Monday, March 25, 2013

"Bright Young Things"

It seems many people have noticed a  letter from one Reverend Evan Dolive of Houston, Texas, who is outraged by Victoria's Secret's latest effort to corrupt our innocent young daughters with what he calls
the "Bright Young Things" line of risque underwear aimed at "middle school aged children".

Most of the time, I don't pay much attention to these controversies. However, occasionally I'll come across an issue that is so outrageous that it demands my immediate and undivided attention. For example, when the news came out last week that Lululemon was recalling yoga pants because they were too "shear", I felt compelled to get the whole story. In the interest of being fully informed, I searched the internet for photos showing just how see-through these pants were. Quite transparent, I learned ... at least when one tries to stuff a size 20 frame into a pair of size 10 stretchy pants.

Despite this disappointment, I find myself once again enticed to exercise my sleuthing skills and get to the story behind (heh) this latest outrage. After enough research to be reasonably confident that I wouldn't inadvertently happen upon pictures of adolescent girls wearing thongs, and thereby land on an FBI watch list for sexual deviants, I headed over to Victoria's Secret to get to the, ahem, bottom of the matter.

Now, I can understand the Good Reverend's reticence to go trawling for lascivious photos of barely clothed young women. Lacking such decorum, I'm happy to supplement the information provided in Reverend Dolive's letter in the hope that a widespread boycott of Victoria's Secret will be avoided, and that they will  continue their regular delivery of their catalog to my humble abode.

As it turns out, "Bright Young Things" is an ad campaign focusing on the outer wear and accoutrements of Victoria's Secret's Pink line.  While the Pink line, and this ad campaign, is geared toward teenage customers, the ad campaign focuses on items of clothing you'd be more likely to see at the mall or the pool than the local Gentleman's Club. (Yes, Victoria's Secret sells clothing besides their crotchless panties and racy thongs. Who knew?).

To be fair to Reverend Dolive, the Pink line does include a wide selection of underwear. Because all of the models were well over the age of 18, I felt comfortable spending a significant amount of time poring over the photos until I reached what I considered an adequate level of outrage.

How outraged was I? Well, not very. Yes, as a father, I would toss any underwear that said "Call Me" into the garbage -- and until teenage girls start doing their own laundry, I expect many pairs of "Call Me" underwear will meet an early demise. Most of the underwear, while perhaps a little more sensual than the average parent of a teenage girl would prefer, is just, well, underwear. Until we come up with a way for men to not find nearly naked women appealing, we're just going to have to accept that, after puberty, our little angels have become young women, with all that entails.

Even the most libertine parent would shudder at the thought of their 14-year-old daughter exposing her unmentionables to anything but the bathroom mirror, so why should they be wearing "sexy" underwear? I don't know -- why do I insist on color coordinating my boxers with my clothes? Because, even though no one else will see them (assuming I remember to zip after hitting the john), I feel more comfortable knowing I'm not wearing my yellow happy face boxers under my business attire. Similarly, much to the chagrin of parents throughout history, sexuality is a pretty important part of human nature. Teenagers like to feel attractive, and for teenage girls, that may be easier in a pair of hip huggers than a pair of granny panties.  

With all due respect to Reverend Dolive, I think he's a little off-base with his complaint, and I don't think a boycott of Victoria's Secret is called for. However, they might want to rethink the "Call Me" option for their undergarments ... although, I suppose that's preferrable to having "Hot Stuff" plastered on the seat of teenagers' shorts.