200 Posts Later: What I Have Learned

Fireworks #1

Fireworks #1 (Photo credit: Camera Slayer)

 

My first post was on February 28, 2013 (view it here).  Today is a milestone for me; this post marks the 200th post on evandolive.com. I am well aware that 200 posts in a drop in the bucket compared some other bloggers but I believe have learned a thing or two about writing and publishing.

  1. It Doesn’t Have To Be Earth Shattering:  One of the biggest things I (still) struggle with is the notion that I have to blow some brain cells by trying to craft some deep, powerful theological sentence or paragraph.  I have learned that sometimes the simpler the better is the way to go.  There are times to be deep and there are times to jovial.
  2. Stay True To You: It is easy to slip into a mode to where you tell people what they want to hear (or think they want to hear) rather than just speaking from your context and theology.
  3. You’ll Never Know What People Will Like: Case in point: My Letter To Victoria’s Secret which I never though would garner nearly 4 million hits.  On the other hand there are some posts that I believe people will find interesting or profound and hardly anyone reads it.  The point is… keep putting content out there.

I want to thank you for reading, sharing, liking, tweeting and commenting.  It has been a wild ride so far and I look forward to the next 200!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

I’m One Of The Coolest Dads On The Internet??

Today I found out that I was listed in the Top Five Coolest Dads on the Internet by People Magazine!  They ranked me number 3!

Here is what they wrote:

When Evan Dolive, a reverend from Houston heard about Victoria’s Secret’s Bright Young Things collection, he wasn’t exactly running to the mall. Based on observations of the collection – which ranged from polka-dotted hipsters screen-printed with the phrase “Feeling Lucky?” to thongs emblazoned with the words “Call me” on the front – he was worried the iconically sexy retailer was targeting middle school-aged girls. And so he thought of his daughter, a 3-year-old who loves princesses, peanut butter and jelly and drawing pictures for people.

“I want my daughter (and every girl) to be faced with tough decisions in her formative years of adolescence,” he wrote in a March letter on his blog. “Decisions like should I be a doctor or a lawyer? Should I take calculus as a junior or a senior? … 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.” –Written by Alison Schwartz on people.com

I am honored to be selected for this list.  As I have said many times before (and will say many times again), I never thought that my letter to Victoria’s Secret would ever garner this much attention.

Thanks to everyone for reading and supporting me on this journey!

A BIG THANK YOU TO PEOPLE.COM AND THE AUTHOR ALISON SCHWARTZ!

If you would like to see the others listed click here for the full article.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

What A Difference 3.8 Million People Make

Two months ago today I clicked publish on a post about Victoria’s Secret Spring Break Collection called “Bright Young Things.”   The aim of the letter was to let Victoria’s Secret know (as well as whomever would listen) that I disliked their marketing to a younger demographics and how they set up an unattainable standard of sexuality and beauty.

To date the letter has been read/viewed on this site nearly 3.8 million times from all around the world.  The letter is still be read today and shared over the internet.

To date the letter has been shared on Facebook over 765,000 times, on Twitter over 5100 times, almost 100 times on LinkedIn and over 550 times on Google Plus.

I want to take this time to say thank you for everything!

Because of the exposure I received, I have begun to contribute to a few websites- the Good Men Project, Sojourners and RadicalParents.com.  I am humbled and honored to contribute to these great sites.  I will try to post my articles here whenever I can.

I have been completely overwhelmed by all of this and I all of you to thank.  Without you sharing, liking, emailing and commenting- none of this would have ever happened.

I still have not had an official response from Victoria’s Secret (and I do not expect to), but another clothing company did.

About month ago Fruit of the Loom contacted me to let me know that they had seen my letter online.  They liked it and wanted to send my daughter “age appropriate” underwear.   They sent my daughter 10 pairs!  She was so excited to get them in the mail.

Fruit of the Loom

I want to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to Fruit of the Loom.  Thank you for generosity and for thinking of my daughter! (The items pictured can be found here and here.)

Thank you again!  Keep reading, sharing and liking!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Sojo.net gets 10,000 signatures on Victoria’s Secret Petition

A ministry colleague emailed me and told me that Sojourners had online petition encouraging Limited Brands to stop targeting young women in their marketing campaign; they cited one of the many article written about my letter in their petition information. I was honored that they asked me to write a piece about my experiences and thought process behind writing the letter to Victoria’s Secret.

Sojourners has been petitioning Victoria’s Secret to stop objectifying young girls; they have had about 10,000 people sign their online petition.  When some one signs it an email is send to Limited Brands.  According to a follow up piece on Sojo.net (see below), Victoria’s Secret has given them the same standard answers.  Catherine Woodiwiss, the author and Associate Web Editor of Sojourners, writes

This statement about “Bright Young Things” — what Sojourners has always made clear was a campaign, not a line — does not address Sojourners’ central concerns over reinforcing confusion about the value of young women, to young women. Over the action alert’s charges that oversexed objectification contributes to a culture of abuse, rape, and distorted worth, Victoria’s Secret gave no comment.

