sweaters but I too draw a line to the undies with writing on them mine is 16 so its a tough battle. I wouldnt mind if they made clothing that was tasteful and cute for that age why do they have to get so “sexy” for young girls keep it simple and cute attractive not so disgusting and volger.

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  31. They came out with a statement today saying that “pretty young things” was there line for Pink (which is aimed at college aimed girls) spring break line. Not for anyone younger than college aged, so 18 and older. If you are going to criticize a company look into what they are saying about it.

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    • Interesting how many people reposted and showed their support without doing any research of their own, isn’t it?

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  32. So you’re basically saying an otherwise-virginal teenage girl is going to buy some underwear with polka-dots on it and think to herself, ‘hmm, well I was going to wait for marriage, but now that I have these awesome panties I’d better go have some sex! How else will I be able to show them off?’

    It’s not the nineteenth century. They’re freaking panties. Get over it.

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  33. Thank you for this letter.The only way most young girls would be able to buy this vulgar underwear is if their parents give them the money and/or allow them to shop wherever they want. It’s time for parents to know what their teenagers are doing….and CARE what their teenagers are doing!! Hopefully adults who have any conscience at all will stop buying from this miserable company.

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  34. I wish that that this AND the Pink line could be empowering instead of degrading to women. Very young girls want to wear VS. A few years ago, the underwear came with letters to spell words on the “whale tail”; I was thinking only a few choice letters were needed.

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