Monday, March 25, 2013

I Don't Buy It

In case you haven't heard, the internet is blowing up with anger over Victoria's Secret's intent to market to middle school girls. You can read details here at The Black Sphere. The VS facebook page is overflowing with people declaring their intent to boycott. Many people are wondering why they would think this was an acceptable marketing plan. As the mom of a middle school girl, I can tell you exactly why they thought it was a good idea. Every time I see a girl walking into school with that PINK logo on their clothes, I know. There are parents who allow their middle school girls to shop at VS. I wish I could say it was just one naive parent who doesn't realize how much the word pink written on the back of pants says, but it's not. It is a whole group of people who would rather write their kids a blank check than sit down and have an honest talk about why the world tries to sexualize them. They don't want to have to put their foot down over a pair of yoga pants. Besides, they look cute in them, right? I have heard that rational way too many times. I actually snapped one day and replied, "Pedophiles think it's cute, too." I was not a popular mom that day. They didn't want to look at it from that point of view. As a parent, it is our job to consider that point first. This is why I'm not too concerned about VS and their marketing plans. My middle school girl isn't allowed to set foot in their store. She isn't allowed to wander around the mall unsupervised. She doesn't buy clothes without consulting me. I didn't make a rule about this. I set a pattern from the start, and she accepts that it is how our family works. Maybe she'll test these boundaries later, but she has made it through middle school without once pushing this limit.
The funny thing is, the world at large has been marketing VS to middle schoolers for sometime now. This new campaign doesn't actually change much. Parents like me will still not shop there. Girls with permissive parents will still turn a blind eye. If you really want to make a difference, start in your own home. Don't just stop shopping at places like this, cancel the catalogs, block the swimsuit editions, stop getting the magazines promoting this attitude. Talk to your kids about the real meaning of words like "sexy" and "provocative", and why they should never, ever apply to children. We can not control what the rest of the world promotes, but we can control what we let into our homes.

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