On the heels of Lululemon's see-through yoga pants flap, Victoria's Secret is under fire for its latest PINK line campaign "Bright Young Things" which targets young girls. While the clothing line includes a variety of apparel including t-shirts, sweatshirts and pants, the items causing the biggest stir are underwear featuring sayings like "call me" and "dare you" and "feeling lucky."
Parents are incensed and have taken to the Internet to petition the company to pull the racy lingerie line. More than 3,400 people have signed on to a petition at Change.org started by Diana Cherry, a mother of three young daughters and a son. Cherry writes:
Victoria's Secret may claim that PINK is for college women but their Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer made it clear when asked about Victoria’s Secret’s PINK lingerie line that they are trying to reach a teen audience. “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,” said Burgdoerfer.
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. 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.
Our children are not sex objects; not things.
In response to the outcry Victoria's Secret, which is owned by Limited Brands (LTD), responded with the following: "Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. Despite rumors, we have no plans to introduce a collection for younger women."
"I think Victoria's Secret overstepped, succumbing to the instinctive urge in every retailer to broaden its demographic appeal," says retail expert Howard Davidowitz via email. "I doubt it was a conscious corporate decision and would expect the company to retreat and do what it can to quiet the uproar."
In the accompanying video, Yahoo! Finance's Aaron Task and Matt Nesto discuss the uproar. Both are fathers of young girls and are shocked and offended by the latest PINK line. As they point out, Victoria's Secret is not the only brand that markets "sexy" to young girls. Other offenders include brands like Aeropostale (ARO) and Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF).
Shares of Limited and Abercrombie are down 10% year-over-year while shares of Aeropostale are down 38%.
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