Please read the articles below and consider signing the petition.

Thanks for reading and supporting me.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


My article Link on sojo.net

Follow up article- 10,000 Emails, Victoria’s Secret Continues Business As Usual 

Consider signing the petition to tell Victoria’s Secret to stop objectifying teen girls.

Sojourners’ Bright Young– What? Campaign (via Facebook)

A Letter to Victoria’s Secret- Update Part V- “Finding Your Voice”

It has been a little over 2 weeks since I posted my letter to Victoria’s Secret and what a crazy two weeks it has been!  I have never spoken about  Victoria’s Secret underwear more in my entire life.  🙂

Again, I don’t think I can say it enough, but thank you so much for sharing my letter.

Over these past weeks I have received hundreds of emails, tweets and Facebook messages.  Throughout them all there was a common thread- people were telling me “thank you for sharing your voice.”

Many people wrote and stated that they shared my feelings but did not know how to articulate them or even think that they would be heard– to be honest I never thought my voice would be heard either.

I never expected to be on TV stating that women are not sex objects or  that Victoria’s Secret (and others) are setting up a standard that is unattainable for young girls.

My friend and ministry colleague, Rev. Traci Siegman, wrote a blog post about my letter and wrote these wonderful and meaningful words

Rev. Dolive exercised his prophetic voice. He spoke his mind and faced culture head on. Christians are called to be prophetic and live counter-culturally. We are called to give voice to those without the power to speak. It is our responsibility as followers of Christ to continue to name the ways in which people are still held captive.

We all have the potential to speak out for what we believe in and for what we want to stand for.  As my friend and ministry colleague, Rev. Laura Phillips, told me “speak even if your voice shakes.”  While I might be one person I sent a message; I spoke up for my daughter and every other young girl.  I wanted to express my feelings about the message of beauty and sexuality that one particular company was sending.

One thing I learned through this process is that your voice matters, your voice can be heard, your voice is important and powerful.

Because of the attention that my letter has received parents now have been given a voice; parents have written me and told me that they are using my letter to start important and meaningful conversations about sexuality, marketing and beauty.

Let’s continue to use our voice to speak up for those who can not, let’s use our voice to bring justice to those who desperately need it, let’s use our voice to proclaim the goodness of God’s grace and wonderment of Christ.

Let’s use our voice not to shame people, but to empower people.

Let’s use our voice…

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

A Letter to Victoria’s Secret- Update Part IV

On Saturday March 30,  an interview that I recorded  was shown on Headline News; this was my first national interview.  Click here to watch it.

Yesterday was my interview with CNN with Don Lemon.  As of right now I do not have a video link to share.  I have inquired about an online video but so far nothing yet.  I do have a transcript  of the interview.  Click here to read it.  Be sure to check out the pictures of my interviews below.

Thank you for all that you have done to support me in this endeavor.  Please continue to share my letter and my updates.  I want the conversation about the unattainable standard of sexuality and beauty that Victoria’s Secret and others are setting for our young people to continue.  I believe that this is vital conversation that needs to happen in the public sector.

Thank you for your “likes”, comments, shares and questions.

I am truly humbled by it all.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


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Photo 1

My View at the station

Photo 2

The ear piece to hear the anchor

Photo 3

Me just waiting in my “library”

A Letter to Victoria’s Secret From a Father- Update

Words can not express how honored I am to have my letter to Victoria’s Secret read, shared and viewed so many times over the last few days.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that so many people would read my letter and find something meaningful from it.   Since I posted the letter on Friday, March 22  at 6pm it has been viewed nearly 2.7 million times.  Yesterday, March 25, was the best day for the blog ever… 1.2 Million views in one day!  THANK YOU!!!!!

1.2 million

I have received emails and support  from people all over the world.

Many different news organizations and blogs have picked up my post and used it in their news story.

I have received emails and messages from teachers and professors stating that they want to use my letter as part of their curriculum – from everything from persuasive writing to business ethics.

Since I posted the letter, Victoria’s Secret released a statement on their Facebook page regarding “Bright Young Things.”  It read:

“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.”

This does not, however, address the issue of using women in advertisements that overly sexualize them. VS has not addressed the issue that they are setting an unattainable standard for sexuality and beauty– THAT is why I wrote my letter.

The fact remains that when PINK was started in 2004 it was aimed for 15-22 year olds, so whether or not VS is “targeting” a younger demographic, they are already targeting 15 year olds. This is something that can not stand any longer.

According to Business Insider, the CFO of Limited Brands (the company that owns Victoria Secret) stated “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 at PINK.” Does this sound like a company that is NOT aiming toward a younger demographic?

I am so grateful for the response and I hope that the conversation will continue and that this important issue will be brought to light.

If you would like to contact me you can email me at evan [at] evandolive.com or by using my contact form by clicking here.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan